A group of residents who live around Baffin Bay are worried about pollution in the bay ruining sport fishing. That's why they approached Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for help.
Fish kills in parts of Baffin Bay are nothing new. In fact, back in 2007, a massive fish kill had scientists scrambling. That kill was ultimately blamed on ammonia levels that starved the fish of oxygen.
It is happening again, but ammonia levels are not to blame this time. A group of citizens has been keeping track of fish kills over the past couple of years, and although they are small, it is happening more often.
Residents took pictures of black drum that have been dying off, leaving the beaches littered with dead fish. Of more concern are images that show mountains of small clams that are the main source of food for the black drum.
"If it's a municipal waste water issue, certainly upgrading waste water plants; if it's a farming issue, implementation of best management practices, and how we apply fertilizers for example," said Dr. Michael Wetz, assistant professor of marine biology at TAMUCC. "It could be an issue of putting buffers around farmland. There are any number of things that can be done."
Wetz was able to get a grant back in January to organize the citizens into volunteer water quality monitors. He hopes to get a better handle on how to deal with algal blooms and levels of nutrients in the water that are too high for underwater life to survive in.