The fish, primarily red drum and catfish, are turning up by the hundreds, both ashore and floating in the bay.
Point Clear resident Larry Canham said he noticed the rotting fish behind his home Thursday, May 9.
“The smell has become more intense in our home. We have our doors closed and towels laid down and the smell still comes through. It’s pretty atrocious. Now, with all this mess here, what do I do with it? How do I get rid of it?” said Canham.
Canham said he saw dead fish wash up last spring, but the number has at least doubled this year.
He said he’s counted more than 20 fish in less than three days, just in his backyard.
“I was alarmed last year when something like this happened. According to the Department of Conservation, they had no clue what was causing it. It makes me wonder what’s causing this problem,” Canham said.
But Canham isn’t alone. Locals in Gulf Shores and Bon Secour also contacted FOX 10 News, wanting answers for what’s killing the fish.
We got in touch with Bob Shipp, professor of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama, to get his take on it.
“I’m really puzzled. This time of the year is not the time of the year when you witness fish kills. Normally, it’s in the heat of the summer when the water gets hot and doesn’t hold much oxygen. This time of year, it’s not the case,” said Shipp.
Since catfish were involved, Dr. Shipp said he first thought a virus might have something to do with the fish kill. He said, however, as far as he knows it doesn’t affect bull reds which are the majority of what’s washing ashore.
“We’ve had massive die-offs of catfish in the past on the Atlantic Coast. However, I’m puzzled by the red drums. I suspect the Alabama Marine Resources Division will take samples and then we’ll know if it’s a virus or not, but the bottom line is, we just don’t know,” Shipp said.