Hurricane Harvey’s wildlife and fisheries impact will be immense

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August 24, 2017
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Courtesy NOAA

As the remnants of category 4 Hurricane Harvey continuing battering Texas, the greatest concern of course is the human tragedy.

There is no tragedy like the loss of human life.

However, the impact on wildlife and fisheries in this storm in particular will likely be immense.

We will be posting throughout the storm on different issues and impacts of the storm and asking for you help. If you have photos or videos showing wildlife/fisheries and fishing infrastructure (piers/boat ramps, etc.) send to [email protected] and we will share.

Here are key things to expect with this storm.

Courtesy NOAA

*Damage to oyster reefs during Hurricane Ike in 2008 show this storm could do equal or greater damage to key oyster in the Middle Coast region. Oyster is a key component of coastal fisheries along the Texas Coast and is hugely important for redfish, speckled trout, black drum, sheepshead and flounder along with the overall health of ecosystems.

*Seagrass beds could be uprooted and damaged in certain areas of the storm. We have examined impacts of storms to seagrass in the Caribbean and learned of damage to seagrass beds, also an important part of bay system health.

*Fish kills are common with tropical systems and with one that will dump as much rain as this one is expected to along with the storm surge could cause major fish, shrimp and crab kills possibly along the entire Texas coast.

*Non-source point pollution is a major possibility with this storm as drainage from highways, chemical plants and industrial areas seeps into the bay systems along the coast.

Without any doubt some level of all of these points will happen but it is the extent that will make the difference. We will be reporting here at fishgame.com and also will give time to some possible positives that can occur in the natural world in the aftermath of a hurricane.

Chester Moore, Jr.

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