Fish kill at Quail Valley Golf Course was tilapia not bass
By Elsa Maxey
The dead fish floating in a lake of Missouri City’s Quail Valley golf course and lying dead on its banks last week turned out to be tilapia. The fate of the large fish, originally reported to be bass, could have been fish fillet gourmet meals. Instead, over 200 of them died due to the recent frigid temperatures and cold waters as surmised by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Calls from residents indicate the fish were cleared as of this past weekend.
“We don’t investigate reports of fish dying in any community or neighborhood lakes, only in state waters, said Steven Mitchell, Regional Biologist with the Kills and Spills Team for Region 3 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He also said the state agency received numerous reports this past month of tilapia dying all over the Houston area due to cold weather. “I think the city (Missouri City) was looking into it to find out what was the cause,” said Mitchell. He said private lakes are “under the jurisdiction of a city or maybe a county,” and that he knew the city was going out to check the water.
Referring to the tilapia, “as soon as the water gets to 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Farenheit) or lower, they can’t handle it because they are an exotic species from South America,” said Mitchell.
Dead fish photos were sent to him by a resident and the “Star” followed up with a set furnished by Quail Valley resident Jim Young, which further served to confirm the fish were in fact tilapia.
“I had not heard about the cormorants,” said Mitchell. This is a migratory bird, a protected species, spotted at the golf course. Quail Valley resident Layne Shead reports that during the recent holidays, three dead double crested cormorant birds turned up. “One of them washed up on shore on Christmas day and it had a band on its leg,” with contact information. He called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department, which has been tracking the birds and it wanted to know the location of the dead ones he found. “I don’t know if they were shot or killed” by other means, said Shead. But what he found out is that the tagged bird came from Leach Lake in Minnesota.
“On the right side of La Quinta number six, there are tons of birds, a bunch of the same type, the cormorants, between 50 and 100 that nest in a tree” with distinctive markings on the head and beak. Shead said he didn’t see any dead fish or ducks recently, but he has seen what is called a dead, junk fish. He thinks it’s possible that someone may be pouring something in the lake, “something oily ever so often,” and thinks there could be a problem with some dumping.
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