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'It hurts everything': Cold snap kills fish, impacts Rio Grande Valley businesses

6 days 10 hours 15 minutes ago Monday, February 22 2021 Feb 22, 2021 February 22, 2021 9:10 PM February 22, 2021 in News - Local

While freezing temperatures left many Valley residents cold and in the dark, marine life on South Padre Island also felt the impact of last week's winter storm.

As temperatures dropped, fish in shallow waters, like coastal areas and resacas, were killed.

As fish sought out warm waters, it became easier for some to catch them.

"All of a sudden, you see people coming in and they're catching fish after fish after fish, " said Shane Wilson, chief executive officer of Fishing's Future, a non-profit organization focused on angler education. "And they're decimating those large breeders in the population."

Wilson said it's not just trout being affected. 

"Mother Nature's taking out the mullet,” Wilson said. "Now we're losing the big fish to the fishermen. And we're losing the food supply for more."

A local fishing guide is concerned that overfishing will impact more than just his business. 

"It hurts the hotel business," said T.J Reyna. "It hurts the restaurant businesses. It hurts everything because we're not going to get that same tourism down here that we've had in the past. And that's because the fish are going to disappear."

Last week, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department banned fishing in certain areas for one day. TPWD social media specialist Julie Hagen says the department is "gathering information to prepare an updated statement about the fish kills."

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