CARTHAGE — A reported fish kill at Lake Murvaul in Panola County appears to be over, but the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said Wednesday that officials are still collecting water samples and investigating a potential cause.
The department said no new reports of dead fish or wildlife have been reported since May 3.
“TPWD is awaiting further results from additional lab cultures and information from Baylor University regarding cyanobacteria present in the water samples,” the department said in a statement.
During an initial investigation, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials collected water at multiple locations and recorded affected fish. Results found water quality was within acceptable ranges.
Collected fish were sent to the fish health lab in San Marcos, and department officials returned April 27 to continue surveying the western portion of the lake and collected more fish samples.
Suspected cyanobacteria blooms were reported May 3, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said water samples were collected and sent to Baylor University for testing. The Sabine River Authority also collected water samples to test for nutrient loads and chlorophyll-a content.
The department said Baylor confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria, which can produce cyanotoxin, on May 6.
“Although it’s not certain cyanobacteria caused the kill, fisheries scientists are investigating that and other possibilities,” Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said.
The department's lab reported the initial fish sample had a bacterial infection and that lab personnel would be growing the bacteria to see if an “opportunistic” pathogen was present.
“Opportunistic pathogens are types of microorganisms that do not usually harm fish but can do so when a fish is not healthy enough to resist infection,” Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said.
The department said there is no conclusive research showing cyanotoxins make fish unsafe to eat, but any concerns about the safety of consuming fish from Lake Murvaul should be addressed to the Texas Department of Safety and Health Services Seafood and Aquatic Life Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org .