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Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD)

  • Stephen Broadbelt
  • May 28th 2021
Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD)

Are you taking the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease seriously? This disease is worse than the invasive red lionfish, more destructive than a cruise ship anchor and more of a threat than coral bleaching all rolled into one. What can you do as a diver to help...


Our corals are at risk and you can help reduce the human vector in the equation. There is a high probability that exposed dive equipment at an infected dive site could be transported to another healthy site and risk spreading the infection. 


Boat bilge water from dive boats, fishing boats, commerical boats, any boat could also be spreading this coral disease. 


There is the natural element that we can not control and nature will take her course, but the human element can be controlled and we must do whatever we can to slow the spread of this disease.


Divers, reef lovers and even those who never go in the ocean can all help to buy the reefs more time while we find a cure and a solution to managing this precious natural resource.  The pillar coral shown in the photo is designated as a highly susceptible species and due to the fact that pillar corals are very rare in Cayman, there is a risk that they will become locally extinct. 


What can you do?

1- Scuba Divers and Snorkelers can help by simply disinfecting your equipment. Only dive with dive operations that provide disinfection stations at their facilities and ask if they are available when making your reservation.  If you are shorediving at a private location you will need to purchase and organise the cleaning solutions and manage the protocols as outlined on the DoE website, Click Here. 


2- Boaters, commercial and private- you can help by simply treating your bilge water. All it takes is a cup of bleach in your bilge every time you use your vessel, and in between sites if you are making multiple stops on your boating trip. 1% bleach solution for 10 minutes and then go off-shore 1/4 mile to drain. 


3- Avoid visiting healthy sites and then diving or snorkeling and infected site. Download May 19th East End list here. Or Grand Cayman whole island 28th April list here


4- Consider renting local dive gear to avoid transmission, especially when diving Little Cayman and Cayman Brac that are currently not infected. 


Please help with this 'Covid-of-the-Sea', that there isn't a vaccine for.  Look out for another post soon on the work that is happening to treat the infected corals with an antibiotic. This is not a full solution and the problem is not going to fix itself, you can play a roll and do your part. 


Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD)

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