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Fast Moving Coral Disease Alert on Bonaire

by | Mar 24, 2023 | Local News, Nature, SCTLD, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling

Coral Disease found on Bonaire.

Bonaire’s reefs are experiencing a coral disease outbreak.

Last July, a few dive sites were shut down due to the possibility of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). However, by September, the two dive sites were reopened and SCTLD was never confirmed.

Unfortunately, Bonaire’s reefs are suffering again. Currently, Bonaire is seeing a coral disease outbreak on various reefs in the downtown area. While the disease has not been officially identified, it is affecting six out of the eight coral species most vulnerable to SCTLD. As STINAPA works to identify the disease, protocols need to be followed to avoid further spread.

Another issue is that the disease is moving fast and is killing many of our corals in the affected areas. Coral diseases are not something new, but the speed at which this disease is moving and the number of corals being affected and dying is alarming! This is something that Bonaire has not seen before.

Current infected dive sites

The downtown area of Kralendijk is currently being affected, from dive site #32 Something Special to dive site #38 Bachelor’s Beach. It is highly recommended to AVOID all red and orange infected sites. Please follow this map, https://arcg.is/1eCTD80, to see which zones are infected and which are healthy. The map will continue to be updated as STINAPA monitors the situation.

What can you do?

STINAPA advises all Bonaire National Marine Park users to disinfect their gear before and after each dive day. In addition, it is strongly recommended to dive in only one area (North, South, or Klein Bonaire) per day AND avoid diving in the infected areas.

All dive shops are aware of the current situation and should be taking steps for all guests to use the proper decontamination guidelines.

  • All gear requires decontamination before the first dive on Bonaire as well as at the end of each diving day, and allow it to dry fully.
  • STINAPA strongly recommends only diving in one area (North, South, or Klein Bonaire) per day to limit the potential spread of the pathogen.
  • AVOID all areas in the red and orange infected zones listed on the map at https://arcg.is/1eCTD80. Please check the map regularly for updates on infected dive sites.

How to decontaminate your gear.

Please see the video below on how to decontaminate your gear from STINAPA.

We will keep you informed of future developments.

 

(Source: STINAPA)

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Tanya Deen has been living in Bonaire since December 2016. She is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor and enjoys underwater and bird photography. Tanya is the Editor-in-Chief of the Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.
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