STINAPA has been working hard to identify the areas of concern.
For the past three weeks, STINAPA has closely monitored coral disease on the entire west coast and Klein Bonaire. Many divers and snorkelers have sent in hundreds of photos of concern. STINAPA has been keeping a close eye on two reefs that appear to be Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD), also known as Skittle-D. So far, it does not seem to be spreading to other corals and has not been observed on other reefs. After consulting with local, regional, and international experts, it’s still unclear if what was detected at Karpata is indeed SCTLD or a particularly aggressive form of white plague. White Plague disease has been present on our reefs for quite a while.
Record your findings.
As a precaution, the diseased corals of concern were removed. Karpata and La Dania’s Leap sites will remain closed for diving, snorkeling, and swimming. STINAPA will continue observing the area to see if the disease spreads and determine the best way forward. STINAPA appreciates your help tracking our reefs’ health by filling out a quick survey, https://www.agrra.org/coral-disease-outbreak/. The survey helps keep track of what’s happening on our reefs. Your contribution to the database is greatly appreciated.
How to decontaminate your gear.
STINAPA requires all Bonaire National Marine Park users to continue with the recommended decontamination protocols of gear. More information can be found here. General guidelines require decontamination of all gear before the first dive on Bonaire and at the end of each diving day. A diluted bleach solution is recommended with a thorough rinse in freshwater. Ideally, dive shops will rotate three tanks: an active rinse tank with bleach, a pure freshwater rinse tank, and a non-active tank (one day in the sun will allow the bleach to become non-toxic) that will be emptied at the end of the day. Separate smaller tanks or buckets may be used with antibacterial soap for very sensitive gear. This water should be disposed of properly. In addition, we strongly recommend only diving in one area (North, Middle, South, or Klein Bonaire) per day to limit the potential spread of the pathogen.