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Two Dive Sites Closed Due to Stony Tissue Disease

by | Jul 29, 2022 | Nature, SCTLD, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling

Coral Disease found on Bonaire.

Stony Tissue Disease identified at a popular dive site.

Last September, we published an article, “Keeping Bonaire Free of Stony Coral Disease.” With the help of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), it has been identified on Bonaire, specifically at the Karpata, Dive site #9. STINAPA decided to close Karpata and La Dania’s Leap, dive site #10, until further notice in hopes of limiting the spread of the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD).

What is SCTLD?

SCTLD is a highly lethal coral disease and has recently been detected on the reefs on Bonaire. It is known to impact over 30 hard corals species, many of which are essential reef builders. Once a coral reef is infected, over 70% of corals die.

Preliminary surveys conducted on July 22nd and July 23rd, 2022, confirm the disease is present and spreading at Karpata, dive site #9. Due to the outbreak, STINAPA decided the best course of action was to close Karpata and La Dania’s Leap until further notice in hopes of limiting the spread of SCTLD from the site to the rest of the Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP).

“Infected Pillar Coral, identified on Bonaire, is what divers and snorkelers should look for most.” Tadzio Bervoets, Director of DCNA.

What can you do to help?

All divers in the BNMP  are urged to follow recommended gear decontamination protocols to limit spread. All non-sensitive gear should be rinsed in a 1% bleach solution. Sensitive gear should be soaked for 10 minutes in a disinfection solution before being rinsed and allowed to dry thoroughly.

Keep STINAPA informed.

If you observe any signs of infection at other sites in Bonaire, please report your sightings, if possible, with pictures and directions to the location, to info@stinapa.org

What will STINAPA do?

STINAPA staff will monitor and track the disease at Karpata and other sites in the BNMP to determine the best path forward. We will be providing updates via our social media platforms. We kindly request your help in getting this message out to all the users of the BNMP. There are few effective treatments for this disease. We must try and limit the spread as much as possible.

For additional information on SCTLD, check out the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA)

(Source: STINAPA and Tadzio Bervoets, Director of DCNA, Photo by Tadzio Bervoets)

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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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