KRALENDIJK- In spite of an earlier alarm about the potential arrival of the deadly and feared stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) situation in Bonaire, STINAPA now says it is not sure if the symptoms seen at some coral are indeed SCLTD.
Following reports from concerned divers on July 22nd, STINAPA conducted a visual inspection at Karpata. During this inspection STINAPA found what they suspected to be SCTLD and took the decision to close this dive site to curb the spread of the disease.
“For the past 3 weeks, STINAPA has been closely monitoring coral disease on the entire west coast and on Klein Bonaire. Many concerned divers have sent in hundreds of photos. Currently, we have some corals on 2 reefs that have what looks like SCTLD, but so far it does not seem to be spreading to other corals and has not been observed on other reefs” writes Marine Park Manager Judith Raming in a letter to dive operators on the island.
According to STINAPA it is at the moment unclear if what was detected at Karpata is indeed SCTLD or a particularly aggressive form of white plague, a disease that has been present on our reefs for quite a while now.
As a precaution the corals on which particularly rapid tissue loss was observed, were removed. STINAPA has also decided to keep the areas closed for some time more, to observe if the disease continues to spread, and to then determine the best way forward.
STINAPA also continue to require all users to keep up with the recommended decontamination protocols of rinsing off all equipment used with a dilute bleach solution is recommended with a thorough rinse in freshwater.