First it was floral bleaching, and now the Fisheries Department is alerting the nation tonight that there is a new environmental threat that has the potential to wreck the famous Belizeâs Barrier Reef system.
It’s called Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease and it has been detected on the northern region of the barrier reef system.
It’s a fairly new disease that negatively affects coral reef systems by attacking coral colonies, which results in the loss of live coral tissue. Infected corals display “blotchy” lesions, and high mortality rates.
The disease was first reported in Florida in 2014, and more recently in Mexico’s Quintana Roo. Last month, it was detected, and confirmed a few days ago at the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve.
The National Coral Reef Monitoring Network met last week Tuesday to discuss how best to manage this disease. A task-force was established to determine the extent of the infection, administer treatment, and implement measures to curtail the spread of the disease.
The Fisheries Department says that SCTLD is a very aggressive disease and the pathogen that causes it cannot yet be identified.
At this time,, the disease is thought to be caused by bacteria and can be transmitted to other healthy corals through direct contact and from water circulation.
There is no clear treatment for the disease, but interventions using chlorine, antibiotics and sometimes culling have been tested with varying degrees of success.
You can find out more by visiting a website link which will be posted with our online news transcript. http://www.agrra.org/coral-disease-outbreak/