The Guardian reports" />

Waste from Ships Suspected Cause of Deadly Coral Disease in Caribbean

Multiple studies report the spread of an extremely deadly coral disease linked to wastewater from ships that’s tearing through the Caribbean, The Guardian reports.

Stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) was first discovered in coral bodies near Florida in 2014, but researchers say the deadly infection has quickly advanced through the region. The disease was then detected in Jamaica in 2018, quickly followed by Mexico and the Bahamas, and has since been identified in coral bodies in another 19 countries.

Researchers aren’t yet sure what the cause of the disease is. However, a recent study published in Frontiers in Marine Science suggests it may be associated with ballast water from passing ships. The study found that SCTLD was more prevalent near main commercial ports, which supports the theory that wastewater from commercial ships may be involved.

According to the researchers behind the study, the proximity of major shipping ports to reefs had a significant effect on the prevalence and deadliness of SCTLD. Specifically: “…an increasing proportion of healthy colonies as distance from the port increased on both islands, and a greater proportion of recently dead colonies closer to the port than farther away.”

SCTLD is particularly worrying to scientists as it not only spreads much faster than most coral diseases, but it also is particularly lethal to the species of coral it affects. As it affects so many types of coral (more than 30 species are susceptible to SCTLD), it could potentially be the deadliest coral disease in history.

Coral species most susceptible to SCTLD have infection rates of 45% in Grand Bahama, with the disease ultimately killing 43% of infected coral. One study conducted in Mexico found that more than 40% of reefs were at least 10% infected by SCTLD, and in Florida, coral density fell by nearly 30% and live tissue loss exceeded 60%.

Adrian LaRoda, president of the Bahamas Commercial Fishers alliance expressed concerns about the potential effect the SCTLD may have on the Bahamas’ fishery export. ““Any negative impact on our reefs would definitely drastically affect our spiny lobsters,” LaRoda said to The Guardian.

Meedios Recommends: The Pandemic Has Negatively Affected Remote Students Across The Board

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.