"Deadly Coral Disease Sweeping Caribbean Linked To Wastewater From Ships"

"Researchers find ‘significant relationship’ between stony coral tissue loss disease and nearby shipping"

"PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad -- A virulent and fast-moving coral disease that has swept through the Caribbean could be linked to waste or ballast water from ships, according to research.

The deadly infection, known as stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD), was first identified in Florida in 2014, and has since moved through the region, causing great concern among scientists.

It spreads faster than most coral diseases and has an unusually high mortality rate among the species most susceptible to it, making it potentially the most deadly disease ever to affect corals. More than 30 species of coral are susceptible. It was found in Jamaica in 2018, then in the Mexican Caribbean, Sint Maarten and the Bahamas, and has since been detected in 18 other countries.

In Mexico, more than 40% of reefs in one study had at least 10% of coral infected by SCTLD, and nearly a quarter had more than 30%. In Florida, regional declines in coral density approached 30% and live tissue loss was upward of 60%."

Jewel Fraser reports for the Guardian July 22, 2021.

Source: Guardian, 07/23/2021