September 22, 2021

Cayman: Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) Meeting – Friday 16th October 2020

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Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) Meeting – Friday 16th October 2020

The DoE will be holding a meeting with local watersports operators this coming Friday 16th October from 9am – 10am at the Government Administration Building (Room 1038)  to discuss the rapid spread of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) on Grand Cayman’s coral reefs.

SCTLD first emerged on Floridian coral reefs in 2014 and, since 2017, has spread to nearby Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean. The DoE immediately began monitoring and mitigation efforts when it was first identified near Rum Point in June 2020. It has not yet been found in Cayman Brac or Little Cayman. Despite the DoE’s best efforts, the SCTLD infection continues to spread across Grand Cayman’s northern coral reef track between the public moorings ‘Delia’s Delight’ (19° 21.537′ N, -81° 14.718′ W) and westward to ‘Bear’s Paw’ (19° 23.873′ N, -81° 21.614′ W) primarily heading west towards the Seven Mile Beach Marine Park (map attached).

The rapid progression of the disease over 8 miles can be due to many factors including;

a)      The prevailing westerly water currents carrying the water-borne disease;

b)      Corallivores (animals that use coral as a natural food source) possibly transferring the disease to healthy corals after feeding on infected corals;

c)       The direct contact of corals on the reef with each other; and/or

d)      The possible transfer of disease by humans between dive sites and reef fishing spots.

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