Coral Disease Outbreak – Belize

June 2019 – Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) was first seen by Blue Ventures staff on June 21, 2019 in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve and has still only been reported in this area of northern Belize. The affected species are pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), brain corals (Colpophyllia natans, Pseudodiploria strigosa), star corals (Montastraea cavernosa, Dichocoenia stokesii and Orbicella annularis) and maze coral (Meandrina meandrites).

June 21, 2019: Corals with SCTLD Left: Close-up view of a great star coral (Montastraea cavernosa); Right: Close-up view of a symmetrical brain coral (Pseudodiploria strigosa) and massive starlet coral (Siderastrea siderea);~11 m, Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve – all with signs of SCTLD. Photo credits: © Andreina Acosta, Blue Ventures.

Experimental treatments using concrete or chlorine in shea butter beneath an adhesive paste of modeling clay at lesion margins of pillar corals were not successful at stopping the spread of the disease on infected corals.

July 19, 2019: Diseased Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus) . Left: before treatment, Center: during treatment, Right: after treatment with chlorine/shea butter and modeling clay, <2m, Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. Photo credits: © Henry Brown, Dept. of Fisheries, Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve.

The Belize Coral Reef Monitoring Network is developing the country’s official response and an action plan. 

July 10, 2019 – The Government of Belize Fisheries Department Press Release

The Fisheries Department has confirmed the presence of the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) on the Northern region of the Belize Barrier Reef Complex. SCTLD is a fairly new disease that affects coral reef systems attacking the coral colonies and resulting in loss of live tissue. Infected corals display “blotchy” lesions and high mortality rates. The disease was first reported in Florida in 2014 and more recently in Quintana Roo, Mexico. In June 2019 it was detected and subsequently confirmed in July 2019 at the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve.

August 2019 – Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Video

October 2019 – Belize and the Region tackle the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease

Story– Oct 8, 2019 “Belize and the Region Tackle the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease