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As some of you may know, we've been racing to stop the spread of the ocean's silent killer, Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). We call it "Coral COVID" because once it makes its way to a reef, it kills corals rapidly and spreads with an unprecedented ferocity.

But now, our hard work has been featured in National Geographic and we're grateful for the opportunity to spread more awareness about this devastating disease impacting waters in Florida, The Bahamas and the Caribbean at large.

To read the National Geographic article and share it with your networks, click here.

One of the last coral giants (pictured here) has died from SCTLD on a reef near Grand Bahama. This star coral colony was likely hundreds of years old.

About the disease

SCTLD is lethal and catastrophic, propagating via water currents and affecting at least 20 species. Imagine massive colonies of brain, star and pillar corals crumbling into white, algae-covered skeletons. That's what's happening, and it's turning reefs once teaming with life into desolate graveyards.  

“Colonies that took hundreds of years to grow can be wiped out in a matter of weeks,” said Dr. Craig Dahlgren, emphasizing the disease's devastation here in The Bahamas, particularly on reefs around Grand Bahama and New Providence.

“Climate change and the deadly outbreak of SCTLD are a double blow that will put an end to coral reefs in The Bahamas unless we act now,” added Dr. Karlisa Callwood, a marine biologist and the Director of Community Conservation, Education and Action at PIMS.  “Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease is spreading like wildfire and destroying our coral reefs – this is reality and demands urgent attention to save The Bahamas’ primary tourism product.”

This symmetrical brain coral colony is one of many suffering from SCTLD off New Providence. In the first photo (left), the coral is healthy. One month later (right), nearly half of the coral is dead because of the novel disease.

How you can help

There are a few things each of us can do to stop the spread of SCTLD, and it begins with education.

1- Learn to identify the disease. That way, if you see the tell-tale signs of white, exposed skeletal patches on corals (especially brain, pillar and star corals), you can report it on our website.

2- If you're scuba diving in the Caribbean, please disinfect your gear after each dive to prevent the accidental transmission of this disease between reefs. Dunking your gear in a bucket of sodium percarbonate & seawater works well for this. For more detailed information, check out the poster below!

3- Lastly, consider supporting our work by donating. We're a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a home in The Bahamas and a reach throughout the Caribbean. All donations are tax-deductible.