SCTLD the challenge we must all face together
Surveillance and monitoring of coral colonies has become a critical action to detect sites with symptoms and focus efforts to intervene. Therefore this 2021, we have continued our monthly coral monitoring including 21 sites around the island. This has helped us to monitor the spread of the disease as well as to assess the ongoing impact in our coral reef community composition. Coral reefs from the East End of Roatan Island thrives with health and diversity, its coral colonies as old as more than 100 years remain untouched and almost no natural diseases are seen. We would love it for these areas to remain healthy for much more time, therefore we encourage all diving communities to follow gear disinfection guidelines whenever they visit healthy reefs. Unlike these healthy areas, the western side of Roatan where SCTLD hit 6 months ago we have lost a vast coral cover which gradually changes the composition of the reef ecosystem. The most affected species of corals are maze, pillars, brain and star. However, good news is that are still colonies that have not been yet affected and we are trying to keep an eye on them.
Furthermore, we have visited different dive centers located in the West End area and held online update meetings, providing information on the efforts we are currently undertaking in terms of coral disease and various ways in which they can be involved. Through this, we have been able to work together with several dive centers interested in giving their support to the corals and getting their divers involved, such as Grand Bleu, Clear Waters, Turquoise Bay and Sun Divers. Constant communication through webinars, lives and social media posts have been developed and directed towards Honduran population, with the purpose of creating awareness of the current natural emergency the coral reef is facing and how they can help and be involved at their places.
Also, using a base 2B paste (epoxy) and amoxicillin mix we have been treating diseased coral colonies to increase its natural resilience and survival rate in the fight towards SCTLD. We have treated + 200 colonies of more than 10 different species at 12 diving sites where the disease has spread around Roatan. Although the disease is present and moving rapidly in a wide area of Roatan’s coral reefs, we’ve been focusing on treating corals in diving sites where we are able to go back and assess their survival rates throughout time.