DPNR Will Hold Meeting On Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease In Frederiksted
FREDERIKSTED — A public meeting will be held on St. Croix tomorrow to discuss the effects of stony coral tissue loss disease in the territory, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources said in a press release Tuesday.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Fort Frederik in Frederiksted to discuss the lethal coral disease, the department said.
DPNR announced February 15 that Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) was found on St. Thomas.
SCTLD is a lethal coral disease that can affect roughly half of the coral species in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The cause of the disease is unknown, but scientists do know that it is transmittable through water.
SCTLD will attack all stony corals, but will affect brain and pillar corals first, and then move quickly through the rest of the stony coral, leaving behind large areas of bright white skeletons.
SCTLD doesn’t pose a threat to human health, but will damage corals that provide food, tourism value, and physical protection from waves during storms.
DPNR is asking the general public to be on the look out for this disease when you are swimming, snorkeling, or diving throughout the territory. Look for large areas of bright white skeleton on corals, especially on brain and pillar corals.
Report sightings and visit www.reefconnect.org/bleachwatch and download the Bleach Watch app, or report directly through the website. Be sure to include photos and location information.
If you are unable to make a report, call Coastal Zone Management at 340-774-3320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information will be published on the Coastal Zone Management website at dpnr.vi.gov/czm/SCTLD as well as on the DPNR Facebook page.
For more information about this topic, please call DPNR at 340-774-3320 extension 5115.
“And remember please protect all coral!” DPNR Commissioner nominee Jean-Pierre Oriol said. “Don’t anchor on coral, know what’s below when you drop your anchor. Stand only in sand. Don’t touch, kick, or stand on coral. Every living piece of coral is valuable.”