Unfortunately, Florida’s coral reef has suffered an outbreak of stony coral tissue loss disease.
While coral disease outbreaks are a relatively regular occurrence, this one is somewhat different since it is very widespread and covers a large geographic area. Scientists think that the disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted via direct contact and water circulation. with transmission via contact being a key cause of the disease spreading, divers and snorkelers have been issued a list of guidelines to help prevent the disease spreading.
It is recommended that divers and snorkelers decontaminate their gear, which should help prevent the spread of the disease. Recommended guidelines for divers and snorkelers include:
- Eliminate sediments and debris after each dive.
- After diving use a quaternary ammonium solution to decontaminate your gear.
- Use a bleach solution between dives to clean any parts of gear that made contact with corals.
- Properly dispose of waste rinse water and cleaning products, it is not recommended that you pour it down a storm drain or in the ocean.
To learn more, check out the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.