TCI News

SOS! Dive Operators called on to help, Coral Reef danger and DECR working on action plan

#Providenciales, June 5, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The marine eco system of the Turks and Caicos Islands is what direct fuels both the country’s number one and number three industries – tourism and fisheries.  It is precisely why a recently discovered environmental threat is sending specialists to the drawing board for a plan to curtail it; the DECR is says it is working on a plan to stop the spread of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD).

“It has been brought to the attention of the Department of Environment & Coastal Resources (DECR) that sightings of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) have been made at certain dive sites in the Turks & Caicos Islands,” reported the DECR in a media release issued on Monday.

Ironically it is the love of playing and seeing first hand these undersea gardens which is contributing to the development of SCTLD. 

“Dive and snorkel gear can contribute to the overall transmission of pathogenic bacteria among reefs. Just like handwashing is a common practice to prevent the spread of disease among humans, disinfecting gear and following other best practices is recommended to prevent the accidental transmission of coral disease between reefs. Divers and snorkelers can reduce their likelihood of encountering and transferring pathogenic bacteria through proper buoyancy and by avoiding touching marine organisms. As a precautionary approach, they can further minimize transmission of pathogens by sanitizing dive equipment between dives and before and after each dive excursion, especially when travelling between countries or between infected and uninfected locations.”

The DECR is now trying to get operators on board.

“…we would like to ask that all Dive Operations follow the protocol for affective decontamination of their equipment. This is in an effort to contain SCTLD, and prevent further spread to healthy dive sites, within our waters.” Visit to see the extensive TCIG news release ‘STONY CORAL TISSUE LOSS DISEASE: URGENT ATTENTION’ which outlines effective and established protocols. 



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