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A massive starlet coral colony from a reef off Grand Bahama has lost almost all tissue from Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. Waterborne and highly transmissible, SCTLD infects over 20 species. The disease infiltrated Bahamian waters in 2019. Photo courtesy of the Perry Institute of Marine Science via Precision Media

Spread fueled by vessel traffic between islands

#TheBahamas, August 11, 2021 – The first scientific assessment into Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) in The Bahamas highlights the need for early detection and rapid response to an underwater outbreak causing the greatest decline in a decade to coral populations.

In a new study published in the journal, Frontiers in Marine Science, a team of researchers confirmed a theory first espoused by the Perry Institute of Marine Science in April 2020, that tainted ballast water brought SCTLD to Grand Bahama sometime in 2019, and from there, the disease rapidly spread to New Providence.

Strengthening the hypothesis is the fact that no SCTLD has been reported near Bimini, the island closest to Florida. The southern state has been affected by SCTLD for at least five years.

“Freeport and Nassau are the two largest container ports in The Bahamas and are over 200 km apart with multiple islands between them where SCTLD has not yet been reported. It is probable that SCTLD arrived in The Bahamas via commercial shipping, followed by rapid spread within islands via local currents and other vectors,” according to the research article posted earlier this month.

It’s authored by Dr Craig Dahlgren, Dr Valeria Pizarro, Dr Krista Sherman and William Greene of the Perry Institute of Marine Science and Joseph Oliver from Grand Bahama’s Coral Vita, a company specializing in reef restoration.

“Bahamian reefs could experience local extinctions of at least three species that are already rare. At least one coral species is at risk of becoming extinct locally due to SCTLD,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Dahlgren, a recognized expert in tropical marine ecosystems.

“These results imply that Bahamian coral reefs could suffer a major change in coral community composition, thus impacting their ecological functionality.”

Corals are the engineers that build a valuable, diverse marine ecosystem. Without them, the ecosystem collapses and reefs lose their function.

“The rate of spread of SCTLD is a great concern and challenge for the management of reefs. The absence of SCTLD from surveys of Grand Bahama and New Providence in 2019 but a widespread occurrence across at least two thirds of the reef area in 2020 for both islands indicate a rapid spread of the disease,” said co-author and marine biologist, Dr Pizarro.

Once reaching The Bahamas, researchers suggest the spread of the disease within reefs was likely due to several factors – direct contact with contaminated ships, diving equipment, fish, water currents and Hurricane Dorian.

“Smaller vessels including commercial and recreational fishing boats, yachts, and inter-island mailboats may have also contributed to the spread of SCTLD within each island and to other parts of The Bahamas, like north Eleuthera Island where SCTLD was confirmed in December 2020,” the study stated.

The research intends to provide marine resource managers with information on where the disease occurred and what species were affected in a short timeframe. Moreover, the study identifies which coral species could suffer local extinctions and makes recommendations for antibiotics and the adoption of other measures such as coral rescue facilities to prevent loss of these species locally.

Scientists believe the disease could be contained through effective regulation of ballast water transfer, implementing policies relating to pumping, dumping and disinfecting bilge water, and minimizing other human spread.

A deadly disease, SCTLD infects over 20 species. It is waterborne and highly transmissible. It could linger in an area for several years, swiftly reducing colony density and living coral tissue. The cause of the disease is unknown.

According to the study, reefs closest to Grand Bahama and New Providence main commercial shipping ports recorded the greatest number of coral death and infection rates for the most vulnerable species. The further away from the port, the healthier the corals.

In New Providence, direction of the corals in relation to the port also played a factor. Sites to the east of the port were generally healthier when compared to sites west of the port, where nearly the entire coastline was affected by SCTLD.

When it came to Grand Bahama, depth was a significant factor in influencing the proportion of colonies that were healthy. Death and infection were more prevalent in shallow reefs.

There was one bright spot identified. Resistance to the disease was slowly taking hold in a case of survival of the fittest. Although there is an increase in new deaths, scientists observed a decrease in active infection for most species on both islands. The proportion of healthy corals, however, remain largely unchanged.

The study entailed rapid assessments of 25 reefs off Grand Bahama conducted in March 2020 and six reefs off New Providence in June 2020.

Surveys began at sites where SCTLD had been reported for each island and extended outward along the reef from those locations to assess the extent of the disease outbreak for both islands. A second set of surveys for both Grand Bahama and New Providence was conducted in January 2021 to examine changes over time at previously surveyed reefs and at additional sites to determine the spread of the disease for each island.

These last surveys were comprised of 16 sites in Grand Bahama, including 11 of the previously assessed sites, and 29 in New Providence, including all sites surveyed in June 2020.

“Results from this study stress the need for early detection and suggest that preventing the spread of the disease between islands via vessel traffic is of utmost importance,” the study noted.

Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.

The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.

At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.

We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”

View the newly released calendar of events here:…

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Bahamas News

Soca Warriors crush  Bahamas at home



By Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors dominated the Bahamas at home, at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, for the 2022/2023 Concacaf Nations League on Friday, with a 3-0 victory.

The Soca Warriors struck their first blow within the first 5 minutes of the game, with Kareem Moses making the first shot in the top left corner of the net giving T&T one to the Bahamas’ zero (1-0).

Soon after, in about 26 minutes, they made another shot giving them 2-0 away from home; the scorer Joevin Jones. By the 34th minute mark, the winning goal was made by Ryan Telfer, T&T now at three.

Neither team scored any additional goals as the match progressed despite attempts made by various players.

Trinidad’s win gives them 12 points through five matches.  Next match for the Soca Warriors is against  Nicaragua; that clash is set for Monday March 27 (at home in Tobago at the Dwight Yorke Stadium), in a tussle of winner-take-all on the final match day.  The victor takes home a promotion to League A and a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Angus Eve, T&T’s head coach expressed that the job is only half done, keeping aware that more challenges are coming their way, one of which is the nearing match against Nicaragua who is one point ahead of the Warriors.

Meanwhile, The Bahamas will journey to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with hopes of emerging victorious there.

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