Cruise ships and large commercial vessels are destroying our marine ecosystem – pumping sewerage and dangerous paint chemicals into the water…
A new, rapidly spreading outbreak of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) has infiltrated nearly 40 miles of Grand Bahama’s southern coastline, killing a wide range of coral, including some that are already endangered.
“Corals are the engineers that build the entire marine ecosystem. Without them, the ecosystem collapses. The reefs lose their function. It makes a fundamental change in the ecosystem from what we’ve seen in the past,” said Dr Craig Dahlgren, a marine ecologist with the Perry Institute for Marine Science (PIMS) who led the research investigation last month.
He added: “The greatest infection rates and the greatest amount of mortality were close to Freeport, close to the port. For some species, 90 per cent of the corals were either dead or dying. It was very widespread at that point. In those severe cases, there is little you can do to help those corals.”
Should the outbreak go unchecked, scientists believe the fallout could prove worse than the 1930s marine disease which wiped out sponging beds across the country and led to the crash of the Bahama Islands then number one industry, sponging.
The report for Grand Bahama submitted to government agencies on March 16, linked the introduction of the disease to The Bahamas with cruise ships and large commercial vessels.
PIMS anticipates a government-led, multi-disciplinary task force will be constituted shortly to address this marine crisis.