Coral Reefs Disease News

UNEP/GCFI guidance document addressing Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease in the Wider Caribbean

Patric Lengacher | Roatan Marine Park

For Immediate Release

UNEP/GCFI produce guidance document addressing Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease in the Wider Caribbean

Kingston, Jamaica. 16 November 2021 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Cartagena Convention Secretariat and the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) are pleased to announce the development of a document designed to help regional partners make informed decisions about coral disease monitoring and response to the newly identified Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD).

“Stony coral tissue loss disease can have devastating impacts on Caribbean coral reefs and on the communities and economies that are dependent on them”, said Ms. Ileana Lopez, Programme Officer for the Cartagena Convention’s Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife.

The new paper provides a comprehensive overview about the coral disease – from its distinguishing characteristics and appropriate monitoring strategies, to its impacts on coral reef ecosystems and threat to economies in the region. It also highlights best management practices and communication techniques, as well as possible interventions to respond to the disease.

“The document contains up-to-date, credible, scientific information,” explains Mr. Robert Glazer, GCFI’s Executive Director. “It’s also designed to be as user-friendly as possible for Caribbean policy makers, natural resource managers, and field practitioners who need to have the best science at their finger tips as they face this new threat to coral reefs.”

“We know that regional collaboration between managers and multiple actors at various levels is essential to respond to the threat that SCTLD poses to the Caribbean region,” added Ms. Lopez.

Accordingly, the White Paper describes existing platforms for collaboration, such as the SCTLD Caribbean Cooperation Team coordinated by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment Program (AGRRA). It also highlights further recommendations on how actors at regional, national, and local levels can plan and work together to tackle the coral disease.

The White Paper on Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease can be accessed on the website of the UNEP Cartagena Convention Secretariat and the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute. The development of the White Paper was made possible through funding provided by the Government of Sweden.

Further Resources
Recording of the launch of the White Paper held on 25th October 2021.

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