These images are from a dive yesterday at Anini Reef. This infectious coral disease has spread very rapidly all over the reef. 1 year ago there were 2 infections in our 100-meter transect, 4 weeks ago there was 80 infections and yesterday virtually every coral was infected! Over 500 beautiful rice corals! The disease is turning the corals black as it kills them. The infectious patches on the corals are growing faster, many of them at a rate of two inches a week.
Anini Reef is the largest barrier reef in Hawaii. We are currently monitoring 10 separate dive sites along the reef, and they are now ALL infected with tens of thousands of corals dying.
The water in the lagoon smells and has lots of long stringy algae. The visibility is poor and many of the fish are now diseased and dying. Most of the fish like the mullet have left the lagoon, along with most of the turtles. It is unknown if this bacteria is harmful to humans, but the dive team monitoring this disease has experienced an inordinate amount of skin and ear infections. The dive team bleached their dive gear and cameras when they got out of the water.
At the current rate of this disease spreading at Anini, Tunnels, Wainiha and other places we will lose much of the reefs within 5 years or less.