Hawaiian White Coral Disease

Coral Disease Found on Outlying Roi Reef


I did a dive at an isolated reef about 200 yards outside of Tunnels Beach, called Roi Reef. This reef is 30′ diameter at the top and 60′ diameter at the bottom, surrounded by sand. It is a long way off the main reef at Tunnels where there are a large number of corals infected with the white coral disease. This reef has lots of current, upwelling and big surf. It normally looks pristine.

However, yesterday I found 12 infected corals, both the white and grey phase. I was surprised to see this disease so far off shore. There are thousands of healthy rice corals so the disease is low density, when compared to the inside reefs.

To find infected corals far out on an isolated reef surrounded by sand implys that the infection is not being spread by small creatures. Only large fish like the omilu go from this reef to the near shore reefs across the sand. I have kayak dove this spot many times and I see the same fish on it on every dive. Roi Reef is like its own self-contained ecosystem.

It would even be difficult for any land based pollution to get out this far but testing would be needed to verify this. There is a strong current at this spot flowing from East to West and even the turtles do not feed here much, due to the lack of algae.

Something is altering the waters on the entire coast of Kauai, even the outermost reefs.

The concentration of the white coral disease in Kauai co-incides with the location of Navy testing of its sonic underwater blasting technology. Perhaps there is a connection. I often see large navy ships and submarines in this area, and have video of them. During tests, the sharks and marine life are going “nuts”. It probably also affects the corals in some way if it is altering the electromagnetic sensors on the sharks. I have seen large sharks run directly into the reef during a Navy test! Maybe this bacteria has been here all along, but the Navy Rim Pac boats are making the reefs lose resistance to it with their sonic blasting.

By Terry Lilley

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