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Stony Coral Disease Decimates Belize’s Reef and Threatens Its Blue Economy

In the 2022 Mesoamerican Reef Report Card, Belize's score dropped from three in 2020 to two, indicating a state of poor reef health. Experts say the decline is due to reduction of both commercial and herbivorous fish biomass — and stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD).

SCTLD apparently worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic, and conservation organizations, fishers and tour guides out of the waters have been witnessing its comeback. The implications for the country's much-touted blue economy are clear, as SCTLD advances from Placencia to the northern tips of Belize's coastal waters. Freelance journalist Jose Sanchez collaborates with PGTV and Channel 7, as well as Hipolito Novelo of Channel 5, to bring you this story spanning the Silk Cayes to the Great Blue Hole and beyond.

This TV feature was produced with support from Internews' Earth Journalism Network. It was first broadcast by PGTV on July 24, 2023.

Banner image: Footage from "Stony Coral Disease Decimates Belize's Reef" / Credit: Jose Sanchez/PGTV. Transcripts available via Channel 7 News here and here.