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DOE investigating pillar coral disease outbreak

The Department of Environment is investigating a coral disease that is a species commonly known as pillar corals.

The DOE surveyed unhealthy pillar corals on Grand Cayman’s west side last week, and says all colonies at the ‘killer pillar’ dive site appear to be affected.

Deputy director Tim Austin told Cayman 27 the department is weighing its options.

“At this stage we are still trying to figure out what the options are, and then we are looking at just getting some insurance pieces, a few bits here that we can relocate, perhaps to a nursery site or to a site further away so that we have at least some living tissue representatives with us if we do lose the entire colony,” said Mr. Austin.

Pillar corals, scientifically known as Dendrogyra cylindrus are uncommon in Cayman waters.

It’s among six coral species listed as threatened under the US endangered species act.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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