JUPITER, Fla. — Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease is plaguing the reef tract that stretches from Martin County to the Florida Keys.
This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scheduled a news conference to devise a plan to take action and treat the disease.
Jupiter charter fishing boat captain Bill Taylor said he's concerned about the reef and coral in it off of the Palm Beach County coastline.
He's bringing awareness to his concerns, which include the disappearance of sea grass and oysters in the Jupiter Inlet.
"As much as I make a living off the ocean, I owe it to the ocean to push this out in front of people," Taylor said.
Taylor said he witnesses brown, murky water leaving the inlet weekly.
Chopper 5 captured what Taylor is talking about.
Taylor thinks it's affecting the coral reef and Dr. Brian Lapointe, a Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch scientist, said he's correct.
"More and more land-based runoff of brown, dirty water with high nutrient levels, that is a killer for coral reefs," Lapointe said. "With 1,000 people a day moving to Florida and more wastewater coming into, you know, our watershed and flowing downhill to our coastal zone, we have to realize we can no longer, you know, use conventional septic tanks, for example."
For Taylor, who has 27 years of experience running fishing charters out of the Jupiter Inlet, his concern is about the sea life.
He said he's seen differences in the habits of snook and manatees because there's little to no sea grass in the inlet now.
For years, the sea grass was abundant.
Lapointe said things like less septic tank use by communities could help the situation.