GALVESTON, Texas – NOAA's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary announced Monday that an unprecedented mass mortality event is taking place at the East Flower Garden Bank.
"We have been able to boast about our extraordinarily high coral cover, healthy beautiful reefs up until now," officials said in a statement. "This is a game changer. Recreational divers on board the MV FLING reported that they were experiencing very low visibility hazy water on buoy #4 at EFGB to us (we were on buoy #2 conducting long-term monitoring with BOEM), as well as hundreds of dead corals, sponges, brittle stars, sea urchins, and mollusks."
The event is being investigated by FGBNMS and partners.
West Flower Garden Bank, 12 miles away, appears to be bathed in clear blue water and is not impacted, officials said.
"We have been overwhelmed by an outpouring of concern, suggestions, advice, and offers for help from around the globe," the statement said.