Protease-producing bacteria play a vital role in degrading organic nitrogen in marine environments. However, the diversity of the bacteria and extracellular proteases has seldom been addressed, especially in communities of coral reefs. In this study, 136 extracellular protease-producing bacterial strains were isolated from seven genera of scleractinian corals from Luhuitou fringing reef, and their protease types were characterized. The massive coral had more cultivable protease-producing bacteria than branching or foliose corals. The abundance of cultivable protease-producing bacteria reached 106 CFU g1 of coral. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that the isolates were assigned to 24 genera, from which 20 corresponded to the phyla Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. Bacillus and Fictibacillus were retrieved from all coral samples. Moreover, Vibrio and Pseudovibrio were most prevalent in massive or foliose coral Platygyra and Montipora. In contrast, 11 genera were each identified in only one isolate. Nearly all the extracellular proteases from the bacteria were serine proteases or metalloproteases; 45.83% of isolates also released cysteine or aspartic proteases. These proteases had different hydrolytic ability against different substrates. This study represents a novel insight on the diversity of cultivable protease-producing bacteria and their extracellular proteases in scleractinian corals.