First repeat sighting of a seahorse confirmed in Malta
Local dive guide and underwater photographer Pete Bullen has been observing seahorses when he happens across them in Malta for many years, through his sightings we can now confirm the first resighting of a female Spiny Seahorse. The small female (nicknamed ‘Milly’) who is in superb condition was first photographed by Pete when he happened across her in mid April 2013, recently he came across her again on his latest dive in mid-May and she was in a similar area to where she was originally found. Pete kindly sends any sightings of seahorses to The Seahorse Trust as we are building up the National Malta Seahorse Database and this is allowing us to get a picture of the seahorses and their behaviour around these amazing islands, in a similar way to the British Seahorse survey we run here in the UK.
The little female Milly has very distinctive spots on her head and by using photo ID techniques we have worked out this is exactly the same female in both sightings. Each seahorse has a ‘thumb print’ of markings on their head which is unique to each individual. The data we are gathering shows the movement and depths the seahorses use and spend time in and this information will be used to help protect seahorses into the future in Malta.
The exact location of a seahorse is never given out because it is important they are left in peace and quiet. In Malta, as it is in the UK, both seahorse species, the Spiny and the Short Snouted are fully protected under environmental laws, this is to ensure we have seahorses well into the future and the research work being undertaken in Malta is part of our information gathering to make sure there is a future for Seahorses.
If Pete happens across a seahorse during his dive, he will photograph it (without a flash) and note the location, depth, habitat and anything unusual about the seahorses or in the area. All this information is then sent to The Seahorse Trust so we can analyse it and add it to the database.
The British Seahorse Survey has been running since 1994 and is the longest running and most comprehensive survey of its kind in the world; it has over 750 sightings on the National Seahorse Database run by the trust and this database has been used to protect Seahorses throughout the UK. We have made some incredible discoveries about seahorses in the wild and learnt so much more about their behaviour in the wild. The Knowledge we have gathered through working on this survey is being used in Malta and we aim to give them a secure future as well.Milly in mid AprilMilly in mid May
Prof Jack Cohen opens new seahorse education area
Seahorses in Wool, Dorset
Easter Saturday was a very special day for Wool in Dorset, with the opening of the new Seahorse Display Area at Woolbridge Business Centre. Those who attended were thrilled to see the amazing displays of these curious creatures performing beautiful ballets in natural looking surroundings.
Owner Tim Haywood has opened the centre to educate and entertain visitors. He says sadly up to 150 million Seahorses are now believed to be taken from the wild each year to satisfy the Chinese Medicine Trade and the Aquarium and Curio Trades. It is hoped that our displays will help inform people of the Seahorses plight.
Entry is free, though a donation is encouraged to support The Seahorse Trust (Registered Charity No: 1086027 ).
Adding to the fun of the day was the ribbon-cutting by local celebrity, Professor Jack Cohen; co-author of Terry Pratchet's Science of Discworld series, renowned biologist and Patron of the Seahorse Trust.
WATERHORSE website now online
Our partners at WATERHORSE: Diver Conservation and Research Group now have their website online at www.waterhorseresearch.co.uk and they are accepting bookings for the survey work this year, it is important to book early as there are only limited places on the project this year.
WATERHORSE Director Shane is in Malta at the moment finalising details of the project which is being done under strict license issued by the competent licensing authority Malta Environmental and Planning Authority (MEPA).
Partnerships are vital to the work and with this in mind the project is being overseen by an advisory committee made up of mainly local individuals and organisations, the very people who understand the seas and its widlife around Malta.
This valuable research work will allow us to understand more about these amazing animals and to understand more about seahorses throughout Europe, so that we can advise on their conservation and protection throughout their geographical range.
As a partnership project the trust is crucial to its success and will own the data collected from the project and analyse it, so that we can make recommendations for the protection and conservation of seahorses.
They are trying to make the project as carbon nuetral as possible and with this in mind an indigenous Maltese tree will be planted for evey pair of divers taking part on the Maltese Archipleago.
WATERHORSE is part of the Seahorse Alliance along with many other partners such as Save Our Seahorses in Ireland http://www.saveourseahorses.org/home.php
You can follow the WATERHORSE project, or get involved through the WATERHORSE website above, or follow the WATERHORSE project on Facebook on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Waterhorse/162939550529974 or on Twitter at @WaterhorseR
Phnom Penh post news article about MCC
We were lucky enough to be covered in an article about our partners in Cambodia at Marine Conservation Cambodia. Paul, Zac and the team are doing some amazing work in surveying in the wild and captive breeding with some very unusual seahorses.
Manta Rays and the natural world.
I know this is not seahorses but the principal is the same, our natural world is being destroyed at an ever increasing speed and as we speak there is a chance to put Manta Rays on CITES II, please go the Mega Fauna website to read about it. Please be warned the site contains some horrific images of dead Manta Rays.
It is a fact that if we do not all act very soon, our natural world will be unbalanced to a point of no return, we are already seeing the results in strange weather patterns, millions of species such as seahorses killed for a fruitless trade every year, our forests still being cut down like grass, even here in the UK money counts for more than our amazing countryside as stated by Richard Benyon the Environment Minister in his recent 'public consultation' over the proposed marine conservation zones. Please lobby, shout or even scream at anyone and everyone who can make a difference to the marine conservation zone process, the closing date is the 31st of March.
Please don't forget to sign your friends up to be members or to adopt a seahorse, the more funds we can generate the more we can do.
Seagrass Project Development Officer
There has become an opportunty for the right person to work on a seagrass project in partnership with many organisations. The role is Project Development Officer and it is based at The National Marine aquarium in Plymouth.
Applications close on 22nd March. Following successful recruitment and they anticipate the officer being in post by late April. They will be in touch soon after that date to arrange meetings with interested parties.