Trust divers had an amazing dive yesterday on our study site at Studland Bay in Dorset, not just one but two female Spiny Seahorses. Trust volunteer surveyors have not found seahorses for several dives now so to find these 2 females is fantastic and surprising news. 2011 has been a very quiet year for seahorses at Studland because of the unusual weather patterns that have not produced the food for the seahorses. Volunteer Shane found both of the seahorses which was such a surprise for him as they are his first seahorses in the wild. Although he has put in many hours of diving and turned up week after week he had not been successful but yesterday he found both of the seahorses and the look on his face said it all. Volunteers like Shane, Eva, John, Dan, Paul and all the others have made a big difference to our knowledge of seahorses in the wild and we offer a great vote of thanks to all off them including Beccy and Jonny who have taken their survey skills to Madagascar this summer and will be back with the trust soon.
The eco friendly jewelry designer Kerstain Laibach has kindly nominated The Seahorse Trust to be one of her charities to make donations to from sales of her environmentally friendly work.
Kerstain has a sustainable approach to her jewelry making and produces ‘Luxury with a clear conscience, goldsmith Kerstin Laibach’s founding principle seamlessly introduces a genuine environmental ethos into contemporary and classical jewelry design’
Kerstain has kindly offered to donate proceedings from some of her jewelry designs to conservation projects run by the trust especially the Studland Seahorse Tagging Project.
Check out Kerstains website for a wide range of ethically made Jewelry and help to fund the work of The Seahorse Trust at the same time.
On Friday the 11th of September we are appearing on the One Show on BBC 1 ( 7 to 7.30 ). The trust spent two days with the One Show Team and presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff on our study site at Studland in Dorset. During the two days we spent time diving with the seahorses, photographing them and taking much needed measurements and coordinates for there location.
The Seahorse Trust has achieved another result in the further protection of Seahorses in the wild with our recommendations being used to ban flash photography under license in the wild.
The Marine Management Organisation who issue licenses allowing diving with seahorses (a protected species under the Wildlife and Countrside Act) has stated that ‘Due to advice received during wildlife licence consultations in relation to the potential impact of flash photography on seahorses, we are no longer issuing licences which permit flash photography. This is on a precautionary basis while we develop our evidence base on potential impacts.’
Seahorses have very sensitive eyes that can see in full colour in very low light levels and the sudden burst of flash into their eyes repeatedly can cause them a great deal of stress which in turn can cause death due to the latent diseases held in their body. Under normal conditions these diseases cause the Seahorses no problems but stress in the cases of flash have been known to kill Seahorses and that is why flash is banned in most aquariums in the world and on other research projects in the wild around the world.
This is an amazing achievement that will help to ensure the future of Seahorses in the wild and is another step in the long process of getting the Wildlife and Countryside Act enforced. The Seahorses have been officially protected since the 6th of April 2008 under the act as a result of the hard work of volunteers of The Seahorse Trust but up to now this protection hasnt been enforced so it is fantatsic to see this going one step further.
On Friday the second of September a second Spiny Seahorse fry was found by fishermen 4 miles out from East Preston in West Sussex.
Graham Andrews and long term friend Tim who owns the fishing boat Charlie Girl got the surprise of their fishing life’s when they reeled their lines in to clear snagged Thong weed and found a 5cm long Spiny Seahorse curled up tightly on the weight at the end of their line. The diminutive Seahorse; the second only fry found in England seemed a little shocked by its ordeal but fisherman Graham had the presence of mind to take a number of pictures and then return the baby seahorse back into the water, who would have drifted back down to the depths to hide amongst the weed again, hoping not to be found.
Trust experts think that the tiny baby; known as a fry was a female, although at her age which would be about 8 weeks she is not sexually mature which happens at about 6 months.
Graham contacted The Seahorse Trust who run the British Seahorse Survey and reported his amazing find so it could be added to the National Seahorse Database run by the trust.
Without fishermen, divers and others submitting sightings to the database the trust would not be able to protect seahorses in the wild here in England and Wales. By volunteers and others submitting their sightings The Seahorse Trust had both British Seahorses added to the Wildlife and Countryside Act where they have the same protection as Otters, great crested Newts and water Voles.
Here at the trust we are grateful to Graham, Tim and others who have helped us to make such a difference.