The Seahorse Trust News

Seahorse found and released off Fowey in Cornwall

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A few days ago a friendly local fisherman was fishing for Sand Eels not far from Fowey and when pulled in the net and this beautiful juvenile female Spiny Seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus) was in the net with them. She was very dazed and so the fisherman contacted Phil Croxton owner of the Fowey Aquarium who took her in and looked after her over night.

In the close up picture of her is a Dog Fish Egg case and it shows she was about two and a half to three inches from the top …of the head to the end of the tail.

Phil then phoned us at The Seahorse Trust to report the sighting for inclusion on the National Seahorse Database (we hold all British Seahorse sightings since 1821) which is part of the British Seahorse Survey that we run and to get advice as to what to do. In conversation we advised once she was in good health, had a good feed and was rested to return her to the same spot she was fished from and release her. (we are keeping the exact location secret for obvious reasons)

Seahorse here in the UK are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981 as amended) and the act allows for tired animals to be held in captivity and to be released at the earliest opportunity, so Phil, the fisherman and the team did the exactly right thing and they should be commended for their quick thinking actions which undoubtedly saved the young seahorse

They released her yesterday by kayaking out and gently putting her over the side into the same spot she came from.

Pictures kindly from Ian McCarthy

E503b H.guttulatus Phil Croxton (1) cropped

Large seahorse found in Poole Harbour

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Fisherman Michael Bailey has found another large seahorse in Poole Harbour. A few years ago Michael found a very large male Spiny Seahorse that measured almost 30 cm from the top of the head to the end of the tail.

A few days ago he found another one and this male was very heavily pregnant. Michael said that he found 3 this year but numbers are dropping as he usually found so much more.

The Seahorse Trust has worked closely with Michael for several years and he very kindly took us out to look for seahorses in Poole Harbour a few years ago, on that dive we found 3, all Spiny Seahorses.

Poole Harbour has both species resident in it and it is thought that they are there permanently and do not migrate to deeper water because of the sheltered nature of the harbour.

E500d Hippocampus guttulatus Michael BaileyE500c Hippocampus guttulatus Michael Bailey

Petition now closed and submitted

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The Care 2 petition to DEFRA to get them to change their mind over making Studland Bay a Marine Conservation Zone ended yesterday with a final figure of 153,585 from 76 different countries which is staggering.

The boat owners who are against this reacted by saying ‘foreigners’ should not have a say on English conservation which is quite strange as we are always telling other countries to protect their wildlife.

The UK is a signatory to the IUCN which means it is legally bound to enforce wildlife law and to set up Marine Conservation Zones for vulnerable species and habitats and so it is failing in its statutory duty in protecting both species and habitat.

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and we have now submitted a large amount of data and information to the consultation process and we have very high hopes that Studland Bay will be included in the next tranche of MCZ’s in 2016.


Success in getting seahorses confiscated

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Dear all, with Agent K and volunteers working for our illegal trade team we can now reveal that we, in cooperation with the Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) from Devon and Cornwall Police have just stopped a shop in Brixham, Devon from selling dead seahorses. After a tip-off from one of our amazing volunteers, we reported to the WCU that this Shop in Brixham was selling dried, dead seahorses. The WCU reacted very quickly and raided the shop, recovering 10,000 plus dead seahorses, sea moths, a shark, shark bits, a crocodile, coral and a number of other species.

We then acted as the experts with others to identify the seahorses and others species and last week it went to court. The outcome was partially successful in that the shop owner was cautioned and the CITES-listed species (all the seahorses) were confiscated. Sadly the shop owner was not fined or jailed and he kept the non-CITES species but we truly hope this is a wake-up call for him and others in this trade.

There are so many shops (including others in Brixham that we are watching) that participate in this horrendous trade and we are launching our Stop the Curio Trade Campaign soon to try and stop this trade and educate others about it.

All around our coastline and inland are shops selling a wide variety of curios (marine and terrestrial) which the public think are legal to buy because they are on sale, when in fact like the seahorses they are illegal to sell and buy.

We would like to thank the officers involved in the WCU (who we will not name for obvious reasons) especially for their incredibly quick response. All of this at a time when the WCU is being closed down and/or restricted to one officer for the whole of the Devon and Cornwall area, which is shocking. Wildlife Crime here in the South West and the rest of the country is rising rapidly and I encourage you to write to the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police and ask him to change his mind over this.

After our success with E-bay and now this prosecution please keep an eye out for our Stop the Curio Trade coming in the next few months and thank you so much to everyone involved.


Please vote for us

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Please vote for us

We have been short listed for funding our project at Studland Bay in Dorset by the European Outdoor Conservation Association but it needs your vote to make it happen. Please could you vote for us so that we can get funding to continue with our important research and education work with the seahorses of Studland Bay, there has never been a more important time to do this

Please click on this link and scroll down the page and then vote for our project. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT