Seahorse conservation off the Dorset coast, UK

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Spiny seahorse

New marine conservation zones have been announced today, Friday 31st 2019, one of which will protect seahorses from boats which ruin their habitat at Studland Bay in Dorset, UK. When boat owners put down anchors they damage the seahorse’s habitat.

Spiny seahorse.
Photo by Nick Hobgood. This is a Spiny seahorse. Published under CC BY-SA 3.0

The new zones stretch from Cornwall to Northumberland and are intended to safeguard 12,000 kmĀ² of habitat.

Neil Garrick-Maidment of the Seahorse Trust said that protecting Studland Bay would allow the spiny seahorse to recolonise. We are told that 40 individuals were found in the Bay in 2008 but last Saturday none were spotted.

“There were no seahorses but by 1 pm we counted 115 boats and almost all had anchors.”

Neil Garrick-Maidment

I recently wrote about seahorses being threatened by discarded fishing nets of the Greek coastline. Fishing companies discard hundreds of tonnes of plastic fishing nets which damage the environment and marine wildlife.

I’m sure that most people have no idea that dropping an anchor from a rather modest boat in a bay off the Dorset coast can damage sensitive wildlife like the seahorse. But it can.