On 11th and 12th November 2017, I attended the Seahorse Survey Course presented and delivered by the Seahorse Trust. The course was held at the Marine Conservation Society headquarters in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. During the two-day course, we learned about seahorse taxonomy, breeding behaviour, conservation, threats to seahorses, photography, death by stress, the law around seahorses, legal protection, licenses, surveying and diver training.
It was a highly enjoyable and educational experience, beautifully presented, delivered with passion and was excellent value for money. The course instructor was very happy to answer our questions and went the extra mile to look up questions on other related topics. I took a lot away from the course, including learning far more about these beautiful, magical creatures, what to do should I be lucky enough to come across one (did you know you can actually cause quite a lot of harm or even death to a seahorse just by being in its presence) and how I can help support and protect the seahorses in a responsible way.
Threats to Seahorses
- Loss of habitat
If you have a special place in your heart for seahorses, here are the ways you can help:
Support the Seahorse Trust
- Become a Member
- Make a Donation
- Adopt a Seahorse
- Sign up for the Seahorse Survey Course
- Return a Survey Form to the Seahorse Trust if you happen to see a seahorse in the wild
Help ensure Seahorses are Protected
If you do see a seahorse in the wild, follow these guidelines to prevent stressing the seahorse which can lead to its death;
- Never spend more than five minutes with the seahorse or chase a seahorse. They are easily frightened and prone to stress.
- Never touch a seahorse. They have a special protective membrane which should not be disturbed.
- If the seahorse turns away, tucks its head down, or tries to swim away, these are signs the seahorse is becoming unhappy and you need to leave.
- If a seahorse changes to a dark colour, it is already stressed, any further interaction will almost certainly lead to its death. Leave immediately.
- Never use flash photography, use natural light or a natural light effect torch.
- Do not release specific details about the location of the seahorse to protect its habitat and survival.
- Remember it is illegal to go looking for seahorses unless you are doing a specific seahorse survey with a special seahorse licence holder.
- Seahorses are protected worldwide; do not search for them, or disturb their habitat.
- If you are a boat owner, buy an anchor chain buoy to prevent the chain scouring the ocean floor and destroying habitat.
- Respect the ocean and dive responsibly.
For further information go to www.theseahorsetrust.org