'Seahorse hotels' planned for endangered seahorses in Australia

  • Tuesday 10, December 2019 12:58 PM
Sharjah24 – Reuters: New artificial habitats could help save the endangered White's seahorse species in Australia.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is working with the University of Technology Sydney and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Fisheries on a new breeding and conservation project for Australia's White's seahorse, one of only two endangered seahorse species worldwide.

The Department of Primary Industries Fisheries states on its website that the main cause for the decline of White's seahorse, also known as the Sydney seahorse, is the loss of its natural habitats.

In the project's first phase, researchers collected breeding pairs of White's seahorses from Sydney Harbor. Their offspring are being kept at a custom built facility at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and will eventually be released into the wild.

For the second phase of the project, the team will begin constructing "seahorse hotels," or artificial habitats for seahorses, in Sydney Harbor this month.

Researchers say the seahorse hotels will provide a habitat for the project's seahorses when they are released into the wild. Monitoring of the seahorses will continue after their release.

These artificial habitats will be transformed into natural habitats for White's seahorses as they are grown over by sponges, algae and other marine creatures.

Researchers say the artificial habitats were previously trialled in Port Stephens in New South Wales, Australia in 2018 and earlier this year.

Trials were found to be extremely successful as they attracted seahorses, leading to mating and breeding.