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Celebrate World Oceans Day - everyday!
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The Project Seahorse NewsletterWorld Oceans Day 2016

Celebrate World Oceans Day - everyday !


As you know, the decisions we make in our daily lives have the potential to create big results for the future of our planet. Here we share three simple, but effective, ideas to help keep our oceans (and planet) healthy. 
 

Eat less shrimp

One of the simplest, most effective things you can do to protect marine habitats around the world is to avoid eating shrimp that have been farmed or trawled. These are the source of most shrimp but among the most destructive activities that occur in our ocean. If you must eat shrimp, look for the small supply from target fisheries using traps. This Seachoice Shrimp Guide has other good ideas.
 

Choose sustainable seafood

With today’s technology, it has become much easier for us to find out where our food comes from. Smartphone apps and other guides can help you choose seafood that is good for both you and our ocean. Check out SeaChoice, Seafood Watch, and MSC Ecolabel


Reduce plastic product use

Ten percent of all plastic we throw away ends up in our oceans, breaking down into tiny particles called microplastics. These particles are so small that they can end up in the blood and tissue of marine animals, and make their way up the food chain. Many beauty products contain microbead plastics that wash down the drain and end up in the ocean. Here's a great smartphone app that can help you choose products without microbeads. It's a start!

Together we can do even more to make our oceans and planet healthy.
Happy World Oceans Day!  
#WorldOceansDay

 

Project Seahorse captures rare video of wild seahorse birth
 

Watch the Video

The expectant father clings to seagrass and soon miniature seahorses emerge from deep within a pouch on his abdomen. Within seconds the newborn seahorses are swept away by the fast-moving water.

Project Seahorse researcher Clayton Manning was lucky enough to witness this male seahorse giving birth in the waters off New South Wales in Australia recently. The moment was caught on camera in one of the few videos of a birth in the wild.

“We were doing a survey and found a very, very pregnant male that had a tiny tail sticking out of his brood pouch,” Clayton says. “I had just finished getting his measurements and a baby shot out of the opening. So we sat back and watched the father for a while.”

Manning and Meagan Abele, a Project Seahorse research assistant, made the discovery while working on a seahorse conservation project in Port Stephens, Australia. They dived and search for seahorses living in the protected waterway to learn about the habitats that best support seahorse populations. The species living in these waters is known as the White’s or Sydney seahorse or by its Latin name Hippocampus whitei.

Unlike most other animals, female seahorses deposit eggs into a pouch on the male’s adbomen. The males then fertilize, carry and nourish the developing embryos in a form of pregnancy. White’s seahorses carry the babies for three weeks before they are released from the pouch fully formed; about 100 to 250 babies are born at a time.  Then the couple are at it again...!


Read more

Dr. Amanda Vincent is one of six finalists for prestigious Indianapolis Prize
 

Our director, Dr. Amanda Vincent, was a finalist for the world’s leading award for animal conservation! In recognition of her pioneering work to protect seahorses and their habitats, Amanda joined five other ‘conservation heroes’ on the elite final list for the Indianapolis Prize — Dr. Joel Berger, Dr. Dee Boersma, Dr. Rodney Jackson, Dr. Carl Jones and Dr. Carl Safina.

The result was announced in May and Dr Carl Jones was the deserving winner for his work on captive breeding and restoring ecosystems.  Congratulations Dr Jones!

The biennial award draws the world's attention to the cause of species conservation and celebrates the women and men who have made extraordinary contributions to the sustainability of wildlife.

“Amanda and the [other finalists] are heroes in many senses of the word. They’ve sacrificed their own self-interests to help others, and they’ve overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles,” says Michael Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, which administers the Indianapolis Prize as part of its core mission. 

Amanda’s conservation career began 30 years ago at the University of Cambridge, where she became the first scientist to study seahorses underwater. In 1994 she uncovered the vast global trade in seahorses, and in 1996, with Dr. Heather Koldewey, she established Project Seahorse. 

Over the past two decades Amanda and Project Seahorse have catalyzed landmark global trade protections for these important animals, helped establish 35 marine protected areas in the Philippines, and much more.

“Our world is unquestionably better off because of Dr. Vincent, and we hope others will not only take notice of, but also join in her noble work to save wild things and wild places,” Crowther says.

New trade bans for West African seahorse


Pioneering Project Seahorse field surveys have led to seahorse export bans for two West African countries.  In March, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) - the United Nations body tasked with ensuring that global wildlife trade does not damage wild populations -announced the suspension of all exports of the threatened West African seahorse (Hippocampus algiricus) from Senegal and Guinea.

 









Project Seahorse researchers Kate West and Andrés Cisneros-Montemayor spent months in the field, surveying fisheries and interviewing local fishers, fisheries managers, and government officials to determine the scope of the issue. 



Their efforts showed that that the number of West African seahorses in trade had risen dramatically over time, to reported exports as high as 260,000 animals in a year. This seahorse species is used primarily in traditional Chinese medicine, with most exports going to Hong Kong and mainland China.



This trade ban is intended set the stage for remedial action by these countries.  Project Seahorse is now keen to support Guinea and Senegal as they move to address CITES recommendations and establish a sustainable trade in seahorses that does not harm wild populations. 

Our measure of conservation success will be to have the trade re-open but this time at levels that are demonstrably sustainable.

We are very grateful for generously funding from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund for our field work.  Together we will help seahorse populations to thrive.

Read Andrés and Kate’s blog about their important work.

Guylian Wins National Business Award for Project Seahorse Partnership 
CONGRATULATIONS to Guylian Belgian Chocolate -  our longtime partner in conservation - who was recently recognized with a European Business Award (Belgium) for corporate and environmental sustainability! See the video and learn more about our vital collaboration.
Latest publications

Aylesworth, L., Lawson, J. M., Laksanawimol, P., Ferber, P. and Loh, T.-L. 2016. New records of the Japanese seahorse Hippocampus mohnikei in Southeast Asia lead to updates in range, habitat and threats. J Fish Biol, doi:10.1111/jfb.12908

Cisneros-Montemayor, A. M., West, K., Boiro, I. S. and Vincent, A. C. J. 2016. An assessment of West African seahorses in fisheries catch and trade. J Fish Biol, 88: 751–759.

Lam, J.T.L., H.J. Koldewey, M. Yasué and A.C.J. Vincent. 2016. Comparing interview and trade data in assessing changes in the seahorse Hippocampus spp, trade following CITES listing.  Oryx 50(1): 36-46.

Selgrath, J. C., C. Roelfsema, S. E. Gergel, and A.C.J. Vincent. 2016. Mapping for coral reef conservation: comparing the value of participatory and remote sensing approaches. Ecosphere 7(5):e01325. 10.1002/ecs2.1325

See more of our publications
 
iSeahorse Featured Sighting

This month’s featured observation comes from New South Wales in southeastern Australia. iSeahorse user dunshea_diving managed to spot and take this great photograph of Hippocampus whitei, the New Holland seahorse.

Something that many people find surprising about seahorses is that some species tend to be attracted to and do well on anthropogenic structures (those made by people).  

Read more
 
From the Blog

“I have a love affair with the Philippines. It all started 23 years ago when, as an aspiring seahorse biologist, I saw an electronic billboard in Berlin that proclaimed seahorses were the “most valuable fisheries export from the Philippines.”

Dr. Amanda Vincent writes about our latest conservation project in the Philippines 
 
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