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More Seahorse Hotels Deployed in Sydney Harbor

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: June 8, 2021 11:00 am

whites seahorse sea life sydney

A pregnant White’s seahorse adult

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium have marked World Oceans Day, held on June 8th, by placing 18 new seahorse hotels underwater in Sydney Harbor. These will provide vital housing to the Endangered White’s seahorses which will be released ahead of National Threatened Species Day which will take place on September 7th 2021.

What is a seahorse hotel though? These are artificial habitats which once placed underwater will grow in to natural habitats. Corals, sponges, algae and encrusting animals colonize the structures and then provide protection from predators and a food source for the seahorses.

To help further conservation the hotels are biodegradable. Over time they will slowly collapse under the weight of the growth and leave the new habitat behind.

Commenting on the deployment of nine hotels in both Delwood Beach and Little Manly, Laura Simmons, Curator at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, said, “We’re now in year two of a multi-year project that aims to recover and eventually de-list the currently Endangered White’s Seahorses. I’m extremely proud that this project, which provides habitat for seahorses, has maintained such strong momentum through its many vital stages.”

One of the new seahorse hotels which has been situated on the floor of Sydney Harbor

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

The deployment of these hotels has tripled the number in the harbour as Simmons explained, “Today marked another major milestone for the seahorse team as we tripled the number of Seahorse Hotels in Sydney Harbour. Successful Seahorse Hotel deployment is critical as the Posidonia seagrass and the Cauliflower soft coral that seahorses call home are also endangered. The Seahorse Hotels provide the perfect haven for these seahorses and their native habitats to flourish.”

Dr. David Harasti, Senior Marine Scientist with DPI Fisheries, said, “To ensure the survival of the White’s Seahorse in the wild, it is essential that we maintain and protect the marine habitats that they rely on. If we lose the habitats, then we lose the seahorses.”

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SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium are working together with  the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries, Ocean Youth, the Gamay Rangers, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the Sydney Institute of Marine Science on the White’s seahorse breeding and recovery project. This has been supported by Taylors wine.

Alongside the development of the hotels the group are also working to restore their native habitat, endangered Posidonia seagrass meadows.

Robert Cooley, Senior Ranger for the Gamay Rangers says, “The Gamay Ranger team is delighted to be a part of this important project to save the Sydney Seahorse populations in Sydney Harbour together with the DPI and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Seagrass beds are prime habitat for these wonderful creatures and are culturally significant areas to Indigenous communities along the southern coast as they provide critical habitat for all types of marine life – including many fish species which are very important for our communities. We look forward to seeing the Sydney Seahorse population recover and thrive again in our bays.”

whites seahorse release sydney aquarium

A white’s seahorse from a previous release on one of the seahorse hotels

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

“We’re excited to be part of the science solution and privileged to partner with Taylors Wines who are committed to supporting restoration of marine habitats and species recovery. SeaBnB is a wonderful collaboration built on shared values around protecting the future of our planet.  In this UN Decade of Ocean Science, the campaign unites community with specialists from a broad range of disciplines, including vignerons and gives us all a chance to be part of the solution,” said Professor Martina Doblin, CEO SIMS.

The White’s sea horse recovery project has been running since October 2019 when SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium began working with experts from DPI Fisheries and University Technology Sydney (UTS) to collect breeding pairs to support the captive breeding of the species.

They were then bred at the aquarium. In March 2020 the first nine seahorse hotels were deployed in Sydney Harbor at Mosman. Here the first juvenile seahorses could be released. This occurred in May 2020 with each seahorse released tagged so it could be tracked in the future.

The next stages of the project has seen the number of seahorse hotels tripled. In September 2021 dozens more seahorses will return to the wild after having been bred at the aquarium.

A team work to place the new seahorse hotels in Sydney Harbor

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Learn more about the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium on their website – SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

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