Studland Bay in Dorset is probably the most important place for Spiny Seahorses to breed but it is under threat from loss of habitat; since 2008 numbers of known individuals have dropped from 40 to 1 in 2014 which is tragic.
In 2008 both seahorse species were listed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act as ‘threatened’ because of research and lobbying work by The Seahorse Trust. This means that they are legally protected in the same way as bats and otters, and habitats must be protected as well.
Three years ago there was an announcement that 127 marine conservation Zones were to be set up and because of the importance of the Spiny Seahorse we were certain Studland Bay would become protected. So The Seahorse Trust submitted their data and knowledge and were stunned when it was dropped due to pressure from a few boat owners and the government putting economics over their legal duty to protect the site. So in the second tranche The Seahorse Trust submitted them again with the same result.
This time The Seahorse Trust has set up a petition to tell DEFRA to do its legally binding duty and protect the site and the petition has received a staggering 152,000 signatures from 76 different countries.
The Seahorse Trust has submitted this petition and all our other data into the consultation process and has high hopes that the site will be listed in the 2016 third tranche, especially as there is not an election happening. The Seahorse Trust thanks everyone who signed the petition and has high hopes this time, especially as many governmental departments have now supported their request.
The Petition is still running and can be found at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/208/992/778/reverse-the-decision-on-the-studland-bay-mcz/
Download The Seahorse Trust Spring 2015 Newsletter.