Reports suggest that Britain’s largest seahorse colony has been decimated by boats dropping their anchors. Studland Bay in Dorset has historically been home to the native spiny and short-snouted seahorses-five years ago, 40 pairs of the former species and one pair of the latter were recorded.

 
 
Long snouted seahorse

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However, it’s thought that anchors churning up the seagrass beds where they breed have caused a dramatic decline in numbers, and some conservationists say that the colonies have been wiped out. ‘We are aware that recent surveys have returned a negative result, but we have also received two separate reports of seahorse sightings in Studland Bay within the past fortnight, suggesting the picture is not clear cut,’ explains a Natural England spokesman.

‘We are working closely with Defra and other organisations to help inform decisions on how the seagrass can be conserved.’ The no-anchor zone that was introduced in the area several years ago is no longer in force.

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Image from: The Joint Nature Conservation Committee

  • Mark

    I’d seriously question the idea that anchors affect the sea horse habitat. Boats have anchored in the area for centuries and certainly in the current numbers for the last 70 odd years. Over this time the Eel Grass has positively thrived. Moreover Eel Grass is nasty stuff to anchor on so people tend try to anchor in a clear sandy patch rather than on the Eel Grass.

    Boats and Seahorses should be able to continue to happily share Studland Bay as they have for centuries.