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This tiny, rare seahorse was found in Cornish waters

This tiny, rare seahorse was found in Cornish waters

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:30am 10th March 2019. (Updated at 9:10am 10th March 2019)

This is a rare seahorse which was found in Cornwall, in a Fal fishery.

Experts say it is proof that sustainable oyster fishing has a bright future.

Seahorses are extremely rare in Cornish waters, and very rarely recorded.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Marine Officer, Matt Slater, came face to face with one while helping on a survey of the Fal oyster beds being run by Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA).

The annual oyster survey monitors the catch rates of oysters and other shellfish giving an indication of the health of the estuary.

He says that finding a rare seahorse adds to growing evidence that the Fal estuary, with its well managed sustainable fishery, is still productive and in reasonable health.

rare seahorse - fal oysters
Fal oysters

"I had heard that oyster fishers occasionally see seahorses but didn't want to even hope that we might see one as the chances are so small.

"However, just an hour into the survey and Cornwall IFCA's, Principle Scientific Officer Colin Trundle, yelled out 'seahorse!' and sure enough this little beauty had come up in the dredge. We were all amazed!"

Matt Slater, Cornwall Wildlife Trust

rare seahorse - fal queen scallop
Fal queen scallop

The seahorse was identified as a female, short snouted seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus). It was photographed and then swiftly returned unharmed to the sea in the same position that it was found.

The annual survey, carried out by Cornwall IFCA, records the numbers of oysters and other marine life on the Fal oyster fishery grounds and has been carried out every year by Cornwall IFCA since 2014.

This was the first seahorse ever to be found during the survey.

Oyster populations have been shown to be following normal cycles of abundance on the beds which biosses say shows that the Fal fishery is operating sustainably.

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