PUBLISHED: 12:01 19 September 2014 | UPDATED: 13:16 30 August 2017



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Newquay fisherman spots short-snouted seahorse in Cornish waters

A Newquay fisherman has finally proven that seahorses are found on Cornwall’s north coast.

Daniel Gilbert skipper of Newquay crabber Tizardleeon’ found the beautiful yellow seahorse clinging to a crab pot while working four miles north west of Newquay’s Towan Headland last Friday 2nd of September

'In my eleven years working at the aquarium we had several anecdotal reports of seahorses being spotted by divers and fishermen in the Newquay area, and washed up dead on beaches but this is the first time that we have definite proof that seahorses live here.' saysMatt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust (formerly curator of Blue Reef Aquarium Newquay). 'Sea horses are protected rare species that are globally threatened and it is very exciting to hear that they can be found in our local waters!'

Newquay is famous for its beaches and night life but many don’t appreciate its wonderful marine wildlife. Local people with a passion for the sea have come together to create Newquay Marine Group which champions this cause and promotes our wonderful marine life, and our small scale sustainable fishing fleet! Please visit the Newquay Marine Group facebook page for information on upcoming events and the latest news.

Seahorses are bizarre looking fish related to pipefish and tropical sea dragons. They are poor swimmers and tend to stay in the same habitat for the whole of their life. Seahorses can live for up to eleven years and are slow growing. They are famous in that the males are the ones that get pregnant, incubating eggs, and carrying young in their fleshy brood pouch.

With their prehensile tails sea horses hold tight to seaweeds and sea fans while waiting for their prey to come past, believe it or not seahorses are deadly predators that feed on small shrimps using their long tube-like mouth and a powerful suction mechanism to pluck their prey out of the water so fast they are instantly turned to soup!

In Europe we have two species of seahorses, the spiny or long snouted sea horse Hippocampus guttulatus and the smaller short snouted seahorse Hippocampus hippocampus, which is the species that was found by skipper Daniel Gilbert. Both species are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act and are Biodiversity Action Plan species, meaning it is illegal to interfere with or harm one.

'The fisherman Daniel Gilbert did exactly the right thing,' continues Matt. 'On discovering the seahorse he called Cornwall Wildlife Trust straight away to report it and on our advice he took some photographs of it before returning it carefully in the place it was caught.

'Our seas are mysterious and although we are learning more about them through our research there is still so much out there that we don’t know about. Fishermen spend more time on the water than any other group including most marine scientists so we really want to encourage them to send in more information on marine wildlife. We are really pleased that Mr Gilbert contacted us with the record and we urge all fishermen, divers and water users to do the same and to report any unusual sightings of marine life to Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Our new website Online Recording Kernow and Scilly’ makes it really easy to send in information and allows you to review what you have found and see what others are spotting!'

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