The coronavirus pandemic, that has endangered the wellbeing of us all, has changed our lives in numerous ways, maybe permanently.
Among the measures and guidelines issued by governments, we were also advised to remain at home while things get better and experts manage to flatten the curve.
However, while we found the lockdown challenging, to say at least, Nature seems to enjoy it. English divers have discovered 16 spiny seahorses in Studland Bay in Dorset, the largest number recorded in that area since 2008, and the first sighting in two years.
According to the Seahorse Trust, it is a result of the slowdown from the coronavirus pandemic, the reduced number of people, less boat traffic in the area, and less noise associated with anchors.
Neil Garrick-Maidment, the trust founder, said:
“We have seen so many seahorses because the food chain has recovered, giving seahorses plenty of food to eat, and crucially, somewhere to hide. The seagrass has started to repair itself, and the spiny seahorses have taken advantage of this.”
There are two types of seahorse species found in England – the spiny and short-snouted. The spiny seahorses tend to live in shallow waters during the warmer months, and they cling on to seagrass with their tails. They are around 15-17 cm long.
Both species were protected in 2008 by The Wildlife and Countryside Act.
The numerous years spent campaigning led to the designation of Studland Bay as a Marine Conservation Zone last year, and the recognition of the importance of its seagrass habitat and seahorse population.
Mr. Garrick-Maidment added:
“The 16 seahorses discovered on a single dive are an amazing discovery, but we now need the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Natural England to enforce the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Marine Conservation Zone and put in place measures such as environmentally friendly moorings.
The seahorses need protection to stop them being disturbed again as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and to stop them vanishing from this legally protected site.
We have a unique opportunity to help nature and to restore the balance of our planet. We must grab this with both hands, for the seagrass, for the sea, for humanity and crucially for these incredible seahorses.”