Connect with us


Video Report: Pony Up – Phuket marine conservationists launch international seahorse specialty course

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Marine conservationists in Phuket today announced the international launch of a seahorse diver specialty course to promote accurate crowdsourcing as Thailand, and the rest of the world, attempts to protect endangered populations.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) course will teach student divers the basics of seahorse biology and conservation, how to identify and search for seahorses and the many actions divers can take to maintain sustainable seahorse populations, explained Lindsay Aylesworth, lead author of the Seahorse Diver Specialty and PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia.

Trained divers can then help to protect seahorses by monitoring populations over time and reporting seahorse sightings to, a global citizen science program created by Project Seahorse with support from the John G Shedd Aquarium (story here).

“With the creation of this course we want to build a network of knowledgeable and passionate divers who will answer the call to protect seahorses,” said Ms Aylesworth.

Seahorses were one of the first fish species to be added, in 2004, to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which demands that countries maintain sustainable trade and monitor populations, explained Ms Aylesworth.

“Of the 48 seahorse species listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, 26 are considered ‘Data Deficient’ – meaning there isn’t enough information for us to know whether these species are thriving or disappearing.”

Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of seahorses. Learn more about them with Prjoect Seahorses’ lead researcher in Thailand, Lindsay Aylesworth. Video: PGTV

However, many seahorse populations are in decline, mainly due to overfishing and habitat destruction. Millions of seahorses are captured accidentally in bottom trawl fisheries each year. The same type of fishing gear often causes substantial alterations to the marine environment that, along with coastal development, reduce the quality of seahorse habitats.

“Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of seahorses and is taking pro-active steps to understand the sustainability of the trade. This requires basic information about the species that are in Thailand’s waters. The specialty has a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference with on the ground conservation efforts here in Thailand,” Ms Aylesworth told the Phuket Gazette.

“The information collected through the specialty course will be used immediately for the research we are doing, so it will have an immediate impact.”

The PADI specialty course will be kick-started in Phuket on July 24 with an instructor certification course led by PADI Course Director Kevin Black from with the support of PADI Regional Manager Andy Auer.

“We’re always very happy to support events and great ideas like this,” Mr Auer said.

Mr Auer noted that PADI would be providing a discount for the application form.

“With so many different species of seahorse found at our local Phuket beaches (story here) is excited to be able to work with the team from Project Seahorse to learn more about this magnificent creature and help educate other divers about them,” Mr Black told the Gazette.

“ was a natural partner to support Project Seahorse, as we were already conducting dives searching for seahorses on local Phuket beaches.”

Mr Black was sure that the specialty course would be a popular one. His feelings were echoed by Tse-Lynn Loh, postdoctoral research associate at Shedd Aquarium and Project Seahorse, and co-author of the Seahorse Diver Specialty.

“This is an exciting program for recreational divers — with a cohort of trained surveyors, we can track vulnerable seahorse populations and inform management strategies for fisheries, seahorse trade and marine protected areas,” said Ms Loh.


— Isaac Stone Simonelli


Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Thaiger Talk Forums.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Myanmar2 hours ago

Burmese military media outlets say ethnic army killed 25 workers

Thailand4 hours ago

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says drug suppression should to be a national priority

Thailand5 hours ago

Purchases of fancy street lamps being investigated for possible corruption

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand6 hours ago

Thailand News Today | BKK parks re-open… nearly, tropical storm, airport security upgrade | June 14

Thailand6 hours ago

Missing fisherman’s body found in sea off Nakhon Si Thammarat

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

CCSA: We’re out of vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Ayutthaya hospital to test all staff for Covid after 18 test positive

Thailand7 hours ago

13 teenagers arrested in Chon Buri for partying, gathering

Crime7 hours ago

Crime Suppression Division seizes dozens of illegal firearms in a series of raids

Crime8 hours ago

Marijuana valued at 10 million baht seized in Nakhon Phanom, 2 arrested

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 3,355 new cases, provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Almost 100% of teachers and staff vaccinated in Bangkok

Thailand10 hours ago

Almost 8 million register for stimulus scheme, app briefly goes down

Best of10 hours ago

Top 5 best temples in Bangkok

Thailand10 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | What’s happening in Pattaya, Phuket sandbox, reopening for tourism

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8