Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Diving: Seahorse lovers asked to saddle up

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Project Seahorse calls on all divers and marine enthusiasts to help with the recently launched three-year project aimed at studying the seahorses of Thailand.

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. Thailand, the world’s largest exporter of seahorses, has taken pro-active steps to assess the populations of this peculiar sea creature and now needs our help.

“In Thailand we are just starting to evaluate seahorse populations, which is why we are asking people to help us,” explains University of British Columbia doctoral student and seahorse expert Lindsay Aylesworth, who is leading the field research team for Project Seahorse. “We are basically going in with very little information about where seahorses are in Thailand; what environments they inhabit; and what their [population] densities are like.”

Divers in Thailand have been offered a unique opportunity to help save these charismatic, quirky sea creatures and the multitude of marine environments they inhabit. Project Seahorse, a non-government-organization (NGO) based out of the University of British Colombia, Canada, and the Zoological Society of London, has an online ‘citizen science’ database called iSeahorse. This database is designed for divers, scientists and other seahorse enthusiasts to upload their photos and sighting information.

Project Seahorse scientists, collaborating with Thailand’s Department of Fisheries and Kasetsart University in Bangkok, will then use this vital information to map data-deficient seahorse populations, determine their threat levels and develop effective conservation actions.

“We are really trying to reach out to the dive community to see if they are willing to share their seahorse photos and dive spots where they’ve spotted seahorses,” says Lindsay. The sightings will be used to mark future field sites for more in-depth research. Divers first register, either through Facebook, Twitter or online, before submitting their sightings.

“We encourage you to submit your data from any sighting, no matter how old. And even very minimal amounts of information are incredibly valuable. You do not need to know the species’ name or even the exact location of your observation – if you have seen seahorses in the wild, then we want to hear from you!”

Although seahorses are targeted by some country’s fishing industries for the aquarium trade, seahorses in Thailand are usually ‘by-catch’ – accidentally captured in fishing gear targeting other animals, explains Lindsay.

Phuket Diving: Seahorse lovers asked to saddle up | News by Thaiger
There are many characteristics used to identify seahorses, most notably their distinctive spines along the body.

“Fishers sell them to local buyers as dry individuals. Mostly they are used for traditional medicines. There is a history of seahorses being used for their curative powers – anything from swollen lymph nodes to arthritis or male fertility problems, because it’s the male seahorse that carries the babies [male seahorses are the only male in the animal kingdom known to give live birth].

“Usually what happens is you take the dried seahorse, grind it up into a powder and mix it with honey or some other herbs, and drink it as a tea,” says Lindsay.

“Seahorses are a great tool for raising awareness of general ocean conservation issues, from habitat-health to making sure we have sustainable fisheries.

“They also have an ecological importance; Seahorses don’t really have stomachs so they are voracious predators. They live in an environments where they basically feed on small crustaceans and baby fish larvae. There is some research that suggests they are important to structuring the fish community and the areas where they are found,” she adds.

Now, with the tools to actively contribute to the conservation effort of these shy, but vital creatures, it is up to the divers of Thailand to make a difference.

Keep checking our Phuket Lifestyle pages for the latest features from across the island. Join our Facebook fan page or follow us at @PhuketGazette.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

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

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand38 mins ago

Samut Sakhon Governor Veerasak offers to resign if communication in his province doesn’t improve

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 hour ago

Sunday Covid Update: 15,335 new cases; provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 15,335 new infections, provincial numbers

Welcome back to Thailand!

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

Coronavirus Infections2 hours ago

DDC says infections still rising, possibly falling in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

DDC says use the QueQ app to book appointment at sports stadium in Pathum Thani

Business3 hours ago

Inside story behind the Thailand property seachange

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand4 hours ago

Domestic flights added to Phuket/Samui, CAAT says be careful

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

4th body found on a Bangkok street

Events6 hours ago

Where have all of Thailand’s boat shows gone?

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Sunday: 15,335 new infections, news briefs

Indonesia13 hours ago

Man with Covid-19 disguised as his wife to board flight

Hua Hin15 hours ago

Kitchen raiding elephant breaks same wall in house for more food

Thailand16 hours ago

1st Taekwondo Olympic gold as Panipak wins for Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

AstraZeneca Thailand writes open letter to people of Thailand

Koh Samui21 hours ago

Surat Thani announces new Covid-19 measures for Samui Plus

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Phuket5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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