Tuticorin: Pilot project to save sea horses

Tuticorin: With a view to enhance the population of seahorse, an endangered species, in captivity breeding and sea ranching in the natural habitats for replenishment of stock, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department has sanctioned a pilot project on an outlay of Rs. 1.5 lakh to Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute (SDMRI) here.

In extinction list: A sea horse species. — Photo: N. Rajesh

The SDMRI, in association with the Forest Department, would release captive cultured young ones into natural habitats (coral reefs and sea grass beds) in the islands of Gulf of Mannar (GoM) in March, said SDMRI Director J.K. Patterson Edward here on Sunday.

Captive breeding would help increase the population of natural stock of the endangered seahorse in GoM. The project would also assist the natural resource managers to formulate strategies for monitoring the released young ones.

Seahorses were being used for medical and ornamental purposes, Dr. Edward said. “Seahorse, which belongs to genus Hippocampus, is facing major threats and commercially overexploited. This species is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The particular species is often found in shallow coastal waters and prefer to live in sheltered areas such as sea grass beds and coral reefs. Although they are bony, they do not have scales. The reproduction process of these species of fish is very unique, wherein the male has an incubating pouch in which the female deposits the fertilised eggs.”

On measures adopted to protect the species, M. Sundarakumar, Wildlife Warden, Gulf of Mannar Marine National park, told The Hindu that joint patrolling of personnel from the Forest Department, Marine Police and Coastal Security Group had been strengthened.

“Besides, we have been imparting community-based eco-development activities among fishermen along the coastal area to increase awareness of sustaining the ecological system. Training is being given to Forest Department staffers and the personnel of Enforcement wing for identification of the species. Besides, restriction has been imposed on particular fishing nets banned by the government. Fishing is the primary source of sustenance for the fisher folk but the endangered species should be protected at all cost,” he added.

Praveen Paul Joseph – THE HINDU

One Response to Tuticorin: Pilot project to save sea horses

  1. adam says:

    Seahorses for ornaments is outrageous yet unfortunately un-surprising. Thanks to your post, i now know i little more about the Hippocampus; but what condition is their natural habitat in and will releasing them to these areas only increase the amount of fishing for them? Also, Is the reef in good condition? Respect and Peace!

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