Tell DEFRA to protect threatened British seahorses

Studland Bay in Dorset, UK, is the only place in the country where both native seahorse species – the spiny seahorse and the short-snouted seahorse – breed successfully. In 2008 both species were listed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act as 'threatened’. This means that they are legally protected in the same way as bats and otters, and habitats must be protected as well.

Along with other rare marine species, the seahorses depend on the delicate eelgrass in the bay. Eelgrass is as important to seahorses as jungle is to orang-utans. This is being damaged by yachts' anchors, putting the lives of the seahorses at risk. The bay needs to be legally protected from this damage by becoming a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) with eco-friendly moorings for boats.

However, government department DEFRA has not put the area forward into its list of potential MCZs, stating ‘impact on commercial fishing, local port and harbour activity and recreational boating activities.’

The Seahorse Trust says that seahorses are a local attraction, bringing in tourists which are more valuable to the local economy than the leisure yachting industry.

DEFRA is consulting on potential MCZs through to 24 April 2015 and the Seahorse Trust has meetings with government officials in early March where it will share this petition.

Please sign now to tell DEFRA to give Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone status to protect the eelgrass and save our seahorses!
DEFRA,

Studland Bay in Dorset, UK, is the only place in the country where both native seahorse species – the spiny seahorse and the short-snouted seahorse – breed successfully. In 2008 both species were listed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act as 'threatened’.

Along with other rare marine species, the seahorses depend on the delicate eelgrass in the bay. Eelgrass is as important to seahorses as jungle is to orang-utans. This is being damaged by yachts' anchors, putting the lives of the seahorses at risk. The bay needs to be legally protected from this damage by becoming a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) with eco-friendly moorings for boats.

Your reasons for not putting the area forward into your list of potential MCZs, ‘impact on commercial fishing, local port and harbour activity and recreational boating activities', should be reconsidered. With eco-friendly moorings, boating activity could still continue.

In addition, the seahorses are a local attraction, bringing in tourists which are more valuable to the local economy than the leisure yachting industry.

I urge you to give Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone status to protect the eelgrass and save our seahorses.

[Your comment]

Sincerely,

[Your name]
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