On March 29, eight members of S.E.A. Aquarium team joined Save Our Seahorses Malaysia (SOS Malaysia) in a wild population survey of Hippocampus kuda in Malaysia. The survey was done in the largest seagrass bed in Malaysia, located in the Johor Strait.
In the near future, S.E.A. Aquarium will collaborate with SOS Malaysia through an official partnership to broaden population survey of wild Syngnathids which include seahorses and pipefishes around Malaysia.
Population survey and ecosystem health assessments are essentials to make appropriate conservation actions.
Importance of understanding seahorse population
Seahorses are flagship species for many issues in marine conservation including overexploitation, incidental bycatch and habitat loss. This means that these iconic sea creatures are used in the promotion of the protection and preservation of ecosystems in oceans and seas .
Thus it is important to conduct field surveys to know the status of the Singaporean wild populations of seahorses.
There are at least 5 species of seahorses in Singapore waters:
- Hippocampus comes
- H. histrix
- H. kuda
- H. spinosissimus
- H. trimaculatus
All five species are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN 2013). H. comes and H. kuda are also considered vulnerable by the Singapore Red Data Book (Davison et al 2008).