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  • J. Lewis

A Seahorse Release in the Balearic Islands Marks Major Conservation Milestone

The 'Cavallets de Mar Balears' seahorse project, a unique and innovative collaborative effort between the Palma Aquarium Foundation and Banca March, celebrated a significant milestone on June 25, 2024, with the first public release of seahorses in the Balearic Islands. This event is a major achievement in marine conservation, setting a new standard for seahorse conservation projects worldwide.

A Seahorse Release in the Balearic Islands Marks Major Conservation Milestone

A Conservation Triumph

The release involved a breeding pair of Hippocampus guttulatus and four male juveniles of the common seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus. These seahorses were meticulously bred and nurtured at Palma Aquarium, where they were provided with a controlled environment that mimicked their natural habitat, ensuring their readiness for reintroduction into the wild.

These delicate creatures' journey from Palma Aquarium to the Sa Dragonera natural reserve began at Puerto de Andratx. They were transported on Blue Circle, a zero-emission electric catamaran operated by TrueWorld, with support from the Firusub diving centre, which provided a backup vessel.

A Conservation Triumph

Accompanying the technical team from Palma Aquarium and Palma Aquarium Foundation were representatives from Banca March, members of the Balearic Islands Government, the Council of Mallorca, and Sa Dragonera Nature Park. Their collective presence underscored the inclusive and collaborative nature of this conservation initiative, making everyone involved feel part of the success.

Seahorses as Ecosystem Indicators

Seahorses are fascinating marine creatures and key indicators of the health of marine ecosystems. Unfortunately, due to their vulnerability, their populations have declined by 25% to 30% in the Mediterranean over recent decades. The "Cavallets de Mar Balears" project, launched in March 2022 and renewed in 2024, focuses on breeding seahorses in controlled environments before releasing them into their natural habitats, thereby contributing to the restoration of marine ecosystems.

Since the project began, 585 seahorses have been reintroduced into the Balearic Sea, including 579 juveniles from previous technical releases. This latest release highlights the project's ongoing success and vital role in marine conservation.

Commitment to Sustainability

The "Cavallets de Mar Balears" project is supported by the Mediterranean Fund, Banca March's initiative for promoting sustainability and worthy causes. By renewing this agreement, the Palma Aquarium Foundation and Banca March have strengthened their dedication to marine biodiversity conservation and environmental protection. This release not only marks a significant step in the effort to conserve seahorses but also serves to raise public awareness about the importance of protecting marine ecosystems. The project's success is a testament to the positive impact of public-private collaboration in safeguarding marine biodiversity for future generations.


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