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Source: The post is based on the article “With overfishing, great seahorses bolt from the Coromandel” published in The Hindu on 7th March 2023.
What is the News?
Extensive fishing off the Coromandel coast could be forcing the Great Seahorse to migrate laboriously toward Odisha. However, the Odisha coast was relatively shallower and could prove unsuitable for the species.
What are Sea Horses?
Seahorses are tiny fish that are named for the shape of their head which looks like the head of a tiny horse.
Habitat: Seahorses are mainly found in shallow tropical and temperate saltwater throughout the world, from about 45°S to 45°N.
Distribution: Globally, 46 species of seahorses have been reported while India houses nine out of the 12 species found in the Indo-Pacific.
– Seahorse populations in India are distributed across diverse ecosystems such as seagrass, mangroves, macroalgal beds, and coral reefs.
– In India, 9 species of Seahorse are distributed along the coasts of eight States and five Union Territories from Gujarat to Odisha, apart from Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Key Characteristics: Seahorses are unique in that the males carry and give birth to the young. After mating, the female seahorse transfers her eggs to a pouch on the male’s belly, where they are fertilized and developed until they are ready to be born.
– Seahorses are poor swimmers but migrate by rafting, clinging to floating substrata such as macroalgae or plastic debris for dispersal by ocean currents – to new habitats for successful maintenance of their population.
About Great Seahorse
Great seahorse is also known as the Hippocampus kelloggi.
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
CITES: Appendix II
Threats: Declining is due to its overexploitation for traditional Chinese medicines and as ornamental fish, combined with general destructive fishing and fisheries bycatch.
Recommendations: Increased monitoring of the coastal ecosystems on the Eastern coast of India is essential in order to conserve and protect the remaining seahorse populations of the area.