The Cornwall Wildlife Trust has reported finding a seahorse during an oyster survey that was being carried out by Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA).

The annual oyster survey monitors the catch rates of oysters and other shellfish giving an indication of the state of the estuary.

Finding a seahorse provides proof that the Falmouth estuary is still productive and in good health with its well-sustained fishery.

On the Cornwall Wildlife Trust website, Matt Slater has said:

“I had heard that oyster fishers occasionally see seahorses but didn’t want to even hope that we might see one as the chances are so small.”

“However, just an hour into the survey and Cornwall IFCA’s, Principle Scientific Officer Colin Trundle, yelled out ‘seahorse!’ and sure enough this little beauty had come up in the dredge. We were all amazed!”

The seahorse was identified as a female, short-snouted seahorse, it was photographed and then returned to the sea in the same position that it was first found.

The Cornwall IFCA have carried out this annual survey every year since 2014.

These seahorses aren’t often spotted in Cornish waters and are very rarely recorded, the scientific name for seahorses is Hippocampus, meaning ‘horse caterpillar’ or ‘horse monster’.

They mainly occupy shallow water in beds of seagrass or seaweeds, in winter they move into deeper water to escape the rougher seas. The short-snouted seahorses are often found in shallower water than their long-snouted relatives.