A little known seahorse found in nine estuaries between Forster and Wollongong and in the Tweed River is facing possible extinction.
The science community and government are so concerned for White’s Seahorse (Hippocampus whitei)’s future public submissions are being invited during a consultation period for the proposed determination to list the creature as a threatened species.
The independent NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee (FSC) has reviewed information on White’s Seahorse and found that it is facing a very high risk of extinction in the near future, and is eligible to be listed as endangered.
FSC deputy chairperson Associate Professor Jane Williamson said the FSC found that loss of habitat, sand inundation and damage has led to the decline of the species.
“Currently the White’s Seahorse is listed as a protected fish under the Fisheries Management Act 1994,” Professor Williamson said.
“By listing White’s Seahorse as a threatened species it will provide additional protection, and priorities for supporting the recovery of the species will be established.”
White’s Seahorse is a small seahorse known to occur in estuaries from Lake Illawarra on the South Coast to Hervey Bay in Queensland.
Professor Williamson said in NSW the species occurred in nine estuaries between Forster and Wollongong and in the Tweed River.
“It utilises a wide range of habitat types including soft coral, sponges and seagrass,” she said.
“It is also known to use artificial habitats such as enclosed protective swimming nets and jetty pylons in Sydney Harbour.”
The listing of White’s Seahorse as a threatened species will have no impact on recreational or commercial fishers in NSW as this species is already listed as a protected species and cannot be taken without a permit.
Following the public exhibition and analysis of submissions, the FSC will prepare a final determination.
Copies of the proposed determination are available at the department’s head office, district fisheries offices, or on the DPI website https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/threatened-species/fsc/proposed-determinations
The proposed determination is on exhibition until Monday, November 26.
Written submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Fisheries Scientific Committee, c/- NSW DPI Fisheries, PO Box 5106. WOLLONGONG 2520.
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