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Paul Kay

UK enforces licensing for photographing seahorses in Studland

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This topic has reared its (ugly or ridiculous?) head once again with an article by Neil Garrick-Maidment of the Seahorse Trust on page 122 of the November issue of Diver magazine in which he again suggests that flash photography is a problem for seahorses.

 

In it he comments about 'a very small group of divers' who 'tried to suggest that natural light is the same as flash, and that flash does not kill seahorses" which I suspect is a reference to myself amongst others and whilst badly worded, in that in my opinion it gives an incorrect impression of what actually happened, goes on to say 'They challenged MMO [the Marine Management Organisation which has banned the use of flash photography of seahorses in England] to prove that it does" which again is not quite the way I remember things - unless you consider that carefully worded emails to the MMO, which were basically designed to be informative, to be a 'challenge'. Interestingly a recent paper by Harasti & Gladstone in the Journal of Fish Biology entitled “Does underwater flash photography affect the behaviour movement and site persistence of seahorses” which looked at Hippocampus whitei, a not dis-similar Australian species, found ‘negligible effects’ (even following additional handling as well as flash photography) on the seahorses, and far from suggesting that flash photography should be banned, suggests that it is in fact a potentially useful tool for obtaining scientific data.

 

I wonder if the two are linked or simply co-incidental?

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