Campaign to Protect Rare Colony of Seahorses in Northern Greece (Video)

A new campaign has been initiated to keep fishing boats from a dedicated area to protect a rare colony of seahorses in the waters off the coast of Stratoni, Halkidiki, in northern Greece.

Scuba diver Vassilis Mentogiannis joined a dive team from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities back in 2007 when he first came into contact with the seahorses of Stratoni.

“We are talking about a very small region, I think just keeping the fishing boats away (from the seahorses habitat) is something we can accomplish,” said Mentogiannis.

The diver is very familiar with the colony of seahorses and in 2010, when a storm front hit the area and flooded the Argyro stream — home to many seahorses over the years –Mentogiannis was on the scene and saw the damage done to the colony firsthand.

As the stream flooded, thousands of cubic meters of sediment was dumped onto the seabed off Statoni, where the seahorses natural ecosystem was left covered in mud.

This prompted Mentogiannis to create an artificial habitat for the seahorses with a labyrinth of ropes, which was completed 2015.

“Unfortunately, the population declined quite significantly after that event,” Mentogiannis said. “So we decided to place wire mesh over the seabed and attached ropes and a few fake aquarium plants to it in order to simulate a natural underwater garden. The initial results were immediate and impressive as many seahorses have already settled in this experimental habitat.”

You can check out these amazing little creatures and the work being done to protect them and their natural habitat in this video: