Pygmy Seahorses Code of Conduct for Diving & Photographing

By: | Date: 07/05/2011 | No Comments |
Pygmy Seahorse

H. Bargibanti photo by Adrien Uichico

Pygmy Seahorse expert Dr. Richard Smith just released a great guideline for divers and photographing pygmy seahorses. Pygmy seahorses, the inch and under relative of the seahorses most people are used to, are beloved by divers around the world, and frequently over-loved and even harassed by divers looking for these diminutive treasures.

The code of conduct states:
“Do not touch or manipulate pygmy seahorses in any way, as this can easily damage or even kill them.

Do not touch the gorgonian home of the seahorse (they are extremely slow growing and delicate), take particular care of camera position and exhalent bubbles.

Do not use a torch/flashlight or camera focus light to highlight a pygmy seahorse, this disorientates and stresses them.

Five photo limit per diver using flash photography, as more can stress the animal.

Use white balanced natural light rather than artificial light for video capture to reduce disturbance from bright lights.

No night diving with pygmy seahorses – they sleep at night and lights disturb them.

Be aware of the surrounding environment, pay close attention to fin positioning, so not to damage other corals.”

View the entire guideline [pdf]

His code of conduct outlines what should be common sense for divers wishing to preserve these tiny fishes, but sadly many divers don’t take care not to disturb them. Youtube has many unfortunate examples:

Hopefully now that there is a clear guideline available, it will raise awareness and divers will be more careful around these itty bitty seahorses and enjoy them without causing them undue stress.

Read more about pygmy seahorses.

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