May 22, 2014 3:38 pm

Divers draw praise for spotting rare seahorse off coast of Nova Scotia


ABOVE: A pair of citizen scientists found a rare species of seahorse while scuba diving off the coast of Nova Scotia, near St. Margaret’s Bay

HALIFAX – A marine biologist is praising two divers for filming a rarely seen seahorse and posting it on a website that collects information from so-called citizen scientists.

Nedia Coutinho and Martin Roy, owners of an underwater imaging company, spotted the lined seahorse in St. Margaret’s Bay near Halifax on Oct. 12 last year and uploaded it on April 1.

Amanda Vincent, the project co-ordinator of Project Seahorse, says the last sighting of a seahorse was 13 years earlier, also off Nova Scotia’s coast.

The professor of marine conservation at the University of British Columbia says the species is listed as being vulnerable to extinction due to fishing and damage to their habitat.

Vincent says having images and video uploaded to the website helps scientists track the location of the lion seahorse and make conservation recommendations.

The biologist says she hopes the sighting by the Halifax divers prompts other amateur naturalists to watch for the seahorses and to report their discoveries.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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