On World Oceans Day, Taylors and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) announced they have achieved their first fundraising milestone with the deployment of a new batch of ‘SeaBnBs’ in Sydney Harbour.
The team from SIMS, Sea Life Aquarium and Taylors Wines were on site at Delwood Beach to deploy nine new ‘seahorse hotels’ in an area where the Sydney Seahorse’s native seagrass home has been destroyed. These temporary structures will act as an underwater home for the Sydney Seahorse to repopulate while SIMS researchers work to replenish the underwater seagrass that these beautiful creatures call home.
In addition to the nine hotels at Delwood Beach, nine new hotels have also been placed underwater at Little Manly Beach to provide vital housing for the next colony of baby Endangered White’s Seahorses, to be released from SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium in time for National Threatened Species Day on 7 September.
Taylors Wines are major supporters of the White’s Seahorse breeding and recovery project- a collaborative effort between SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries, Ocean Youth, the Gamay Rangers, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.
Third-generation winemaker and Managing Director Mitchell Taylor said, “For more than 50 years, seahorses have proudly featured on our wines as a symbol of quality and winemaking excellence. Seahorses, much like grape vines, are indicator species that raise the alarm on serious climate related issues.
“It’s important as an agricultural business that across both land and sea, we do what we can to see the planet flourish. SeaBnB is just one of many initiatives we’re a part of to see that happen.”
Of the deployment of nine hotels in both Delwood Beach and Little Manly, Laura Simmons, Curator at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, said, “We’re now in year two of a multi-year project that aims to recover and eventually de-list the currently Endangered White’s Seahorses. I’m extremely proud that this project, which provides habitat for seahorses, has maintained such strong momentum through its many vital stages.”
“Today marked another major milestone for the seahorse team as we tripled the number of Seahorse Hotels in Sydney Harbour. Successful Seahorse Hotel deployment is critical as the Posidonia seagrass and the Cauliflower soft coral that seahorses call home are also endangered. The Seahorse Hotels provide the perfect haven for these seahorses and their native habitats to flourish.”
Seahorse Hotels start as artificial habitats that grow into natural habitats once they are placed in the marine environment. Over time, the corals, sponges, algae, and encrusting animals that colonise these structures provide protection from predators and a ready supply of food, making them the perfect home for seahorses. Seahorse Hotels are designed to be completely biodegradable, so the artificial structures will slowly collapse over time under the weight of the marine growth, leaving a new natural habitat behind.
The fundraising initiative between Taylors Wines and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, the ‘SeaBnB’ campaign to save the Sydney Seahorse has gathered further momentum by combining the Seahorse Hotel or under water BnBs, with restoration of the seahorse’s native habitat, endangered Posidonia seagrass meadows.