It used to be the area with the world’s largest population of seahorses, but now, seahorses face the risk of extinction and therefore, protection measures have been put in place for this species. The creation of refuge areas in Faro and Olhão, where human activity has been restricted as much as possible, is one of the most important measures of the Seahorse Safeguard Plan. (Plano de Salvaguarda do Cavalo Marinho)
Other measures of the Seahorse Safeguard Plan consist of actions of environmental training, awareness-raising campaigns, and the restriction of poaching and illegal fishing.
Besides the seahorse, the sea cucumber and red coral have also become protected species under Legal Decree number 38/2021.
Several threats have placed the seahorse on the endangered species list, from illegal fishing for export to accidental fishing, poaching, climate changes as well as the destruction of their habitat. Both the H. guttulatus and H. hippocampus species live in the marine prairies of Ria Formosa, where they grab onto the macroalgae which are now slowly recovering from their decline.
Source: Sul Informação + CCMAR