Seahorses are loved by everyone, so it is almost unbelievable that so little study and research has been dedicated to these creatures. Their habitat in fact coincides with the places where people often swim, and if you know where to look, you can spot them while snorkeling near the beach.
Research conducted so far:
There is actually no real data about them in Croatia. Naturally, the species and their distribution are known, but their population density and responses to change are still unknown to us. Research conducted by scientific institutions is rather expensive. On the other hand, civic associations collaborating with divers and diving centers can achieve outstanding results without large investments.
Potential in environmental protection:
Because of the unique appearance and beauty of seahorses, their greatest value is that they can be used to raise public awareness. By protecting their habitats, we actually protect all other species that share their living space.
Potential in tourism:
In fact, few people know that they can only be seen with a diving mask (while snorkeling). They frequent crowded beaches, so everyone can see them. We know from practice that on a discovery dive (first dive for non-divers), people are delighted when they spot a seahorse.
Diving centers are entities that actually earn little compared to other tourism stakeholders. However, their value lies in the fact that guests come to Croatia to see seahorses, and while here they have to eat, sleep somewhere, and use transportation. By using new action cameras in daily dives, you can constantly record the presence of seahorses in an area.
Underwater cleaning campaigns in Croatia have become common, but they are not having a tangible impact. The amount of extracted waste in new campaigns is not decreasing. That points to a situation in which waste is continuing to pile up. In some places, clear shifts are visible, and they are always the result of communication with local populations to raise their awareness. However, the best results are long-term, so work with young people is vital. Seahorses mesh quite well with younger generations, so by influencing them we are also influencing the world of adults.