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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 July 2018

Seahorses born in project that will create artificial reefs off Dubai coast

The 500 spotted seahorses will be housed in aquariums on The Heart of Europe on The World archipelago before they are released into the sea 

One of the hundreds of seahorses born in The Heart of Europe project in Dubai. Courtesy The Kleindienst Group
One of the hundreds of seahorses born in The Heart of Europe project in Dubai. Courtesy The Kleindienst Group

Hundreds of seahorses have been born under the first phase of a project to create marine systems around artificial reefs off the coast of Dubai.

Around 500 spotted seahorses, which currently measure 5 millimetres, but will be 10-15 centimetres fully grown, will initially be housed in aquariums on The Heart of Europe — a six-island, Dh7 billion development which will be part of The World archipelago.

A property developer, The Kleindienst Group, plans to eventually release "sustainable numbers” in the seas surrounding the Heart of Europe islands, it said.

“The spotted seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) is rated as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, due to declining populations from exploitation and habitat degradation,” said marine biologist, Dr Adrian Evans, who is in charge of Kleindienst Marine Life Science Centre, which is working on transforming the aquatic seascape at The Heart of Europe.

The seahorses will be released in the seas surrounding The Heart of Europe islands. Courtesy The Kleindienst Group
The seahorses will be released in the seas surrounding The Heart of Europe islands. Courtesy The Kleindienst Group

“The species faces a high risk of extinction in the wild without conservation efforts, so we are hopeful that our work will help towards establishing healthy populations of seahorses on our reefs around The Heart Of Europe,” said Dr Evans.

The Heart of Europe project aims to include the world’s first underwater resort when complete.

Modelled on Venice in Italy, the Floating Venice resort will include 12 hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities split over four decks, one of which will be underwater. In April, the developer said it would start construction in the first quarter of 2018, but Mr Kleindienst told The National the company was awaiting planning approval from the Dubai Government.

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