Cute little seahorses.
The sea dragon.
Inside Seahorse World.
Meet the tiny sea creatures in high demand for the wrong reason.
Fifteen of the world's 35 seahorse species are found in Australia. They are not exactly endangered but are threatened by netting, fishing and an Asian market wanting them for medicinal and aphrodisiac purposes. The seahorse, which is really a fish, is popular in other parts of the world as an aquarium feature.
Seahorse Australia, in Tasmania's Tamar Valley, started in 1998 for research and study, focusing mainly on the large-bellied seahorse or hippocampus abdominalis. Other countries have tried breeding seahorses, but none as successfully as Professor Nigel Forteath and his team. The 600 they started with has become 300,000.
As a result of the success of Professor Forteath's work, Seahorse World opened in 2000 on an unused wharf at Beauty Point. Two of their guides have degrees in aquaculture and they take you through the attraction's seven sections.
The Cave of Seahorses has several lit tanks holding weedy sea dragons, pygmy seahorses, and one tank shows them as they are in the wild. The weedy sea dragon lays her eggs and attaches them under the male's tail. He then carries them around for the month before they hatch.
The seahorse working farm has tanks containing about 4000 seahorses. One holds the brood stock, another is a nursery tank and a third has seahorses ranging from six to 12 weeks.
The endangered species room is home to several varieties of galaxias, pygmy perch and black fish. You could also come across rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, flounder or blue-ringed octopus.
In the theatrette you can view a film on the leafy sea dragon, another species of the seahorse.
At the end of your tour is the restaurant and wine centre where you can taste the wines of small local vineyards that don't have cellar door sales.
While in this pretty part of Australia there are many interesting attractions to visit: wineries, a lavender farm, Woolmer's Estate, Scottsdale, George Town, a gold museum, or you can watch penguins at night or pick strawberries.
Beauty Point, 45 minutes north of Launceston.
tours cost $15 for adults and $8 for children. Family passes are $35 (two adults plus children). It is open every day, including public holidays.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
More informationSeahorse World
Shed1a, Inspection Head Wharf
Beauty Point, 7270
Ph: (03) 6383 4111
Fax: (03) 6383 4888
Website: www.seahorseworld.com.au Best Western
Phone: 13 1779www.bestwestern.com.au
Seahorse World is a wheelchair friendly environment.