General Election Q&A with Stevie the Seahorse

3 minute read

Much of the ocean’s remarkable, and vital, marine life has been overlooked in the lead-up to the general election, but we’re determined to change this. We speak to Stevie the seahorse on their views on the upcoming election and the impact it will have on them and their home.

Full name: Stevie Ashley Seahorse

Describe yourself in three words: Small, clingy, ovoviviparous. Yeah, that’s right, it’s not just humans that know fancy words.

Seahorse blog - Describe yourself in three words

Favourite food: I love small shrimp; they're so moreish. I eat around 30 a day. Okay, sometimes 50. What? Swimming is hungry work. I like plankton too.

Ideal place to live: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I do like shallow muddy waters, but if I’m really dreaming big here, I’d love to live in a seagrass meadow one day. They’re great for families: plenty of (carbon) storage, amazing nursery facilities, and such diverse neighbourhoods! You meet all sorts: fish, worms, starfish, jellyfish, and of course, other seahorses. A fish needs some eye candy, you know?

But with 92% of UK seagrass meadows lost already, it’s fast becoming a case of the grass being leaner on the other side of the fence. Ideally, the next government will work to revive what seagrass meadows we do have, so us marine animals can live there – and you humans can reap the benefits of them, too.

Seahorse blog ideal place to live

What will you be doing throughout the election campaign? Channel surfing. I want to know whether the candidates recognise the value of the ocean. Will they protect ocean species and habitats? Will they address sewage pollution? Will they invest in the sea? These are issues I experience first-hand (well, first-fin) and I want to see who’s looking out for me and my family. Who’s going to protect those dreamy seagrass meadows so I can finally get my fins on a pad there?

I'll also be keeping a keen eye on the Euros to see which team makes the biggest splash. I may be small, but I've got a whale-sized enthusiasm for football!

Do you think UK politicians are aware of the challenges you face? I mean, they must know, surely. Have you seen the news articles about sewage? Habitat destruction? Pollution? Every day there are stories about the parlous state of our seas.

So why the long face? Because we’re riding into the sunset if politicians don’t restore the ocean’s health. The ocean cannot indefinitely combat climate change, contribute vast amounts of cash to your economy, or supply much of the world’s oxygen if it’s not healthy or looked after properly.

Sewage, forever chemicals or plastic – which is the worst? Ooh, another toughy. I mean, they’re all equally bad, really. But, I’d have to say untreated sewage – no one wants to be living in that. Swimming in nasty pathogens, human waste and epiphytic algae? No thanks.

Seahorse blog sewage issues

It's another threat to those already declining seagrass meadows too. All that excess algae and reduced lighting does not bode well for the plants or creatures living there. And how can I get good selfies without good lighting and algae everywhere? Impossible. Clean water underpins everything – including my photo backdrops.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? I’m a big fan of gratitude, especially what the ocean does for me – for us all. Even though it’s being poisoned, polluted and put under serious strain, it continues to protect us all and provide essential benefits.

The ocean has long been ignored, as are all the vital services it provides. All of us need to realise that we’re nothing without the ocean, so let’s give it the respect and appreciation it deserves.

Message to politicians: Don’t forget the ocean. You benefit every day from what it gives you, every time you breathe.

It does plenty of other beneficial things too, such as storing carbon, providing livelihoods, food, and contributing to the economy. Jobs, tourism, food, coastal protection, offshore wind. That all depends on our ocean being healthy, being protected and being conserved.

What are your ocean priorities? Three things;

1 Invest in the ocean, our future depends on on it. Scale up investment and you can reap rewards from the services it provides.

2) Turn the tide on pollution: sewage, chemicals, plastic, they all harm our environment – your environment.

3) Revive marine life: protect species and habitats which play a crucial role in helping to fight climate change. Recognise our worth: I’m just a seahorse, but I matter, too. I have a home, a family, dreams. I deserve a future. So do our seas. #RestoreOurSeas

Favourite film: Secretariat – I like seeing what land horses get up to. Major hair envy.

Seahorse blog Favourite film

We're urging politicians to prioritise the ocean

Find out more about our Ocean Manifesto