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Wakefield Wines Is Making a Difference This World Ocean Day By Preserving and Restoring Seahorse Habitats Through Their ‘Purpose Campaign’

In honour of World Ocean Day on June 8th, Wakefield Wines has created the ‘Purpose Campaign,’ which is a charitable effort for oceanic conservation. For this initiative, Wakefield Wines has partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) to develop a program that aims to preserve seahorse habitats. 

World Ocean Day is an international day of recognition in support of Sustainable Development Goals and promoting public interest around the management and conservation of the world’s oceans and its resources. Wakefield Wines is bringing awareness to this day in order to remind us about the importance of taking care of our oceans and marine ecosystems.

Photo Courtesy of SeaBnB website

Seahorses are an indicator species, meaning the health of their population is a reflection of the oceans’ wellbeing. The Sydney Seahorse, also known as the White’s Seahorse, is the only endangered seahorse species in Australia, and the second most endangered seahorse worldwide. 

The native home of this sea creature is the seagrass Posidonia australis, which is a slow-growing and highly productive type of seagrass found in Australia’s Southern waters. The seagrass Posidonia australis in Sydney Harbour is being eliminated by human activities at an alarming rate, and as a result, has also become endangered. Unless drastic measures are taken, this seagrass is predicted to go extinct within the near future. Not only will this affect the seahorses, but seagrass Posidonia australis also plays a vital role in fighting climate change as it can store carbon 30 to 40 times quicker than terrestrial forests.

According to Dr. David Harasti, the Senior Marine Scientist with DPI Fisheries, seahorses “are not the travelling type, they like to find a happy place, fall in love and give birth. So, when their habitat is lost, they’re lost too.”

Photo Courtesy of SeaBnB website

The funds raised for this campaign will go towards the three stages of SIMS research and restoration initiatives. The first stage has two parts and is centralized around understanding how Sydney Seahorses find their “happy place.” By locating and tagging seahorses, as well as creating ‘Seahorse Hotels’ in areas where seahorses used to thrive in their natural habitats, SIMS can determine how seahorses respond to artificial habitats, and how this affects their recruitment and breeding processes. These ‘Hotels’ look like commercial fish and lobster traps, which seahorses rely on for protection when their natural habitats are destroyed. While underwater, the ‘Hotels’ become covered in natural marine growth, making them very enticing for seahorses. Over time, the ‘Hotels’ break down and generate a new marine ecosystem. 

The second part of this stage is the “Trial Restoration of Posidonia Beds in Sydney Harbour.” SIMS will produce underwater surveys to make detailed maps of seagrass meadows that will indicate the practicality of improving Posidonia australis. This will detect potential donor sources for restoration efforts and will permit the initiation of a restoration trial to monitor seagrass survival for more than 6 months.  

Photo Courtesy of SeaBnB website

The second stage aims to prevent the extinction of Posidonia in Sydney Harbor through the restoration of seagrass meadows. Therefore, Posidonia that has been detached as a result of storms activity or sustainable collection, will be replanted in the Sydney Harbour. 

The third and final stage is rehabilitation through raising baby seahorses and introducing them to the ‘Seahorse Hotels.’ This initiative includes rearing the babies of pregnant males, tagging them, and then later introducing them to restored Posidonia seagrass habitats.

Photo Courtesy of Taub Family Selections

As you can tell from the Wakefield Wines logo, the symbol of the seahorse is very significant, therefore making this an even more meaningful cause for them. Why a seahorse you may ask? Well, when Wakefield Wines dug their first vineyard dam, they discovered fossilised seahorses. The owners and the winery as a whole felt that this finding signified a promise of the land and spoke to how fertile the soils were for their grapes. Today, the symbol of the seahorse is proudly displayed on the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon Promised Land wines, in order to indicate the quality of their wine. 

To provide safe homes and restore habitats for the seahorses in Sydney Harbor, Wakefield Wines needs your help. Donate today to support seahorse research and restoration initiatives at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science! 

In celebration of this special day, we encourage you to enjoy the perfectly delicious 2019 Promised Land Shiraz and 2019 Promised Land Cabernet Sauvignon. The Shiraz has a soft and fleshy texture and is full of juicy red fruits, plum, spice and chocolate. While the Cabernet Sauvignon is balanced and medium-bodied, with flavours of juicy blackcurrant, coffee, and oak. It has a silky mouthfeel and a great finish.

To learn more about their wines or the ‘Purpose Campaign,’ please visit Wakefield Wines on Instagram.

Alyssa Shull