A BRITISH metal detecting club is aiding a local environmental group to save endangered seahorses on the Costa Blanca.
Two teams from the Asociacion de Anglo Parlantes (ADAPT) spend every Monday, Wednesday and Friday scouring the beaches of the Mar Menor saltwater lagoon, near Cartagena.
The hobbyists collect lead weights discarded by fishermen, which have a toxic effect upon endangered seahorses.
“It’s a far cry from the dammers that think all metal detectorists are looters and up to no good,” club leader Rod Toms told the Olive Press.
“For the responsible detectorist this what we really do – we are not bad people.”
The club has collected nearly 50kg of lead since July 2018, which they donate to the local Asociacion Hippocampus.
This Spanish conservation organisation then melts the toxic metal and resells it to fund seahorse breeding development.
“ADAPT’s help is extremely valuable to creating a circular economy,” president of Asociacion Hippocampus, Cristina Mena, told the Olive Press.
She said with the help of SCUBA diving schools, her association has cleaned up 500kg of lead from the Mar Menor.
The ecologically important site had all its blue flags stripped in 2017 due to rampant pollution.
She said that acidification due to lead – and other contaminants – significantly affected the seahorse’s reproductive cycle.
“The metal detectors play a hugely beneficial role in helping us save the seahorses,” Mena added.