A Dutch author had negotiated with Belgium's Peyo, the creator of the Smurfs, for the use of the little blue people on an album by another Dutch artist. That fell through, but out of this came a completely new race of beings who lived under the sea, and captured the imagination of American audiences just as the Smurfs did, but without the iconic status.
Snorks debuted on NBC in 1984 and spent 5 seasons total, including a stint on the syndicated Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera before settling into reruns on cable. As with the Smurfs, H-B had to acquire a license to produce this series, reruns of which air from time to time on Boomerang.
Here's the intro:
If I didn't know any better, I'd think SEPP, which holds the rights, might have risked facing litigation here in the US because due to the general design, aside from the tubes atop the Snorks' heads, they'd look like clones of Quaker Oats' Quisp, an alien created by animator Jay Ward in the 60's. Since no lawsuits were filed, I guess everything was fine after all.