Urge governments to enforce ban on seahorses trade and sale

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With this petition Friend of the Sea urges governments to enforce the ban in the trade of seahorses and implement ban on the sale of seahorses. We will send your signatures to the governments and sellers of the countries involved in harvesting, trade and sale of seahorses. We will then report here about feedbacks and achievements. Thank you very much for signing the petition!

The problem:

Seahorses continue to be traded in large volumes, despite many source countries imposing bans on exports of the animals.

The high demand for seahorses as ingredients in traditional medicines, for display in aquariums, and as curios mean that the number of animals caught and traded each year around the world far exceeds sustainable levels. Of the 42 seahorse species on the IUCN Red List, 14 are classed as 'Vulnerable' or worse.

The great majority of seahorses are obtained as bycatch in bottom trawls and other non-selective fishing methods. Such indiscriminate fishing obtains at least 37 million seahorses each year, a vast number that can easily enter the trade. It is vital that such fisheries be constrained, even as trade is regulated.

All known species of seahorses (Hippocampus spp.), however, are subject to trade restrictions. In 2002, these tiny animals were added to Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which means only those seahorses that are sourced sustainably and legally can be exported. However, instead of regulating the trade, many countries that previously exported seahorses, such as India, the Philippines and Indonesia, banned the exports outright. Even Thailand, once the world’s largest exporter of dried seahorses, imposed a ban starting in January 2016.

What we have now is a situation where the seahorse trade seems to be continuing ‘business as usual’ but is not legal, not managed and not monitored — all three of which are required under CITES provisions. (University of British Columbia review)

The seahorse trade can be managed in ways that don’t slash wild populations. Countries that have banned the seahorse trade must figure out ways to effectively enforce their bans!

Why should we protect the Seahorses?

"Seahorses must be protected for biological, ecological, and economic reasons. Their extraordinary life history — only the male becomes pregnant and some species are seasonally monogamous — provides us with an unusual opportunity to expand our understanding of reproductive ecology. They are important predators on bottom-dwelling organisms; removing them may disrupt coastal ecosystems. They are also an important source of income and food security for subsistence fishers in many parts of the world. Protections for seahorses benefit many other marine species and ecosystems". (ProtectSeahorses).

With this petition Friend of the Sea urges governments to enforce the ban in the trade of seahorses and implement a ban on sale of seahorses as well as develop sustainable fisheries practise.

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