Project Seahorse: 10 years on from ZSL - London Zoo
Ten years of an important marine conservation programme designed to protect the marine environment, seahorses and the livlihoods of people
Project Seahorse has a vision of a world in which marine ecosystems are healthy and well managed.
We engage in connected research and management that ranges from community initiatives to international agreements. Collaborating with stakeholders and partners, we use seahorses to focus our efforts in finding marine conservation solutions.
Seahorses are charismatic, fascinating and engaging fishes. Their reproductive strategy – including pair bonding and male pregnancy – is extraordinary in the animal kingdom. Seahorses are found in the world’s most vulnerable marine habitats and are representative of global threats to marine life. Seahorses are used for traditional medicine, aquarium fishes, souvenirs and curiosities.
Project Seahorse discovered an annual international trade of 20 million seahorses traded
by 30 countries in 1996 and conducted further trade work that showed 20 species traded in nearly 80 countries by 2002. In 2004, we mentored the CITES Appendix II listing of all seahorse species. This was the first such decision for marine fishes of commercial importance and a breakthrough in global fisheries regulations.
Project Seahorse works with poor fishing communities in the Philippines, and has established 30 community-managed no-take marine protected areas. We have helped organize communities to engage in marine conservation, including a fishers’ alliance with over 1000 members. We collaborate with the Hong Kong traditional Chinese medicine community, who have adopted policies and tools that help secure seahorse populations.
Through co-ordinated efforts of zoos and aquariums we have improved the husbandry and management of seahorses and communicate seahorse conservation messages to about 10 million people annually.
Developed by: ZSL - London Zoo