Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Pregnant males at risk: Conservation and management of seahorses

Amanda Vincent, Ph.D.
McGill University

Monday, March 4, 2002
10:00 a.m.–Pacific Forum

The image is of a pair of Hippocamus guttulatus, taken in southern Portugal.
Photo taken by Jose Antonio Rodriguez ©t 2001

Seahorses are among the growing number of species being caught for non-food purposes. They are heavily exploited for traditional medicines, tonic foods, aquarium fishes, and curiosities. The biology of seahorses makes them susceptible to overfishing because they have low fecundity and obligatory parental care. Also, most species exhibit mate fidelity and small home ranges. Documenting the trade in these fishes led to the realization that they were indeed being overexploited, with substantial population declines. A new series of conservation initiatives was launched in response, including biological and socioeconomic research, community-based coastal resource management projects, collaboration with traditional medicine traders and users, and policy development. Together these offer a reasonable hope of reversing seahorse population declines. The economic and ecological impact of non-food fisheries on other species also needs careful consideration. Amanda Vincent also will speak Tuesday, March 5 at 11 a.m. in the auditorium at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The program is free with aquarium admission.

Next: The Lost City field: A new class of submarine hydrothermal system