Successes

Our successes are wide ranging and influential, anchored in evidence and driven by determination to effect change.

We offer an indicative sample below.

  • First biologist to study seahorses underwater, in 1986.
  • Published several hundred research papers, reports, policy briefings and more about seahorses or conservation measures affecting seahorses.
  • Produced a definitive review of seahorse biology, much of it derived from field and lab work by Project Seahorse.
  • Active field projects in 42 countries.
  • Produced the first seahorse taxonomy (1999) and a revised taxonomy (2016), along with practical taxonomic guides for Customs officers, divers and others.
  • Completed the first IUCN Red List assessments of seahorses in 1996 at the first IUCN Red Listing workshop for marine fishes.
  • Completed IUCN Red List assessments of all seahorses, pipefishes and seadragons (323 species).
  • Launched network of aquarium professionals with interests in seahorses and pipefishes.
  • Founded (and host) the IUCN SSC Seahorse, Pipefish and Seadragon Specialist Group (2012).
  • Launched iSeahorse, a community science initiative that documents sightings and supports sentinel monitoring of wild populations around the world.
  • Underpinned exhibits on seahorse biology and conservation in at least 12 major public aquaria reaching more than 10 million visitors per annum.

  • Catalysed the establishment of 35 marine reserves (no-take zones) with marginalised fishing communities of the central Philippines.
  • Prompted and supported community creation of a reserve in Bohol that was named the best MPA in the Philippines.
  • Developed community MPA management teams and monitoring capacity in communities with MPAs.
  • Tracked fish and habitat recovery in nine MPA & five control sites in the central Philippines, revealing significant recovery in marine life diversity and abundance.
  • Persuaded Guangxi province, China to add seahorse habitats to its provincial marine spatial planning.

  • Led consultations with diverse stakeholders that settled on the need for minimum size limits and no-take marine protected areas, both of which we have now fostered.
  • Initiated the creation of KAMADA, an alliance of nearly 1000 subsistence fishers across 21 communities in central Philippines.
  • Sponsored scholarships for children of seahorse fishers in the central Philippines so they could finish high school, while also participating in our marine conservation projects.
  • Motivated Australia to regulate the extraction of syngnathid fishes in 1998, the first time any marine fish had been brought under the Wildlife Protection Act (later the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act).
  • Helped motivate New South Wales, Australia to protect all native species of syngnathids in 2004, under NSW state legislation, with collection only permissible by permit.
  • Identified socioeconomic drivers of ongoing illegal extraction of seahorses – by bottom trawlers and draggers – in southern India.

  • Undertook the first field investigations in Asia to identify and quantify fisheries and trade in seahorses (1993-94).
  • Extended our trade surveys across Asia (1999-2000), thus providing the basis for global action.
  • Updated analyses of seahorses trade repeatedly, synthesizing our ongoing field work plus the data we can extract elsewhere.
  • Motivated the European Union to initiate monitoring of imports of seahorses and pipefishes in 1997.
  • Motivated Hong Kong to initiate monitoring of trade in seahorses and pipefishes in 1998.
  • Induced the Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Merchants Association to implement a voluntary code of conduct to improve sustainability of their seahorse imports.
  • Provided the technical input on ecology, taxonomy, fisheries, trade and potential management measures that led global export regulations for seahorses, the first ever for marine fishes, under the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
  • Provided CITES with pragmatic measures and an evaluation framework for 182 countries to help meet their obligations under CITES.
  • As requested by CITES Secretariat, advised the governments of Thailand and Vietnam on improving implementation of the Convention for seahorses (2012 to present).
  • Triggered the CITES decisions to suspend exports of Hippocampus kuda from Viet Nam and H. algiricus from Senegal and Guinea.
  • Provided the impetus for Thailand’s decision (announced in Sept 2016) to suspend all exports of seahorses until it can better regulate export under CITES.
  • Catalysed and led CITES action to investigate illegal trade in seahorses.

Read about our more than
two decades of achievements.

Bargibant’s seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti), Lembeh Strait, Indonesia. Photo by Michael Gallagher / Guylian Seahorses of the World