Fishers in Tamil Nadu, India. Photo by Tanvi Vaidyanathan / Project Seahorse

Options for Action

Key actions you can take to help limit fisheries.

We also encourage you to take action to support saving seahorses, establishing protected areas, and regulating trade. A full list of ways you can help save seahorses and save the seas can be found here.

Partner with Project Seahorse

Our highest priority is to draw together diverse sectors into a compelling alliance to phase out these most destructive of fishing gears. We have a well-developed program of action, involving new fact finding, significant outreach to the public and decision-makers, and diverse policy change.

Drive societal change

Project Seahorse is actively engaged in many of these issues (marked *), and would be delighted to discuss how your contributions could help us effect change.

Bottom trawling is non-selective and destructive and has evolved into annihilation fishing in many regions. Such fisheries must increasingly be excluded from large areas of the ocean and soon brought to an end.

Control illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, starting with bottom trawling. Bottom trawling is illegal in many inshore areas yet often continues with impunity, including within MPAs. Even where it operates legally, it is often poorly monitored (unreported) and/or poorly managed (unregulated). Such harm needs to stop, as must all other fishing practices that operate illicitly and untrammeled.

The World Trade Organization is discussing a global ban on subsidies that enhance capacity for fisheries. Such a move would definitely help end egregious fishing practices while also freeing up public resources for other uses.

Fishes are often treated solely as economic commodities. Yet the trade in marine wildlife is depleting populations and must be regulated at sustainable levels. In addition, initiatives to control illegal wildlife trade, on national and global scales, must embrace marine species in their efforts.

It seems self-evident that, if laws and regulations are decided, they must also be respected. Failure to implement makes a mockery of the legislation or restriction, and undermines the agency that created it. Ideally people comply with laws but enforcement is usually also necessary.

Agreements among nations offer vital opportunities to advance conservation for our global ocean. We urge action on national commitments including on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, environmental Conventions (e.g. CITES, Convention on Biological Diversity) and regional fisheries accords. IUCN Resolutions and Recommendations are often pioneering and need full engagement from all 1450 member organizations.

Take individual steps

Most people will stop and listen if you recount a true story about giant helicopters repeatedly using giant weighted nets to strip a mountainside, levelling off all vegetation and removing every bird, butterfly, bear and bush. Now explain that this happens every day all over the world, using hundreds of thousands of underwater helicopters called bottom trawlers. Let’s turn up the heat on this issue.

Do the ocean a favour… remember the destructive force of bottom trawling and refuse to eat seafood obtained that way. As well, reject farmed shrimp or fish raised on food caught in bottom trawls. If we ask our vendor or server often enough, they will have to find out about the seafood they are selling. As well as avoiding bottom trawling, you can find more information on good choices from seafood choice cards in a number of countries. Use your purchasing power to effect change.

Ask all elected officials and all candidates for office (coastal and inland) about their ocean platform and policy. If they don’t have one, then asking will provoke them to think about it. If they do have one, consider voting for them!

Communicate with elected officials on issues that matter to you.  Contact government agencies and resource management bodies about issues that concern you. Request action, monitor their responses and hold them accountable.  Praise and publicise effective engagement.

Build an army of ocean warriors by exciting and engaging people with the marvels of marine life and the magic of marine communities. Learn and share in as many ways as possible.

As journalists, influencers, journal editors, teachers… ask yourself if you are treating marine conservation fairly. Remember that the ocean provides 99% of the living space on Earth.
How much time are you allocating to marine news and issues?

Follow Project Seahorse and our team members on social media and help expand the number of people we reach with our work and our ideas. You can find us on Bluesky, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Mastodon, and X.

As well…. please donate to Project Seahorse if you can. We already punch way above our weight and have wonderful ideas of what to do next, with great partners. We just need a few more people to help move things along, and project funds to get things done. We hugely value funding and other resources, including donations in kind. Tax receipts will be issued for eligible donations.

[Updated 10 May 2024]

[Updated 15 June 2021]