The catch and trade of seahorses in Vietnam

Catch monitoring and surveys were used to assess the seahorse trade in Vietnam. Despite low daily catch rates, potentially 6.5 t of dried seahorses (∼2.2 million seahorses) were taken annually as bycatch by trawlers operating out of five coastal provinces of Vietnam. Individual seahorse catches were collated by a few local buyers, who supplied wholesalers in three major markets: Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong City and Da Nang.

Domestic consumption was small and most seahorses were exported, generally through unofficial and unregulated channels across the northern border into Guangxi province of China. Overall, the seahorse trade was of low economic value to Vietnam, but may constitute an important source of income to upper level buyers and exporters. Most fishers and buyers surveyed reported that seahorse catch had declined over time. This paper should help in meeting the new CITES requirements — through implementation of an Appendix II listing in 2004 — that all international trade in seahorses must be monitored and managed for sustainability.

Giles B.G., Ky T.S., Do Hoang, H. & A.C.J. Vincent (2006). The catch and trade of seahorses in Vietnam. In: Hawksworth D.L. & Bull A.T. (eds) Human Exploitation and Biodiversity Conservation. Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation, vol 3. Springer, Dordrecht.