Implementation of CITES Appendix II listing for seahorses in the context of export bans & suspensions


This study analyses implementation of the CITES Appendix II listing for seahorses in Asia. Our focus is on (i) six jurisdictions in Asia that have suspended seahorse exports and (ii) four jurisdictions that are key importers for dried seahorses. Our objective is to generate recommendations to assist Authorities in improved implementation of the Convention for dried seahorses. Net exporters of dried seahorses included India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Net importers of dried seahorses included China (Mainland China,  Hong Kong SAR,  Taiwan Province of China) and Singapore.

Most jurisdictions that historically exported large numbers of seahorses now report having suspended exports for this taxon, yet high levels of illegal dried trade clearly persist. There is an urgent need to raise awareness of and address such smuggling. This study, focused in Asia, documents trade bans/suspensions for seahorses, investigates how such controls are being implemented and/or enforced, and explores the roles of government agencies in implementation and/or enforcement. The study highlights strengths and challenges jurisdictions face in meeting their obligations to seahorses, with an aim of generating recommendations for improved implementation of the Convention.

A synthesis summarising the findings of the eight individual reports, highlighting common challenges and opportunities, and making overarching recommendations in support of CITES implementation for dried seahorses, has been submitted by the CITES Secretariat to the CITES Standing Committee (SC74 Doc 70.1).

This study complements our report on how CITES has affected the international trade in live seahorses, available as Foster et al (2021).

Foster, S.J. (ed) (2023). Implementation of CITES Appendix II listing for seahorses in the context of export bans and suspensions. Fisheries Centre Research Report 31(3), 306pp.