The role of globalization in creating and addressing seahorse conservation problems

For economic, ecological, and social reasons, it is important to explore how globalization might be changing conservation and management of fisheries. In international arenas, little attention has been given to the exploitation of species for non-food purposes ranging from medicines to bioremediation to souvenirs. Such fisheries range from very small-scale catches for personal use (e.g., bait: McPhee and Skilleter 2002) to the cumulatively large and valuable (e.g., traditional medicine: Vincent 1996), with catches commonly traded internationally. These fisheries often extract species that are little studied. Unmonitored extraction makes it difficult to deduce the economic, social, or cultural consequences of fishing.

In general, fishery resources are being exploited at a rate that clearly endangers sustained access to market and non-market values that people attribute to them. Overfishing has reduced the biomass of many of the world’s major marine living resources to only a small fraction of their former levels (e.g., Jackson et al. 2001; Pauly et al. 2002; Myers and Worm 2003). As a result, many marine fish species are now considered threatened (IUCN 2003), with most such analyses dating from 1996. In 2002, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) decided that exports of some marine fishes of commercial importance should be brought under management for the first time (CITES 2004). In addition to numerical declines, the compositions of fish communities (Pauly et al. 1998) and whole ecosystems (Jackson et al. 2001) have changed dramatically through overexploitation.


Vincent, A.C.J., Marsden, A.D. & U.R. Sumaila (2007). Possible contributions of globalization in creating and addressing sea horse conservation problems In: W.W. Taylor, M.G. Schetcher, and L.G. Wolfson (eds) Globalization: Effects on Fisheries Resources. Cambridge University Press. pp. 184-214.