Options for Action
Key actions you can take to save seahorses.
We also encourage you to take action to support establishing protected areas, limiting fisheries, 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
We are ready to embark on new field studies to discover core knowledge about the biology and ecology of seahorse species – most have never been studied – that will affect survival of their populations. We also need funding to apply our new findings to national and global conservation assessments.
We are set to build capacity for rapid responses to imminent threats to seahorses. As the hosts of the IUCN SSC Seahorse, Pipefish and Seadragon Specialist Group, we seek funds to marshal this global expertise for co-ordinated conservation:
We need to take our iSeahorse partnership with iNaturalist to a new level, marshalling more people to contribute their knowledge. We are then poised to convert that knowledge into local and global action for MPAs, trawl exclusion and trade controls.
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.
Too often, fishes are accorded less respect than mammals, birds and even reptiles and amphibians. There is real need to offer stewardship, protection and funding to marine fishes on a par with other animals.
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
Expand conservation discussions (and journals!) to embrace ocean wildlife and include marine fishes and invertebrates. Give fisheries the same attention as forestry and farming. Refuse to allow marine species to be treated solely as economic commodities.
Contribute your seahorse sightings in the water to iSeahorse.org, a partner of iNaturalist. The many thousands of sightings so far have greatly expanded our understanding of species occurrences and distributions. We also really welcome offers to conduct repeat monitoring of wild populations of seahorses, following our easy-to-use protocols.
All seahorse species desperately need more research. We can’t even assess the conservation status of more than one-third of seahorse species. We need to know much more about many population parameters, relationships with other species, dependencies on habitat quality, resilience to fishing and so many other aspects of their life history and ecology. You can help, as a trends monitor for iSeahorse or as a professional scientist.
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?
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. Donations result in tax receipts.
[Updated 10 June 2021]
[Updated 15 May 2023]