Hippocampus pontohi, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia. Photo by Tom Van Hout / Guylian Seahorses of the World

Solutions for Seahorses

Conservation initiatives to improve resilience of seahorse populations will benefit so much other marine life.

Seahorses will respond to at least five layers of solutions: (i) conservation designations specifically for these quirky fishes; (ii) improved habitats; (iii) protected areas that restrict damaging activities; (iv) regulation for non-selective and targeted fisheries; and (v) measures to constrain trade to sustainable levels.

Although some remedial measures need to be targeted at seahorses themselves, these fishes will also benefit from solutions that are of importance to a broad array of marine species. In promoting such solutions, seahorses will help advance marine conservation in general.

As well as taking measures that will help seahorses themselves, directly and indirectly, it is undoubtedly vital to address climate change. We don’t yet fully understand how climate change affects seahorses but it certainly alters food webs, leads to shifts in fish stocks and fishing, and affects the integrity of marine habitats. All measures that limit climate change will contribute to seahorse population persistence, particularly given their role as predators, their vulnerability to new fishing pressures, their tight habitat association and their sedentary nature.

[Updated 10 June 2021]

[Updated 23 March 2021]