Seahorse in bycatch from Mexican shrimp trawler. Photo by Sarah Foster / Project Seahorse
Threats to Seahorses
Seahorse numbers have declined primarily because of egregious non-selective fishing, as well as intense targeted fishing.
They are heavily traded but generally it is non-selective fishing – and not demand for seahorses per se – that drives depletion. Many populations, particularly those in estuaries, are also suffering from habitat loss and degradation (e.g. destruction, sedimentation, eutrophication, pollution) as well as invasive species and climate change. However, fisheries are definitely the biggest pressure on seahorses as a genus, as on other marine life.