Yet more pioneering work on wildlife trade

Hippocampus kuda (spotted seahorse) is one of the most commonly traded seahorses. This juvenile was photographed in Indonesia by Marleen Baas / Guylian Seahorses of the World

As persistent pioneers on export regulations for marine fishes, Project Seahorse will again be active and influential at November’s global meeting of the 183 countries that are members of CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). We have long served as the technical advisors to CITES on all things seahorse-y and are also leading initiatives for CITES on marine fishes in general. This meeting in Panama City runs from 14-25 November 2022, picking up from the last such global gathering in 2019.

On the seahorse front, both as Project Seahorse and as host of the IUCN SSC Seahorse Pipefish and Seadragon Specialist Group (SPS SG), we are urging renewed action by Parties, extending agreed CITES ventures that were constrained by COVID-19. In addition, we have crafted a new agenda for action, with the pragmatic title of “Next steps towards the successful implementation of the Appendix-II listing for seahorses”. This plan draws on two of our recent studies, that reveal the need for far more effort to ensure the vast trade in dried seahorses becomes both legal and sustainable. Our agenda also lays out more concrete steps to implement CITES listings of marine species successfully. The USA is leading a suite of nine countries from around the world – including the Maldives, Monaco, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Togo, and the UK – in advocating that CITES adopt the decisions laid out in the document.

As well as mobilizing support for the proposed action on seahorses, our director, Amanda Vincent and our Program Leader, Sarah Foster, will be hosting two events for CITES Parties. On 18 November, we will share lessons from our recent notable collaborative assessment on implementing CITES listings of marine fishes, with its novel critical framework for analysis. On 21 November, we will welcome Parties to learn more about the agenda for action on the seahorses, one day before they vote on it. We are excited to explain our ideas and foster more commitment to seahorse conservation.

Come join us if you are attending CITES CoP19!