The catch and export of the seahorse trade in the Philippines, pre-CITES

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Publication Type: Working Paper

Year of Publication: 2015

Authors: Pajaro, MG, Vincent ACJ

Journal: Fisheries Centre

Date Published: 2015

Keywords: Hippocampus, non-food fisheries, small-scale fisheries, syngnathid, wildlife trade


In 2004, global seahorse trade fell under the auspices of CITES, requiring all signatories to regulate international trade for sustainability, and in the Philippines resulted in a complete ban on seahorse extraction. Pre-CITES official data was scarce but preliminary surveys in 1995 suggested that the Philippines was an important seahorse supplier. To assesses the Philippines seahorse trade pre-CITES interviews of fishers and traders (n=145) were conducted between 1998 and 2001, and triangulated with the official trade data. The Philippines was confirmed as a major exporter of dried and live seahorses with consistent estimates of catch for the dried trade at ~10 000 kg year -1, but highly variable estimates of catch for the aquarium trade ranging from a mean of 145 000 – 1 000 000 seahorses year -1 depending on the data source. The survey data offers an important baseline for future studies on the effectiveness of CITES.