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Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001) Vincent, Amanda C.J.; Giles, Brian G.; Czembor, Christina A.; Foster, Sarah J. 2011

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   ISSN 1198-6727  Fisheries Centre Research Reports   2011 Volume 19 Number 1   Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in  countries outside Asia  (1998-2001)       Fisheries Centre, The University of British Columbia, Canada   Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia  (1998-2001)1    Edited by  Amanda C.J. Vincent, Brian G. Giles, Christina A. Czembor and Sarah J. Foster                    Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(1) 181 pages © published 2011 by  The Fisheries Centre, The University of British Columbia  2202 Main Mall Vancouver, B.C., Canada, V6T 1Z4    ISSN 1198-6727                                                               1 Cite as: Vincent, A.C.J., Giles, B.G., Czembor, C.A., and Foster, S.J. (eds). 2011. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001). Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(1). Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia [ISSN 1198-6727].     Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(1) 2011   Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001)  edited by Amanda C.J. Vincent, Brian G. Giles, Christina A. Czembor and Sarah J. Foster CONTENTS DIRECTOR‘S FOREWORD ......................................................................................................................................... 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................................................................................................. 2 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................... 2 Methods ............................................................................................................................................................ 2 Results .............................................................................................................................................................. 3 CHAPTER 1. TRADE IN SEAHORSES AND OTHER SYNGNATHIDS IN AFRICA ................................................................. 7 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................................. 7 Background for Kenya and Tanzania .............................................................................................................. 7 The seahorse trade in Kenya .............................................................................................................................. 13 Seahorses catches in Kenya ........................................................................................................................... 13 Dried seahorse trade in Kenya ...................................................................................................................... 14 Live seahorse trade in Kenya ......................................................................................................................... 15 Other syngnathid species in Kenya ............................................................................................................... 16 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Kenya ................................................................................... 16 Conclusions for Kenya ................................................................................................................................... 17 The seahorse trade in Tanzania ......................................................................................................................... 17 Seahorse catches in Tanzania ........................................................................................................................ 17 Dried seahorse trade in Tanzania.................................................................................................................. 19 Live seahorse trade in Tanzania ................................................................................................................... 26 Economic importance of the seahorse fishery in Tanzania ........................................................................ 26 Other syngnathid species in Tanzania .......................................................................................................... 27 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Tanzania.............................................................................. 29 Conclusions for Tanzania ............................................................................................................................. 29 The seahorse trade in Mozambique .................................................................................................................. 30 Seahorse catches in Mozambique ................................................................................................................ 30 Dried seahorse trade in Mozambique .......................................................................................................... 30 Live seahorse trade in Mozambique ............................................................................................................. 31 Other syngnathid species in Mozambique .................................................................................................... 31 The seahorse trade in South Africa .................................................................................................................... 31 Background for South Africa ......................................................................................................................... 31 Dried seahorse trade in South Africa ........................................................................................................... 32 Live seahorse trade in South Africa ..............................................................................................................33 The seahorse trade in other African countries ................................................................................................. 34 Conclusions for the seahorse trade in Africa ............................................................................................... 36 References ...................................................................................................................................................... 37 CHAPTER 2. SEAHORSE TRADE IN THE USA AND CANADA .................................................................................... 39 Abstract .......................................................................................................................................................... 39    Background for the USA  and Canada .......................................................................................................... 39 Seahorse catches in the USA and Canada .................................................................................................... 45 Dried seahorse trade in the USA and Canada .............................................................................................. 47 Live seahorse trade in the USA and Canada................................................................................................. 50 Other syngnathid species in the USA and Canada ....................................................................................... 53 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in the USA and Canada ........................................................... 54 Conclusions .................................................................................................................................................... 54 References ...................................................................................................................................................... 55 CHAPTER 3. SEAHORSE TRADE IN MEXICO ............................................................................................................ 57 Abstract .......................................................................................................................................................... 57 Background for Mexico.................................................................................................................................. 57 Seahorse catches in Mexico ........................................................................................................................... 62 Dried seahorse trade in Mexico..................................................................................................................... 64 Live seahorse trade in Mexico .......................................................................................................................68 Other syngnathid species in Mexico ............................................................................................................. 73 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Mexico.................................................................................. 74 Comparison to 1996 survey findings ............................................................................................................ 76 Conclusions .................................................................................................................................................... 76 References ...................................................................................................................................................... 77 CHAPTER 4. SEAHORSE TRADE IN CENTRAL AMERICA ........................................................................................... 78 Abstract .......................................................................................................................................................... 78 Background for Central America .................................................................................................................. 78 The seahorse trade in Belize .............................................................................................................................. 83 Seahorse catches in Belize ............................................................................................................................. 83 Dried seahorse trade in Belize ....................................................................................................................... 83 Live seahorse trade in Belize .........................................................................................................................84 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Belize .................................................................................... 85 The seahorse trade in Costa Rica ....................................................................................................................... 85 Seahorse catches in Costa Rica .....................................................................................................................86 Dried seahorse trade in Costa Rica ............................................................................................................... 87 Live seahorse trade in Costa Rica ................................................................................................................. 87 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Costa Rica ........................................................................... 88 The seahorse trade in Guatemala ..................................................................................................................... 88 Seahorse catches in Guatemala .....................................................................................................................89 Dried seahorse trade in Guatemala ..............................................................................................................89 Live seahorse trade in Guatemala ................................................................................................................ 90 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Guatemala .......................................................................... 90 The seahorse trade in Honduras ...................................................................................................................... 90 Seahorse catches in Honduras ..................................................................................................................... 90 Dried seahorse trade in Honduras ................................................................................................................ 91 Live seahorse trade in Honduras .................................................................................................................. 93 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Honduras ............................................................................. 93 The seahorse trade in Nicaragua ....................................................................................................................... 94 Seahorse catches in Nicaragua ...................................................................................................................... 94 Dried seahorse trade in Nicaragua ............................................................................................................... 95 Live seahorse trade in Nicaragua .................................................................................................................. 96 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Nicaragua............................................................................. 96 The seahorse trade in Panama ........................................................................................................................... 97 Seahorse catches in Panama .........................................................................................................................98 Dried seahorse trade in Panama ...................................................................................................................98 Live seahorse trade in Panama ..................................................................................................................... 99 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Panama ................................................................................ 99 Other syngnathid species in Central America ............................................................................................ 100 Comparison to 1996 survey findings .......................................................................................................... 100 Conclusions .................................................................................................................................................. 100 References .................................................................................................................................................... 101 CHAPTER 5. SEAHORSE TRADE IN SOUTH AMERICA ............................................................................................. 102 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................................ 102     Background for South America ................................................................................................................... 102 The seahorse trade on the Atlantic Coast: Argentina ..................................................................................... 106 Seahorse catches in Argentina ..................................................................................................................... 107 Dried seahorse trade in Argentina .............................................................................................................. 107 Live seahorse trade in Argentina ................................................................................................................ 108 The seahorse trade on the Atlantic Coast: Brazil ........................................................................................... 108 Seahorse catches in Brazil ........................................................................................................................... 109 Dried seahorse trade in Brazil ..................................................................................................................... 110 Live seahorse trade in Brazil ....................................................................................................................... 110 Other syngnathid species in Brazil ............................................................................................................... 111 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Brazil .................................................................................. 112 Conclusions for Brazil .................................................................................................................................. 112 The seahorse trade on the Atlantic Coast: Surinam ....................................................................................... 113 Dried seahorse trade in Surinam ................................................................................................................ 113 The seahorse trade on the Atlantic Coast: Venezuela ..................................................................................... 113 Dried seahorse trade in Venezuela .............................................................................................................. 113 The seahorse trade on the Pacific Coast: Bolivia ............................................................................................ 113 Dried seahorse trade in Bolivia ................................................................................................................... 113 The seahorse trade on the Pacific Coast: Chile ............................................................................................... 113 Dried seahorse trade in Chile ...................................................................................................................... 113 The seahorse trade on the Pacific Coast: Ecuador .......................................................................................... 114 Seahorse catches in Ecuador ....................................................................................................................... 114 Dried seahorse trade in Ecuador ................................................................................................................. 116 Live seahorse trade in Ecuador ................................................................................................................... 118 Other syngnathid species in Ecuador ......................................................................................................... 118 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Ecuador .............................................................................. 118 Conclusions for Ecuador .............................................................................................................................. 119 The seahorse trade on the Pacific Coast: Peru ................................................................................................ 119 Seahorse catches in Peru ............................................................................................................................. 119 Dried seahorse trade in Peru ....................................................................................................................... 121 Live seahorse trade in Peru ......................................................................................................................... 125 Other syngnathid species in Peru ................................................................................................................ 126 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Peru .................................................................................... 126 Conclusions for Peru .................................................................................................................................... 126 Comparison to 1996 survey findings for South America ........................................................................... 126 Conclusions for South America ................................................................................................................... 127 References .................................................................................................................................................... 127 CHAPTER 6. SEAHORSE TRADE IN EUROPE .......................................................................................................... 129 Abstract ......................................................................................................................................................... 129 Background for Europe ................................................................................................................................ 129 Seahorse catches in Europe ......................................................................................................................... 132 Dried seahorse trade in Europe ................................................................................................................... 133 Live seahorse trade in Europe ..................................................................................................................... 133 Other syngnathid species in Europe ........................................................................................................... 135 Captive breeding of Syngnathidae in Europe ............................................................................................. 136 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Europe ................................................................................ 136 Conclusions .................................................................................................................................................. 136 References .................................................................................................................................................... 136 CHAPTER 7. SYNGNATHID TRADE IN AUSTRALIA .................................................................................................. 138 Abstract ......................................................................................................................................................... 138 Background for Australia ............................................................................................................................. 138 Seahorse catches in Australia ...................................................................................................................... 144 Dried seahorse trade in Australia ................................................................................................................ 147 Live seahorse trade in Australia .................................................................................................................. 149 Economic importance of the seahorse fishery in Australia ....................................................................... 153 Pipefish, pipehorse, and seadragon trade in Australia ................................................................................... 153    Pipefish, pipehorse, and seadragon catch in Australia .............................................................................. 156 Dried pipefish and pipehorse trade in Australia ........................................................................................ 157 Live pipefish and seadragon trade in Australia .......................................................................................... 159 Economic importance of the pipefish, pipehorse, and seadragon fishery in Australia ............................161 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in Australia .............................................................................161 Comparison to 1996 survey findings .......................................................................................................... 163 Conclusions for the syngnathid trade in Australia ..................................................................................... 163 References .................................................................................................................................................... 164 CHAPTER 8. SYNGNATHID TRADE IN NEW ZEALAND ............................................................................................ 166 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................................ 166 Background for New Zealand ...................................................................................................................... 166 Syngnathid catches in New Zealand ........................................................................................................... 169 Dried syngnathid trade in New Zealand ..................................................................................................... 170 Live syngnathid trade in New Zealand ....................................................................................................... 172 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in New Zealand ...................................................................... 173 Comparison to 1996 survey findings .......................................................................................................... 174 Conclusions .................................................................................................................................................. 174 References .................................................................................................................................................... 174 CHAPTER 9. SYNGNATHID TRADE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC .................................................................................... 176 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................................ 176 Background for the South Pacific................................................................................................................ 176 Syngnathid catches in the South Pacific ..................................................................................................... 178 Dried syngnathid trade in the South Pacific............................................................................................... 179 Live syngnathid trade in the South Pacific ................................................................................................. 180 Economic importance of the syngnathid fishery ....................................................................................... 180 Conservation concerns about syngnathids in the South Pacific ............................................................... 180 Comparison to 1996 survey findings .......................................................................................................... 180 Conclusions .................................................................................................................................................. 180 References .................................................................................................................................................... 180                 A Research Report from the Fisheries Centre at UBC 181 pages © Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, 2011  FISHERIES CENTRE RESEARCH REPORTS ARE ABSTRACTED IN THE FAO AQUATIC SCIENCES AND FISHERIES ABSTRACTS (ASFA) ISSN 1198-6727  FISHERIES CENTRE RESEARCH REPORTS ARE FUNDED IN PART BY GRANT FUNDS FROM THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT.  A LIST OF ALL FCRRS  TO DATE APPEARS AS THE FINAL PAGES OF EACH REPORT. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  1 DIRECTOR‘S FOREWORD This volume provides the first synthesis of information on the trade in syngnathid fishes (seahorses, pipefishes and seadragons) in countries outside of Asia.  Their consumption for use in traditional medicine, aquarium displays and curiosities is thought to threaten the persistence of many syngnathid species. The trade was originally documented in 1996, when it was shown that Asian countries contributed substantially to the international trade in seahorses.  Project Seahorse researchers undertook a broad geographic survey of the syngnathid trade in 1998- 2001 to ascertain its full international scope. The ensuing analyses for the surveyed countries outside Asia are compiled in this report, which reveals that syngnathids are (often newly) traded by nations from every continent in the world, outside Antarctica, including most non-Asian countries surveyed.  This report provides a very important tool in support of a new international instrument.  Since 2004, seahorse exports have been regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Their listing on Appendix II obliges the 175 signatory nations to limit exports to levels that will not damage wild populations. The data in this report, never before brought together in a volume, contributed to that decision and would continue to inform countries‘ actions in implementing CITES. I congratulate the authors of the report for this important piece of work.  U. Rashid Sumaila Director and Associate Professor UBC Fisheries Centre       Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INTRODUCTION Our research on the trade of seahorses and syngnathids has revealed that – far from being limited to Asia as usually inferred – it is global in scope, with exports and/or imports occurring in at least 53 out of 70 (75 %) of the countries outside Asia for which we obtained information. The trades for dried and live seahorses involved at least 15 species sourced from a variety of target and non-target fisheries, particularly those employing trawling gear. Most countries outside Asia involved in the trade were net exporters of seahorses – with the majority of dried specimens destined for Asia for use as traditional medicine. Live individuals from countries outside Asia were, however, destined for Europe and the USA, which (along with Canada) were net consumers of seahorses. The impacts of this documented non-Asian trade on seahorse populations may be considerable, especially when combined with the extensive damage to their vulnerable inshore marine habitats. Seahorses are traded dried for traditional medicines, tonic foods, and curiosities, and live for ornamental display, to an extent that raises concerns for sustainability of at least some populations. Traditional medicines (TM), particularly traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and its derivatives, account for the largest consumption of seahorses – but capture for the live aquarium trade is the main pressure in certain regions. Seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) are among the many genera whose life histories might render them vulnerable to overfishing or other disruptions such as habitat damage. They are generally characterized by a sparse distribution, low mobility, small home ranges, low fecundity, lengthy parental care and mate fidelity. In addition, the male seahorse, rather than the female, becomes pregnant. The first investigation into the international trade in syngnathids revealed a large and growing trade in seahorses, pipehorses, and pipefishes for use in TM, aquarium fishes, and curiosities (Vincent, 1996). Extensive Asian fieldwork carried out in 1993 and 1995 documented a previously unknown, but widespread and large consumption of dried and live seahorses. By 1995 at least 32 countries traded syngnathids, and the trade in Asia alone exceeded 45 tonnes of dried seahorses. In addition, hundreds of thousands of live seahorses were traded internationally, with small specimens finding a ready market. This scale of trade appeared to have depleted wild seahorse populations. A combination of official records, quantitative research, and qualitative information indicated that many seahorse catches had diminished markedly, even when fishing effort increased:  estimated catch declines of between 15 and 50% over 5-year periods were common in the 1990s. This early work raised concerns regarding the sustainability of the seahorse trade, and motivated us to keep track of how the trade in syngnathids was evolving and of any impacts on wild populations. As a follow up to the 1996 report, Project Seahorse expanded its trade surveys, primarily to concentrate on the catch and trade of seahorses from source areas. Of particular interest was the role countries outside Asia were playing in the seahorse trade, and the magnitude of such trade. Indications were that key markets were seeking new source countries for seahorses as volumes in trade from usual sources declined. In addition, many consumers in countries outside Asia use TCM and/or have their own form of traditional medicines in which dried syngnathids play a role, and the display of live seahorses in public and home aquariums is common in countries outside Asia. This report documents surveys and trade records from a wide range of countries in Africa, North, Central, and South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Our goal was to update our understanding of source countries and volumes traded, while also attempting to assess the conservation status of seahorses, and their relatives. METHODS We here collate reports by Project Seahorse biologists who surveyed seahorse trade in countries outside Asia. The investigations we present here were conducted between 1998 and 2001, and consist of syntheses of semi-structured interviews, published literature, local records, site visits, small group discussions, anecdotes, and observations. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  3  The biologists obtained information about the trade in syngnathids from three main sources:  Extensive Project Seahorse surveys of trade participants (e.g. fishers, buyers, importers/exporters, retailers) or those with knowledge of the trade (e.g. scientific researchers, NGOs).  Data collected by government agencies (Customs, wildlife management agencies, etc.) detailing either the catch or trade of seahorses and pipefishes.  Data collected by the Global Marine Aquarium Database (GMAD) documenting the international trade in live, marine ornamental species. The majority of the information came from the first source: Project Seahorse surveys conducted between 1998 and 2001. Since it was impossible to survey entire nations, trade researchers attempted to identify the main seahorse landing or trade areas and focus survey effort on the areas. Trade researchers employed a ―snowball‖ sampling methodology in which initial surveys were used to locate more trade participants for later surveying. Researchers employed a semi-structured, casual interview style to obtain information on volumes, prices, trade structure, trade routes, and changes in supply/demand. Local biologists or social workers helped the researchers interpret during visits, provided extra cultural information, and verified notes. In order to cross-validate information, similar questions were asked (i) within an interview, (ii) across interviews within a trade level, and (iii) across trade levels. RESULTS Species It proved difficult to collect data at a species level because fishers and traders either do not often distinguish species or base their decisions on colourings, markings and/or size, none of which are reliable for species identification. Nonetheless, the following species were explicitly mentioned as being traded dried and/or live, imported, exported and/or used domestically: Hippocampus abdominalis, H. barbouri, H. borboniensis, H. camelopardalis, H. comes, H. erectus, H. fuscus, H. histrix, H. ingens, H. kelloggi, H. kuda, H. reidi, H. spinosissimus, H. subelongatus, and H. zosterae. Issues with species identification and a lack of understanding of trade mean this list is unlikely to be comprehensive. Fisheries Seahorses are obtained by either targeted exploitation or accidental capture in non-selective fishing gear (bycatch). Some of the world‘s poorest fishers make their living targeting seahorses; fisheries for seahorses were reported in Africa (Kenya and Madagascar, as well as historically in Mozambique and Tanzania), Central America (Costa Rica and Panama, and historically in Nicaragua), North America (Mexico and the USA), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru), and Australia. They were very rarely targeted by European fishers. Bycatch from commercial trawlers (especially shrimp) appears to be the largest source of seahorses in international trade – but other fishing gear also played a role, including cast nets, seine nets and purse seines. Such incidental capture leads to seahorse death or displacement. Regions reporting some level of syngnathid bycatch specifically in trawl (and occasionally other) gear included Africa (Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania), Australia – which mostly consisted of pipehorses –, New Zealand, North America (Mexico, the USA), Central America (Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru), and several European countries (France, Germany, Portugal, Spain). Countries that reported bycatch using any gear other than trawl gear included Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, and Turkey.  Trade We found that seahorses and other syngnathids were traded dried and live in many countries outside Asia which we investigated (Table 1). The majority of the dried trade was destined for Asian countries for use as TCM. Dried seahorses were also used as TCM by local Asian communities, for local forms of traditional medicine – for example South African muti, and for curios/souvenirs. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  4 Table 1. Countries reported to have traded seahorses, marked with an ‗x‘. Trade may or may not persist. Volumes differed greatly among countries; see regional chapters for details. ‗Source‘ = exporting countries; ‗Consumer‘ = importing countries and countries that only trade syngnathids domestically. Countries known only to re-export syngnathids without domestic use (Mali, Zimbabwe, Norway) are not included.  Region Country Dried trade Live trade In 1996 report   Source Consumer Source Consumer Africa Egypt    x    Gambia x       Guinea x      Kenya   x    Madgascar x      Mozambique x  x    Nigeria x      Senegal x      Seychelles x      South Africa x x  x   Tanzania x x    x  Togo x     America, North Canada  x x3 x x  Mexico x x x x   USA x x x x x America, Central Barbados     x and the Caribbean Belize x x1 x  x  Costa Rica  x1 x x x  Cuba   x    Guatemala x x1     Honduras x x1     Nicaragua x x1  x2   Panama  x  x1  America, South Argentina  x1  x   Bolivia  x     Brazil x x1 x  x  Chile  x     Ecuador x x1 x2  x  Peru x x1     Surinam x      Uruguay    x   Venezuela x     Europe Austria    x   Belgium    x   Denmark    x   France     x x  Germany  x  x x  Greece  x1     Hungary    x   Ireland    x   Italy  x  x x  Netherlands  x  x x  Norway     x  Portugal  x1  x x  Spain x x  x x  Sweden    x   Switzerland    x   United Kingdom  x x3 x x Oceania Australia x x x x x  New Zealand x x x x x South Pacific Fiji   x    Solomon Islands   x   1 Primarily domestic use, rather than imports. 2 Trade did not occur when information was gathered. 3 Sources likely captive-bred only.   Many of the countries we surveyed – particularly those in Africa and Latin America – were apparently newly engaged in syngnathid trade, while other areas may have been active before 1996 without being Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  5 recognised. Many of these new trading countries are in Africa (Egypt, Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Togo) and Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Guatamala, Hondurus, Nicaragua, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay, Venezuela). However, at least some countries added to the list had actually been trading seahorses for some time before they were noted (e.g. Kenya, Mexico, and Panama, since at least the 1970s). While many of the countries traded seahorses every year, some exporting countries, in particular, engaged only intermittently in the trade, particularly for dried animals. Countries surveyed in the South Pacific largely did not engage in syngnathid trade, including American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Values of traded seahorses varied according to country and trade, but in general fishers received very poor pay for seahorses they supplied, and eventual selling price ranged hugely but was orders of magnitude higher than that paid to the fisher. Seahorses seemed to provide extra cash but contributed relatively little to fishers‘ and traders‘ incomes. Sources Most countries surveyed were net exporters of seahorses – especially those in Africa, Central America, and South America – although many countries in these regions imported a limited volume of syngnathids for local use or re-export. African dried seahorses, the majority of which hailed from Tanzania, were most frequently destined for Asian markets, whereas the few countries that exported live seahorses sent them to Europe. Mexico was the only North American country that exported more seahorses than it imported – thousands of kilos of dried seahorses were sent to Asia and the USA, and hundreds of live seahorses were sent to the USA annually. Central American countries sent hundreds of kilos of dried seahorses annually to Asia and Mexico; indeed, the Honduran trade in seahorses was the largest encountered in Central America. Costa Rica sent a small number (tens) of live seahorses north to the USA. South American countries exported both dried and live seahorses – dried to Asia and North America, and live to Europe and the USA. Brazil was a major seahorse exporter – Hippocampus ingens was Brazil‘s sixth most important marine ornamental export. Australia mainly exported syngnathids live for the aquarium trade, with only a few dried kilos heading to Asia. New Zealand‘s role in exports was minimal, and syngnathid exploitation in the South Pacific appeared to be negligible with only two records of syngnathid trade during the period studied. Consumers Europe and North America were net consumers of seahorses and their relatives. Recorded European importers of dried seahorses included Germany (from Vietnam), Italy (from Vietnam and Philippines), the Netherlands (from the Philippines and India), Spain (from the Philippines), and the United Kingdom (from the USA and mainland China). The Netherlands and Spain appeared to be among the major European importers of dried syngnathids. Germany accounted for the highest number of declared live seahorse imports, followed by Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. The main suppliers of live seahorses to the European Union (EU) were reported to be, in order of importance, the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Singapore. The data also indicate that trade in live seahorses occurs among EU countries. Live and dried seahorses were traded in the USA and Canada for use as aquarium fishes, curios, and in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The Philippines, mainland China and Mexico were the main suppliers of dried seahorses to the USA, according to US data. Recorded live seahorse imports were primarily from Australia and the Philippines. Little information was available on Canada‘s trade in live and dried seahorses but the available information indicated that dried seahorses have been imported from Hong Kong, the USA, and Peru, and that live seahorses have been imported from the USA, Singapore, and Indonesia. Conservation consequences The impacts of documented trade on seahorse populations may be considerable, especially when combined with the damage that is being inflicted on their vulnerable inshore marine habitats. It is impossible to determine exactly how many seahorses live in the wild and it is difficult to assess how Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  6 individual species are coping with the exploitation that is taking place, but a combination of Customs records, quantitative research, and qualitative information indicates that seahorse catches and/or trades have declined markedly. This reflects a loss of population rather than a drawdown of the trade. Countries with fishers and/or traders reporting evidence of seahorse population declines included Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mexico (both coasts), Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Tanzania, and the Ukraine. Conservation concern is probably greatest where seahorses as caught by trawlers (see Fisheries above), as commercial trawling most certainly negatively affects them via displacement or mortality of incidentally caught seahorses and through habitat damage. Very few of the countries we surveyed had regulations specifically aimed at seahorses or other syngnathids. In Australia, strong legislation at both Commonwealth (national) and State levels protected syngnathids and/or required monitoring of their exploitation. All exports of syngnathids from Australia required permits under approved management plans. In Mexico, domestic seahorses were officially afforded some legal protection, as only those cultured or incidentally caught could be traded legally. A target fishery for the aquarium trade nonetheless existed. In Europe, two regulations, Council Regulation (EC) No. 338/97 and Commission Regulation (EC) No. 939/37 were implemented in June 1997 to monitor seahorse imports to European Union countries. In addition, some European countries, for example, Germany, France, Portugal, Slovenia and the Ukraine, afforded special protection to local syngnathid populations, recognizing habitat degradation (particularly pollution and coastal modification) and catch (intentional and accidental) as potential threats. Although few countries specifically protected seahorses, some populations may have benefited from marine parks or other legislation, such as spatial and/or temporal trawling regulations. Other syngnathids Trade in syngnathids other than seahorses – including pipefishes, pipehorses, and seadragons – mainly occurred in Australia and New Zealand and was very limited elsewhere. The most important syngnathid fisheries in Australia in terms of biomass and value were the bycatch landings of pipehorses (Solegnathus spp.) caught in ocean trawling operations; exports were worth up to US$200,000 per annum. There was a small but important export trade in live syngnathids (almost exclusively two endemic species of seadragon) from South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia. Although fewer than 500 animals per year were exported, the value of the fishery may have been as much as US$100,000 per year. It appeared that during the period 1996-2001, New Zealand was a net exporter of syngnathids, the majority of these being the spiny pipehorse, S. spinossismus. Acknowledgements This is a contribution from Project Seahorse. We would like to thank the many people who assisted in collecting, analyzing, and summarizing the data contained within this report. We particularly recognize the intellectual and managerial contributions of Dr Heather Koldewey, Associate Director of Project Seahorse. We are grateful for all sources of funding indicated in the individual reports. In particular, we thank Guylian Chocolates of Belgium and the John G. Shedd Aquarium for their support through our long- standing partnerships for marine conservation.    Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  7 CHAPTER 1. TRADE IN SEAHORSES AND OTHER SYNGNATHIDS IN AFRICA1 Jana M. McPherson and Amanda C.J. Vincent Project Seahorse, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia,  2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4; Email:a.vincent@fisheries.ubc.ca ABSTRACT Fourteen African countries were known to have participated in the seahorse trade by 2001, including Egypt, Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, the Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, and Zimbabwe. Trade surveys were undertaken only in Kenya and Tanzania, which consequently are dealt with in most detail below. Correspondence with researchers in southern Africa provided reasonable information on Mozambique and South Africa. Information on other countries was largely gleaned from Customs records in the European Community, Hong Kong and the USA, and is correspondingly brief. Given the scarcity of information in most African countries, it is difficult to judge the relative importance of African seahorse trading countries. The information obtained, however, suggests Guinea, Senegal, and Tanzania are the major players in African seahorse trade. BACKGROUND FOR KENYA AND TANZANIA Information sources Information presented in this section comes largely from field interviews conducted by the author in Kenya and Tanzania in May and June 2000. Additionally, thirteen experts on fisheries and coastal resource utilisation in these countries were consulted in writing. In total, 234 respondents contributed their knowledge, comprising 90 fishers, 15 dealers and staff involved in the ornamental fish trade, 32 marine products traders, 9 traditional healers, 30 government officials, 5 academics, 27 people associated with local environmental NGOs, 4 aquarists maintaining private or public aquaria, 12 people with knowledge of the marine environment thanks to their diving or snorkelling experience, and 10 other residents (Table 1). Supplementary information was obtained from both published and unpublished reports on local fisheries and the status of local marine resources, as well as from import statistics from the European Community, Hong Kong and the USA, as indicated. Interviews were conducted in either English or Kiswahili with the help of a Kenyan graduate student, Summit Johnstone Oketch, who acted as interpreter. To avoid encouraging seahorse trade where none existed, the author generally introduced herself to fishers and ornamental fish traders as a graduate student investigating the ecology and distribution of East African seahorses; marine products traders were told she was researching the exploitation of marine animals for purposes other than food. Other respondents were aware of the true purpose of this study. Interviews were semi-structured in that they did not rigidly follow a standard set of questions. Instead, they were adjusted depending on the respondents‘ backgrounds, their willingness to provide information, and time constraints. Notes were taken during the interviews and subsequently verified by the assistant.                                                               1 Cite as: McPherson, J.M. and A.C.J. Vincent. 2011. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa. p.7-38. In: Vincent, A.C.J., Giles, B.G., Czembor, C.A.  and Foster,  S.J.  (eds.). Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001). Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(1). Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia [ISSN 1198-6727]. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  8 Seahorse species in Kenya and Tanzania Geographic distribution Seahorses appear to occur all along the mainland coast of Kenya and Tanzania, as well as in the Zanzibar Archipelago (Figure 1). They were generally considered rare in Kenya, with the possible exceptions of Kilifi Creek and Vanga, where they seemed to be slightly more abundant. Perhaps indicative of their scarcity is the lack of a Kiswahili name for seahorses in Kenya. In Tanzania seahorses seemed comparatively more common. Fishers and traders gave the impression that they were relatively sparse off Dar es Salaam, Lindi, and most of Unguja; fairly common in northern Tanzania (Tanga, Kigombe, Pangani), Mtwara, and southern Pemba; abundant in Bagamoyo, the Rufiji delta, and Unguja‘s Menai Bay; and very abundant in most of northern Pemba, off Mkokotoni in the North of Unguja and in Mafia, particularly Mafia‘s western side (Figure 1). In contrast to Kenya, roughly one third of the respondents interviewed in Tanzania (44 of 132) knew of a local term for seahorses, although this differed from village to village and even person to person. Makosa kuumbwa, the most commonly cited name, translates as ‗mistake in creation,‘ apparently because of the fish‘s unusual shape. Others called seahorses horsefish, farasi (horse) or farasi bahari (seahorse), simba (lion), dragon, upindo siwako (love is not yours), filipino (which apparently has connotations of flexibility), wadudu or vijidudu (insect/little animal), dodosi or dodoji, sosi, and haisotwa. Local species Most respondents described seahorses as being of drab coloration in hues ranging from yellowish green to brown, blending with the environment. Some mentioned the rare occurrence of red seahorses, while others had seen black, white, tiger-striped and even blue seahorses. Reported heights (measured from the tip of the coronet to the tip of the tail; Lourie et al., 1999) ranged from ‗half an index finger‘ (3.5 cm) to ‗one foot‘ (30.5 cm). Most, however, indicated a length of between 7-15 cm. Co-occurrence of more than one species of seahorse in an area appears common as many fishers mentioned the presence of both spiny and non-spiny seahorses in their fishing grounds. Two species co-exist in Mtwara Bay, according to researchers of Frontier, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) conducting base-line surveys of Tanzania‘s habitat‘s in conjunction with the University of Dar es Salaam (e.g. Martin Guard, pers. comm., 6 June 2000). Three species were caught during trawl studies in Gazi Bay, southern Kenya (Enock O. Wakwabi, Kenyan Marine Fisheries Research Institute, pers. comm., 29 May 2000). Five species were tentatively identified by the author according to Lourie et al. (1999): Hippocampus histrix and H. borboniensis, both of which are medium-sized and bear spines; H. fuscus, a medium-sized species which lacks spines; H. kelloggi, a large, smooth, robust-looking species; and H. camelopardalis, a small species characterised by three dorsal spots on the upper trunk. Apart from H. kelloggi, all these species are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN according to criteria A2cd (Hilton-Taylor, 2000). Respondents mentioned the presence of two further species: H. kuda and H. capensis. According to the most recent taxonomic revision, neither species occurs in East Africa (Lourie et al., 1999). Both resemble H. fuscus, in that they are medium-sized, non-spiny seahorses with low coronet. Reports of their occurrence, therefore, were assumed to refer to the presence of H. fuscus. Table 1. The number and backgrounds of respondents interviewed during surveys in Kenya and Tanzania in May and June 2000. Note: some respondents in Kenya also provided information on Tanzania and vice versa. Source: author‘s research. Respondents’ Backgrounds Kenya Tanzania Total Academic 2 3 5 Aquarist 3 1 4 Aquarium Fisher 4 0 4 Artisanal Fisher 12 72 84 Commercial Fisher 0 2 2 Diver/Snorkeller 10 2 12 Government Official 17 13 30 Healer 1 8 9 NGO employee 11 16 27 Trader of Aquarium Fish 13 2 15 Trader of Marine Products 7 25 32 Other 4 6 10 Total 84 150 234  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  9   Figure 1. The distribution and relative abundance of seahorses in East Africa, with indications of sites visited, sites of record for particular species and source areas of seahorses traded in Tanzania. Source: author‘s research.  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  10 All five species identified by the author were exploited in Tanzania for the dried trade. It is likely that the aquarium trade present in Kenya also utilised all available species, although a former ornamental fish dealer and the curator of Mamba Village Aquarium in Mombasa only recalled encountering three species: H. histrix, a similarly sized smooth species they assumed to be H. kuda, and H. camelopardalis. A major player in Tanzania‘s dried seahorse trade (Level 2-4) estimated that 35-40% of the seahorses he obtained bore spines. Spiny seahorses, likely to be either H. histrix or H. borboniensis were reported by fishers for Mombasa, Kenya, and all over Tanzania, for both the mainland and the Zanzibar archipelago. H. histrix was encountered by the author in both Kenya and Tanzania. Ten live specimens observed in Kenya in private and public aquaria measured between 10-15 cm in height; they were believed, by their owners, to originate from Kilifi Creek and Nyali. Kenyan biologists had also spotted H. histrix in Watamu Marine Park (Richard Bennet, pers. comm., 18 May 2000) and Gazi Bay (Enock O. Wakwabi, Kenyan Marine Fisheries Research Institute, pers. comm., 29 May 2000). In Tanzania, two dried H. histrix specimens on sale in Dar es Salaam apparently originated from Bagamoyo. Researchers had seen the species in Chole Bay, Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP; Jason Rubens, technical advisor to MIMP, pers. comm., 28 June 2000), Mtwara Bay and Mnazi Bay (Mallela et al., 1998). Hippocampus borboniensis, although part of the generally smooth H. kuda complex (Lourie et al. 1999), bears prominent if rounded spines on certain trunk and tail rings. This species was only encountered in Tanzania, and no respondents suggested its presence in Kenya. Dried specimens were presented to the author by Pemban fishers in Mkoani and Tumbe, and by a seahorse trader (Level 2-3) whose supplies originated from northern Pemba. H. borboniensis comprised roughly 20% of this trader‘s seahorse stock. Four specimens obtained measured 11.0-11.8 cm in height and weighed between 2.1 g and 3.1 g (dry weight). A recent volunteer with Frontier found H. borboniensis in Mtwara Bay, although identification was tentative (Davide Molon, in litt., 22 July 2000). Traders (Level 2-4) in Dar es Salaam and a fisher suggested that the species also occurs off Mafia Island, Tanga and Kigombe. Hippocampus fuscus is the suspected identity of seahorses reported from Kenya as H kuda or H. capensis, and was seen by the author in Tanzania. In Kenya, ‗H. kuda‘ reportedly occurred near Nyali; ‗H. capensis‘ in Gazi Bay (Enock O. Wakwabi, pers. comm., 29 May 2000). The reported occurrence of H. kuda in Mtwara and Mnazi Bay, southern Tanzania (Mallela et al., 1998), likely is a confusion with H. fuscus (or perhaps H. borboniensis, see recent findings of Davide Molon above). Dried specimens of H. fuscus were obtained from a trader on Pemba Island (Level 2-3) and comprised approximately 60% of his stock. Four specimens measured 9.4-12 cm in height and weighed 2.1 g to 3.3 g. [NB: Identification both H. borboniensis and H. fuscus should be viewed as tentative. Apart from slightly enlarged spines and coronet in H. borboniensis, little distinguishes these two species and their taxonomy remains poorly understood (Sara A. Lourie, in litt., 6 April 2001).] H. kelloggi was encountered by the author only in Tanzania, but fishers‘ seahorse descriptions suggested that it may also occur in Kenya. A dried specimen was shown to the author by a fisher in Pangani, northern Tanzania. The specimen had been caught recently in nearby Ushongo, in shallow water (2m at high tide) in a rocky area with some vegetation and soft corals. Another specimen was purchased from a trader (Level 2-3) who obtained his seahorses from fishing villages in northern Pemba. Both specimens measured approximately 15 cm in height, and the Pemban one weighed 7.4 g dry. Large (>15 cm), smooth seahorses were also reported for Kiwaihu Island in northern Kenya, Bagamoyo on the Tanzanian mainland, and Mkokotoni in the north of Unguja Island. Hippocampus camelopardalis was seen by the author only on Pemba Island, Tanzania, but respondents reported its presence in Kenya. A researcher had caught the species in Gazi Bay, and an aquarium curator suggested it also occurred near Nyali. He and a retired ornamental fish dealer described the species as ‗easy to breed‘ over several generations, given the ability of its relatively large young to feed on brine shrimp. Dried specimens of the species were obtained from a Tanzanian trader (Level 2-3) whose supplies originated in northern Pemba. The species comprised approximately 20% of this trader‘s stock. The four specimens purchased measured 8.1-8.8 cm in height and weighed 0.7 g to 1.2 g (dry weight). Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  11 Ecology Habitat The habitat respondents most frequently associated with seahorses was mwani in shallow water (<10 m), described as a tall (1 m), soft, grass-like plant growing at low density and distinct from gambari, a short, hard and dense form of vegetation apparently not favoured by seahorses. The second most commonly named habitats were corals and rocks, or a mix of corals and vegetation. Mangroves, bare sand and floating weeds were also mentioned. Many respondents associated the occurrence of seahorses with small islands. In Kenya there was frequent mention of seahorses' preference for sediment-laden, murky waters and estuaries. As most fishing occurs in clear water (outside the rainy seasons) and on the country‘s reefs, frequent accounts of seahorses in muddy waters and estuaries cannot be attributed to a bias in fishing practice. Seasonality In Kenya, eight respondents felt that seahorse abundance varied seasonally. According to six, seahorses were more abundant when it was wet, cold and rainy—weather associated with kusi, the south-easterly monsoons prevalent from approximately May to September. Kusi, however, was also when fishers stayed closer to shore where they may be more likely to fish in seahorse habitat. Higher frequency of encounter could, therefore, be an artefact of fishing practice rather than increased seahorse abundance. One fisher in Kilifi (an estuarine area) commented that he saw seahorses more frequently during kaskazi, the north- easterly monsoons that bring calm and fairly warm waters from November to March. A fisher in Diani suggested that seahorses generally stayed in estuaries, but were seen in deeper waters (10 m) off Diani during September and October. In Tanzania, opinion over seahorse seasons was divided. Some (n = 19) said there was no annual variation in abundance, but emphasised that they paid little attention to seahorses. Traders (n = 5) generally felt that there were more seahorses in the water during kusi and the associated rainy season between April and June, but that more seahorses were supplied to them during kaskazi when weather facilitated drying. Four fishers on Mafia Island agreed. However, again this may be an artefact of seasonal fishing strategies. In contrast, fishers in northern Tanzania (Tanga and Kigombe; n = 7) thought that seahorses were more abundant when waters where warm and calm from August to January, which locally corresponds with kaskazi. One fisher each on Pemba and Unguja supported this opinion. Breeding Seasons and Behaviour Breeding appeared to take place between at least May and December according to the few respondents who offered comments. A male H. histrix from Kilifi, Kenya was pregnant when caught in early May and soon after gave birth in captivity. The majority of dried male seahorses a Tanzanian trader (Level 2-3) had collected in late May, early June in Pemba were pregnant. The trader commented that the pouches tend to be particularly distinct in June. A Fisheries official in Tanga suggested that seahorses bred during the June and July rains and that many small seahorses were present in August. A biologist who studied seahorses in Mtwara during July-September 1999 observed pregnant males throughout this period (Davide Molon, in litt.., 22 July 2000). A fisher in Kigombe had observed ‗twinned‘ seahorses he assumed to be copulating in November and December. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the behaviour of East African seahorses is similar to species studied in greater detail elsewhere (Lourie et al., 1999). A former ornamental fish dealer commented that seahorse couples displayed early morning greetings, that their breeding cycle lasted 28 to 30 days, and that males tended to give birth at night around full moon. A number of fishers suggested that seahorses were often found in pairs rather than alone, but never in large aggregations. Uses Local use of seahorses was not widespread in Kenya or Tanzania. However, seahorses were occasionally sought for decorative purposes, as fishing souvenirs, by traditional healers or as aquarium pets. In Tanzania, dried seahorses were also sold as souvenirs to tourists. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  12 Dried In southern Kenya and along Tanzania‘s entire coastline fishers occasionally dried and kept seahorses to use as necklaces, key rings or house decorations. Others simply kept the specimens out of curiosity as a fishing memento. Both practices were said to be rare and limited to children and young men. A fisher near Bagamoyo had nevertheless managed to turn it into a small business by painting the seahorses and selling them to locals for up to TSh700 (US$0.90) a piece. No traditional healer questioned (n = 9) knew of any medicinal use for seahorses. Nor was use of seahorses reported during more extensive surveys of traditional local medicines (Marshall, 1998). Nonetheless, curio traders (Level 2-4) in Dar es Salaam noted that traditional healers from as far as Arusha and Mwanza occasionally purchased dried seahorses from them. Other marine life was certainly employed in local traditional medicines. The author was told of the use of sea weeds, octopus, turtle oil, shark heads and cowry shells. According to the National Chairman of the Tanzania Traditional Healers Association, however, the use of animals in traditional medicine was often associated with sorcery and therefore kept in secrecy. The one detailed account of a ‗doctor‘s‘ use of seahorses obtained from a fisher supports this view. The fisher had observed colleagues in Fukuchani, northern Unguja, who, disappointed with their catch, had sought help from a traditional doctor. The doctor had ordered them to find a seahorse, burn it, mix its ashes with a plant concoction he provided and sprinkle the resulting liquid over their gear. This would rid the gear of any bad spells and attract fish. Curio traders in both Kenya (mainly Mombasa) and Tanzania (mainly Dar es Salaam) offered marine products, particularly shells, to tourists. Dried seahorses were seen for sale only in Dar es Salaam, but respondents suggested that curio traders on Pemba Island and Unguja Island also sold seahorses. The four curio traders interviewed in Dar es Salaam indicated that tourists occasionally bought one or two dried seahorses for educational purposes or as souvenir. The seahorses were sold individually and were not varnished or decorated. Live A few seahorses found their way into private and public aquaria, but pet shops in Kenya and Tanzania did not sell marine fishes. Hobbyists generally obtained them directly from fishers or collected them from the wild. Legislation Neither Kenya nor Tanzania specifically protected seahorses in 2000. Kenyan seahorses potentially benefited from the country‘s four marine parks (closed to fishing) and six marine reserves (which prohibit certain fishing techniques; see Gaudian et al., 1995). Seahorses occurred in at least two parks (Watamu and Malindi) and three reserves (Mombasa, Watamu and Kiunga). Furthermore, trawling in Kenya was illegal within five nautical miles (9.26 km) from shore and banned from December to March. Tanzania in 2000 had one marine park at Mafia Island, where seahorses have been sighted, as well as several smaller marine conservation projects. Blast fishing and poisoning were prohibited nation-wide. So was beach seining, although Fisheries officers disagreed on whether it was banned outright or only if mesh-sizes fell below a certain size (2x2 cm). As beach seining was a major source of seahorse bycatch and uproots seagrass beds that are home to seahorses, its prohibition would certainly be beneficial. Indeed, one trader (Level 2-4) and thirteen fishers commented that the ban on beach seining and the introduction of minimum mesh sizes had caused seahorse bycatch to decline. Seahorse trade, dried or live, was not officially recorded in either country. In Kenya, however, exporters of ornamental fishes submitted records for each export consignment to their District‘s Fisheries Department, which indicated species-specific export volumes. How accurate these records are is not known.   Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  13 THE SEAHORSE TRADE IN KENYA Kenya has been involved in both the dried and live seahorse trades, the former only as a re-exporter. Local seahorses were not offered legal protection in 2000. A small targeted fishery existed for the aquarium trade and seahorses were caught incidentally by artisanal fishers as well as commercial shrimp trawlers. Domestic consumption was negligible, but tentative calculations from field data suggest that, in the past, Kenya imported more than 2t of dried seahorses from Tanzania for re-export to Asia. This trade apparently ceased in 1998. A negligible export trade in Kenyan live seahorses continued in 2000, involving approximately 10 seahorses annually. Pipefishes were exported as ornamental fish in larger numbers than seahorses, but an annual estimate was not obtained. SEAHORSES CATCHES IN KENYA Target fisheries: for the aquarium trade In 2000, between 50 and 100 fishers in Kenya specialised in live fish for the ornamental fish trade. They operated all along Kenya‘s coast, although Kilifi and Shimoni appeared to be the most popular collection sites. Most aquarium traders and fishers explained that they took seahorses opportunistically rather than targeting them. One aquarium fisher, however, said he knew of two colleagues who sought seahorses specifically, and an artisanal fisher claimed to have observed a team of ten divers who did. Possibly those divers sold seahorses they caught into the dried rather than the aquarium trade: a marine products trader in Mombasa mentioned that occasionally Japanese clients came to enquire about buying seahorses, whereupon he sent divers to look for them. All fish for the aquarium trade were caught with nets while SCUBA diving or snorkelling. They were placed into plastic bags with seawater which were topped up with oxygen at the boat or shore for further transport. Live seahorses were said to transport well, lasting up to three days in plastic bags of water, although most were transferred to holding facilities within one day. The artisanal fisher mentioned above reported observing divers use speared octopi as decoys to scare seahorses out of the seagrass before trapping them in bottles (a technique also used to fish lobster). This seems somewhat unlikely given that seahorses of most species generally grasp their holdfast tenaciously when threatened, as they are better at camouflage than rapid escape (Lourie et al., 1999). Nonetheless, the story cannot be entirely discounted, because three fishers in Tanzania claimed that local seahorses move away from novel objects in their environment, such as nets. Furthermore, the author noted fleeing seahorses during underwater studies in South Africa (Bell et al., 2003). Bycatch: commercial and artisanal fisheries Artisanal fishers occasionally caught seahorses in cast nets, seine nets and purse seines ranging in mesh size from 0.5 cm to 3 cm. There appeared to be a standard practice in Kenya that every fish caught but not consumed must be returned to the water without harm as quickly as possible. Even fishers using beach seines, who landed their catch ashore, specifically took unwanted fish back into the sea. This applied to seahorses, so bycatch in the artisanal fishery seemed relatively harmless to them, although the low mobility and tight social structure of seahorses means that even displacement can affect reproductive success negatively (Lourie et al., 1999). According to the recollection of one former trawl fisher, seahorses were also caught by commercial trawlers in the country. While a seven-day study of trawl bycatch did not record seahorses (Fulanda, 1999), experimental trawls in Gazi Bay yielded three seahorse species (Enock O. Wakwabi, pers. comm., 29 May 2000). Given that trawlers concentrated their efforts within two to seven nautical miles (3.7-12.96 km) from shore in waters as shallow as five fathoms (nine metres; Bernerd Fulanda, pers. comm., 17 May 2000), seahorses were probably caught. In 2000, seven trawlers operated in Kenya, in an area ranging from the Tana River mouth in the north to Malindi in the south. As the crow flies, this covers close to 100 km, approximately one quarter of Kenya‘s coastline. Most incidentally caught animals were reportedly dead by they time the bycatch was dumped overboard (Bernerd Fulanda, pers. comm., 17 March 2000; Fulanda, 1999). Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  14 An accurate estimate of the annual Kenyan seahorse bycatch was impeded by the absence of reliable figures on the number of fishers and gear types. Furthermore, fishers generally felt unable to give a quantitative estimate of seahorse bycatch, precisely because they caught seahorses so infrequently. A fisher in Kilifi, who came across these fish slightly more often, said he might catch three seahorses per month. Annual bycatch at a national level, therefore, is assumed to be minor. DRIED SEAHORSE TRADE IN KENYA Trade routes, domestic trade, exports, imports, volumes, and values Kenya did not, apparently, export its own seahorses dried. Three of four exporters of marine products interviewed in Mombasa explained that seahorses in Kenya were too rare to support an export business. One had reached this conclusion after careful investigation of seahorse availability in response to an order from Singapore. Another admitted that, although generally there were too few seahorses to put together a shipment, he would occasionally send out divers to look for them in response to requests from Japanese clients. Only one exporter interviewed denied any knowledge of the value of seahorses in Asia, even though another source indicated that his company received seahorses from Pemba, Tanzania, until at least 1998. Nevertheless, Kenya had until the late 1990s engaged in the dried seahorse trade, importing and re- exporting Tanzanian seahorses. Kenya‘s involvement in this trade dates back to at least 1985 when a Tanzanian exporter (trade level 2-4) decided to deliver his seahorses to a business partner from Hong Kong in Nairobi rather than in Dar es Salaam, because of Tanzania‘s unfavourable foreign exchange policies at the time. In 2000, this exporter annually shipped approximately 120 kg of dried seahorses to Hong Kong, but had sent them directly from Tanzania since currency controls were relaxed in 1986. Kenya‘s involvement in the dried seahorse trade in the 1990s focused around Mombasa. With an international airport and as the country‘s major port, Mombasa is an ideal base for marine products traders who supply Asian markets with sea cucumbers, shark fins and shells. According to statements by Fisheries officials and marine products traders themselves, there were between six and ten such traders in Mombasa in 2000. Several of these traders have been implicated in the seahorse trade: residents of Pemba Island, Tanzania, named three Mombasa traders who—between 1995 and 1998—were supplied with seahorses from at least three Pemban villages. Fishers (Level 1), who sorted the seahorses from their bycatch, took them to Mombasa personally or passed them on to buyers (Level 2 and 3) trading with Mombasa. One such level 3 buyer interviewed in Tanzania, Middleman A, stated that the exporter he supplied in Mombasa, an ethnic Chinese, initially received seahorses from 15 Pembans. The number of suppliers then apparently dropped gradually until seahorse trade ceased after 1.5 years. The respondent himself only sold seahorses for six weeks as seahorse supplies soon dwindled to such extent that he judged shipments no longer economically viable. His first two shipments, two weeks apart, were three sacks (each 60-90 kg) of dried seahorses. His third and last shipment, two weeks later, was 30 kg. This comes to a total of between 390 kg (30 kg + 2 x 3 sacks x 60 kg) and 570 kg (30 kg + 2 x 3 sacks x 90 kg) in six weeks. Each kilo sold for KSh40 (then US$0.73) in Mombasa. The trade volume estimates of Middleman A are put into question by the following facts: dried seahorses obtained by the author in Pemba had a mean weight of 2.4 g (range: 0.7 g-7.4 g, 16 specimens). It would, hence, require 12,500 seahorses to make 30 kg. While it may be possible to pack this many seahorses into one very large sack, no sack seen in East Africa would hold the number of dried seahorses required to make 90 kg. Nevertheless, accumulating 30 kg of dried seahorses per fortnight may be possible. According to a Tanzanian fisher, a single fishing village on Mafia Island in Tanzania harvested similar amounts (13,000 seahorses) each fortnight with little effort (see The seahorse trade in Tanzania). Judging from fishers‘ statements, seahorse abundance in Mafia is similar to that in northern Pemba (Figure 1). Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  15 Making the assumption, therefore, that each Pemban fishing community was able to harvest approximately 30 kg of dried seahorses per fortnight, it is possible to arrive at an estimate of the amount of seahorses traded between Pemba and Mombasa annually in the mid-1990s. We know that:   at least three Pemban villages supplied Mombasa with dried seahorses; and   at least three Mombasa-based marine products exporters received dried seahorses from Pemba, probably from several fishers and middlemen each. Between them, the three Mombasa-based marine products traders, therefore, may have received 2,340 kg (3 villages x 26 fortnights x 30 kg/fortnight) of dried seahorses each year; more if more than three Pemban villages were involved. At an average weight of 2.4 g per seahorse, this amounts to almost one million (975,000) dried Pemban seahorses imported to and re-exported from Kenya annually in the mid 1990s. Import of seahorses from Pemba to Mombasa apparently ceased in 1998, reportedly because of dwindling supplies and/or lack of convenient transport. A ferry that used to run weekly between southern Pemba and Mombasa suspended operations in 1998 but was about to restart its service in June 2000. Re- establishment of a regular, affordable link might revive the cross-border seahorse trade, if indeed lack of easy transport was the principal reason for its demise in 1998. LIVE SEAHORSE TRADE IN KENYA Trade routes, domestic trade, exports, volumes, and values The ornamental fish trade in Kenya dates back to the 1960s. In 2000, five exporting companies were operating, but there had been more in the past. Most were owned by residents of European origin and located near Mombasa, close to the only international airport along Kenya‘s coast. Exports were destined for Europe, the USA and Japan. Each company received the bulk of its fish from a contracted team of divers and snorkellers who were supplied with transport and equipment and paid per fish. Aquarium fishers only rarely caught seahorses, because they concentrated on reefs, while seahorses were found in the seagrass beds of murky creeks. Exporters discouraged their contracted fishers from bringing seahorses, because seahorses were delicate fish and uneconomical for shipment as they required a lot of space and suffer high mortality (20%). Moreover, two exporters claimed that other countries were able to export comparatively larger volumes of seahorses, because they had more seahorses and these were, in some cases, ―caught with poison.‖ Consequently, the price Kenyan seahorses fetched when sent abroad was too low to adequately compensate fishers for such an infrequent catch. One exporter, who paid his fishers KSh100 to KSh150 (US$1.40 to US$2.13) per seahorse, said the maximum a seahorse earned him abroad was US$3.00. In other companies, fishers received between KSh100 and KSh500 (US$1.40 and US$ 7.10) per seahorse, and between KSh25 (US$0.36) and KSh500 (US$7.10) a piece for other fish. These other fish sold abroad for as little as US$0.50 (Abudefduf and Chromis spp.) and as much as US$65 (Arothron citrinellus). Seahorses, hence, were toward the bottom of the profit range for Kenyan ornamental fish exporters. As a result of infrequent catches, delicateness and low economic gains, seahorses were not advertised to clients and orders were uncommon. Nevertheless, two companies exported seahorses to Europe on the rare occasion that they got them. Another exporter passed all its seahorses to the company‘s former owner who kept them as pets. A fourth exporter had never dealt in them. The number of seahorses that annually passed through the hands of ornamental fish traders appeared to be small. One Fisheries official vaguely remembered up to four seahorses being listed in monthly Fisheries statistics in Malindi in the mid-1980s. Detailed records of export consignments provided to the Department of Fisheries by exporters between 1968 and present could not confirm this: no seahorses were listed (Department of Fisheries Kenya, undated a). Nor did monthly landing reports in the 1980s include seahorses (Department of Fisheries Kenya, undated b). Statements by three aquarium fishers, four exporters and one of their employees suggest that fewer than ten seahorses are traded each year. Their assertions seem to be supported by European import statistics: in the years 1997 to 2000 only a single Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  16 Kenyan seahorse appeared in European import records. It was imported live to Germany for commercial purposes in 1999 (European Community, undated). In contrast, a Tanzanian fisher who visited Shimoni in May and June of 1998 and 1999 claimed to have observed a team of ten divers collect 50 to 80 seahorses daily in bottles with seawater. Residents of Shimoni and nearby Wasini Island, however, implied that seahorses were relatively rare in the area. OTHER SYNGNATHID SPECIES IN KENYA Artisanal fishers occasionally supplied the Mamba Village public aquarium in Mombasa, with locally caught pipefishes and pipehorses. Several pipefish species and one species of pipehorse, perhaps of the genus Acentronura, were on display when the author visited. The aquarium‘s curator believed that at least seven pipefish occurred locally: a Yotzia species, Doryramphus excisus, D. intestinalis, D. multiannulatus, another Doryramphus species and two further unidentified species (Harald Weiner, pers. comm., 25 May 2000). Published records suggest that the following species occur in Kenyan waters: Choeroichtys sculptus (Smith & Heemstra, 1986), Hippichthys cyanospilo (Troch et al., 1996), Hippichthys heptagonus, Micrognathus andersonii, Microphis fluviatilis, Microphis brachyurus, Nannocampus pictus, Phoxocampus belcheri (Smith & Heemstra, 1986), Syngnathoides biaculeatus (Troch et al., 1996; Kimani et al. 1996), and Trachyrhamphus bicoarctatus (de Troch et al., 1996; Kimani et al., 1996; Smith & Heemstra 1986). Pipefishes were exported as ornamental fish slightly more frequently than seahorses. A survey of traded aquarium fish in 1994 listed two pipefish: Doryrhamphus melanopleura and Corythoichthys haematopterus (Wanyoike, 1994). Descriptions of Export Consignments filed with the Mombasa Fisheries Office showed that 20 pipefish had been exported between March and May 2000; their destination was not indicated (Department of Fisheries Kenya, undated ec). CONSERVATION CONCERNS ABOUT SYNGNATHIDS IN KENYA Generally, Kenya‘s marine resources were in poor health in 2000: overexploitation of many fish and invertebrate stocks was inferred from their increased scarcity and the high percentage of juveniles in landings. Pressure kept increasing because of a combination of poverty, population growth and migration towards the coast (Moffat et al., 1998). The high levels of exploitation had significantly modified marine communities (McClanahan & Kaunda-Arara, 1996; Johnstone et al., 1998). Despite declining daily catch per capita, however, the number of fishers remained stable (McClanahan and Mangi, 2001). Fishing regulations on minimum mesh sizes and trawling area in Kenya could benefit seahorses, but enforcement was rare in 2000. Annual Reports of several District‘s Fisheries Offices lamented the lack of marine transport facilities, personnel and political will to help curb the use of undersized mesh-sizes and illegal fishing practices (Department of Fisheries Kenya, undated d,e). Trawlers, officially restricted to beyond five nautical miles (9.26 km) off shore, were known to concentrate their efforts between two and seven nautical miles (3.70-12.96 km) from shore. Even if they were caught and taken to court, fines were too small to induce compliance (Bernerd Fulanda, pers. comm., 17 May 2000). Both small-meshed nets and trawlers are likely to land seahorses as bycatch, leading to their death or displacement. Trawlers, other destructive fishing practices and logging in coastal areas also damage habitats: beach seining, for example, leads to trampling of reefs and seagrass beds. According to a Watamu resident, mangrove logging and the concomitant loss of breeding grounds in adjacent Mida Creek in the early 1980s had apparently led to declines in the abundance of seahorses and other fish within the creek and Watamu Marine National Park. Logging, he explained, arose in response to tourism development in Watamu. Pollution is another concern. A former ornamental fish dealer commented that in the past she and her divers had found seahorses in Port Reitz by Mombasa, but that nowadays the area was polluted and generally devoid of fish. Garbage from Mombasa‘s rubbish tips made its way north along the coast into Watamu Marine Park and had, according to a Watamu resident, been observed to affect marine life. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  17 CONCLUSIONS FOR KENYA Seahorse trade appeared not to pose a major threat to Kenyan seahorses in 2000. Exploitation of seahorses for local use and the aquarium trade seemed negligible and, apparently, no dried seahorses had been imported to or exported from Kenya since 1998. From at least 1995 to 1998, however, Kenya engaged in an import and re-export trade that may have supplied the Asian market with more than 2t of dried seahorses annually. This trade could resume should former transport links between Mombasa and Pemba, Tanzania be restored. THE SEAHORSE TRADE IN TANZANIA Tanzania exploited local seahorses and imported others from Mozambique, both to supply Asian markets. Tanzanian seahorses enjoyed no legal protection in 2000. A targeted fishery apparently existed in the past, but in 2000 seahorses traded were caught as bycatch in artisanal and commercial fisheries. No evidence was found for a trade in live seahorses. In contrast, annual exports of dried seahorses from Tanzania directly to Asia possibly exceeded one tonne, according to extrapolations from information gathered in the field. Between 1995 and 1998, crude calculations hint that a further 2.3t of dried seahorses may have been exported from Tanzania to Asia via Kenya each year. Tanzania‘s seahorse trade dates back to at least as early as 1975. Perhaps the country‘s links with China explain such early entry into the trade. After Tanzania (then Tanganyika) gained independence from Britain in December 1961, it followed a socialist path. Common views on international affairs quickly led to a close friendship between the young country and China. Consequently, China became one of the most important aid providers to Tanzania (Ping, 1999). In 2000, Chinese-built housing and Chinese lettering on many of the country‘s trucks stood witness to this close relation, as did the presence of ethnic Chinese residents in remote locations (pers. observation). SEAHORSE CATCHES IN TANZANIA Countrywide, seahorses occurred in the bycatch of artisanal and commercial fishers. The primary source of seahorses traded in Tanzania appeared to be Pemba Island. Pemban fishing communities supplying the trade included Kichawini, Msuka, Kinowe, Tumbe, Sizini, Tondooni, Kifundi, Kojani Island, Wete, Mtambwe, Mkumbuu and Mkoani (Figure 1). Traders also got supplies from Mafia, Unguja, the Songo Songo Islands and most areas on the mainland coast: Tanga Region, Kilwa and potentially other areas in Lindi District, and Mtwara District (Figure 1). Fishers based in Dar es Salaam also provided seahorses, but – according to two of their buyers and a fisher himself – were likely to catch most of these when on fishing expeditions elsewhere. Target fisheries The only report of targeted seahorse exploitation came from Tumbuju on the western side of Mafia Island. According to the recollection of one elderly fisher interviewed on Chole Island, Tumbuju fishers practised kavago fishing (a form of seining) in the early 1990s with nets of mesh sizes less than 1x1 cm. They would fish for food fish during the day and at night cast the net once in appropriate habitat specifically to catch seahorses. The seahorse fishery operated at night, explained the fisher, because seahorses were more available then. No lights were employed to attract fish. A trader from Dar es Salaam was able to buy recently deceased seahorses (still wet) from five or six groups of 15 to 20 kavago fishers when he visited each spring tide; it thus appears that seahorse fishing occurred only on the nights during or immediately preceding the visit. According to the elderly fisher, who had himself harvested seahorses, fishers in Tumbuju traded seahorses for only one year in the early 1990s. One fisher and one fish monger interviewed on Juani Island indicated that visits by traders to Tumbuju resumed between 1995 and 1997, but it was unclear whether fishers then bothered to target seahorses or just sorted them from their bycatch. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  18 Bycatch: commercial and artisanal fisheries The bulk of seahorses entering Tanzania‘s dried trade were sorted from artisanal fishers‘ bycatch; seahorses were caught mainly in seine nets and purse seines, occasionally in surround nets, and rarely in trap nets, gill nets, basket traps and cast nets. Seine nets appeared to account for the largest bycatch of seahorses in Tanzania. Two seahorse traders (Levels 2-4) implied that the seine fishery was their major source of seahorses, although 16 others did not comment. Nine observers of the trade (mostly fishers not themselves involved in the trade) also said that seahorses were caught in seines. Only three of the 71 Tanzanian artisanal fishers interviewed were directly involved in the seahorse trade, and all were seine-fishers. The use of seine nets varied and went by many names (juya, juya la kojani, chachacha, kokoro, kavago), but generally involved dragging a net to shore (beach seining) or higher grounds in mid-water (mid-water seining). Mesh sizes ranged from 0.25x0.25 cm to 2.5x2.5 cm, with the smallest mesh at the net‘s central ‗cod end‘. From a conservation point of view, beach seining was particularly worrisome as unwanted fish were mostly left to die on shore. Reportedly, seahorses and other unwanted catch were usually released alive from mid-water seines, although three of the 15 seine fishers interviewed had also collected seahorses for drying with these nets. One major seahorse exporter (Level 2-4) implied that, alongside beach seiners, sardine fishers were a major source of seahorse supplies. Sardines were generally caught with purse seines (ringnet, babila or mtando). These nets ranged in mesh size from 0.5x0.5 cm to 3x3 cm and were set in the shallows (5 m), near reefs, or in deep (60 m) open waters. Fish, located by swimming scouts or attracted with lights, were encircled and then trapped, as the bottom of the net was pulled closed before hauling. Most (7 of 9) purse seine fishers indicated that fish landed in bycatch were alive when returned to the water. One, however, explained that his group sorted bycatch upon return to the shore once it was dead. Occurrence of seahorses in the bycatch of purse seines apparently differed from location to location: a fisher in Mtwara explained that he would catch one or two seahorses per day when fishing near the port, but none elsewhere. As he only fished near the port two out of twelve days, he would see ten seahorses per month at best (mesh size 1x1 cm). Elsewhere, fishers caught ‗one each month‘ (Lindi, 1.5x1.5 cm), ‗fewer than two per fishing day‘ (Chwaka, Unguja; 2x2 cm), ‗between one and seven each night‘ (Mkoani, Pemba; mesh size unknown), or ‗half a bucket to one bucket full [=several hundred seahorses] each night‘ (Bagamoyo, 0.5x0.5 cm). Surround nets caught seahorses only occasionally according to six of seven fishers interviewed who used the technique. Surround nets varied in mesh size from 2x2 cm to 4x4 cm and were cast in a circle while swimmers prevented fish from escaping. Prior to hauling, skin-divers attached a second small-meshed net (tandio, usually 1x1 cm) to close off the bottom. Those swimming and diving saw seahorses frequently, but reported that seahorses actively moved away, and so were rarely caught. Trap nets (kutega or kusuia, 2x2 cm to 3x3 cm), too, caught seahorses only rarely: 2-3 per month, according to two of three fishers interviewed familiar with this gear. These nets were set to trap fish in shallow waters trying to follow the outgoing tide. Similarly few seahorses were caught in gill nets (jarife, 3x3 cm to 6x6 cm). Of eight jarife-fishers interviewed, three reported finding seahorses in their nets (clasping the net or seaweeds entangled therein). They implied, however, that seahorses were a rare catch (maximum two per month), and were generally thrown back into the water alive. Seahorse bycatch was even less frequent in basket traps (madema). Only two of 71 artisanal fishers interviewed in Tanzania (of whom at least 10 used madema themselves) reported that seahorses were very rarely caught in these traps: perhaps once a month. Two Fisheries officials in Tanga reported that cast nets (vimia, 1x1 cm) caught seahorses, but no fisher employing this gear could be interviewed. Between 15 and 25 commercial trawling vessels operated in Tanzania in 2000. These were another source of seahorse catch but respondents disagreed on volume. One Fisheries officer who some time ago acted as an observer on a trawling vessel in the Rufiji delta spoke of ‗lots of seahorses‘ in the trawling nets. The captain and chief engineer of one trawler, in contrast, suggested that seahorses were an infrequent catch, Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  19 which matched statements by a trader (Level 2-4) who put the number of seahorses supplied by trawl fishers at 10-15 per vessel per month. As waters trawled were rather shallow (1m-20 m) and single trawls took as little as 10-15 minutes (but up to two hours), a lot of catch was still alive when nets were hauled. Seahorses caught in trawls could potentially survive the ordeal, at least in the short term. The Fisheries officer mentioned above commented that seahorses stayed alive for up to six hours on board. Seahorses and other non-edible fish were dumped at sea, although how quickly was unclear. It seems unlikely that discarded seahorses manage to survive in the longer-term, or find suitable habitat and breeding partners where they are dumped Finally, seahorses were occasionally harvested accidentally in seaweed farms. Seaweed farming was primarily practised in Unguja, but also in Pemba (Johnstone et al., 1998). One seaweed-exporter recalled the sporadic seahorse in his shipments: approximately one per 20t-30t of seaweed. An estimate of Tanzania‘s annual seahorse bycatch is difficult, given the disparity of catch levels from area to area and an absence of accurate figures on the number of fishers and gear types in the country. However, as most seahorses traded in Tanzania were caught incidentally, estimated trade volumes can shed some light on the magnitude of annual bycatch. Accordingly, national-level seahorse bycatch was estimated to exceed 42,000 seahorses annually, given that many seahorses caught never entered the trade (see Dried seahorse trade in Tanzania). Timing of seahorse catch in Tanzania Eight of sixteen seahorse traders (Level 2-4) indicated that as a result of weather conditions favourable for drying, more seahorses were caught and traded during kaskazi, the north-easterly monsoon. Only one trader (Level 2-4) claimed the contrary. Generally, seahorses were sun-dried, either laid out or hanging. One former seahorse fisher explained that as alternative for the rainy season he would spread seahorses on wire mesh above charcoal embers. A local agent (Level 2) and a marine curio trader (Level 2-4) suggested the coincidence of kaskazi with the tourist season as another reason for increased trade during the north- easterly monsoon. While this was only speculation on the agent‘s part, the curio trader did sell dried seahorses to tourists along with sea shells. Apart from this seasonal pattern, seahorse exploitation for the trade was generally intermittent in time and space. This was a function of both itinerant buyers and preservation problems. If not properly dried or stored, seahorses are prone to rot or destruction by insects. Traders at all levels faced the challenge of passing on their stock while it was still in good condition. Fishers (Level 1), therefore, were only motivated to retain seahorses if a local agent (Level 2) was buying and/or an itinerant middleman (Level 2-3) was around. Local agents, similarly, were unwilling to risk the investment until they were certain of a buyer or, as one agent pointed out, were sometimes too short of cash to do so if no buyer was expected soon. DRIED SEAHORSE TRADE IN TANZANIA Trade routes: dried seahorses within Tanzania  Traded seahorses passed through as many as four trade levels in Tanzania before they ended up in foreign hands (Figure 2). Fishers (Level 1) generally sold seahorses to a local agent or itinerant buyer. Local agents (Level 2) often were fishers themselves and purchased seahorses only from members of their own fishing community. Habitually, local agents had one or two regular buyers, usually itinerant middlemen (Level 2- 3). These middlemen often fostered close business relations by providing agents with a baseline salary as well as cash advances to enable them to purchase seahorses from fishers. In locations where itinerant buyers did not have permanent agents, they bought from fishers directly or asked locals to act as agents for them over short time frames. Itinerant middlemen then transported seahorses from source locations to the marketing centre. There they passed their stock onto either traders who sold to foreigners within the country (Level 2-4) or exporters (Level 2-4). The latter two categories of traders occasionally, however, skipped intermediate levels and bought from fishers or local agents directly. Foreign buyers (Level 2-5) within Tanzania occasionally did the same. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  20 Most commonly, dried seahorses were taken from their source to Dar es Salaam directly before leaving the country. A few possibly passed through Zanzibar Town first or were exported from there directly. A third alternative was direct export from Pemba to Mombasa, Kenya (Figure 3). Domestic trade: dried seahorses and the curio trade in Tanzania A few dried Tanzanian seahorses each year were purchased by souvenir-hunters. Dar es Salaam had for years housed a marine curio market where seashells, dried sea stars and dried puffer fish were offered to tourists. Precious or fragile items, including seahorses, remained tucked away until customers showed special interest. All four traders interviewed at this market indicated that tourists occasionally bought one or two dried seahorses for educational purposes or as souvenirs. Claims that seahorses were sold to tourists on Pemba (according to a Kenyan dive tour operator) and Unguja (according to a Pemban fisher) could not be substantiated, although a marine products trader dealing in seaweeds, seashells and sea cucumbers did remember being asked for seahorses by an Italian shell dealer in Zanzibar Town in the 1970s, perhaps to sell as curios in Europe. Exports/Re-exports: seahorses from Tanzania - destinations and trade routes The primary destination for dried seahorses from Tanzania (including those routed via Kenya) appeared to be the Asian medicine market. Two major traders (Level 2-4 and Level 3-4) had clients in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Traders at the marine curio market (Level 2-4) said that ‗Chinese‘ were their major clients for seahorses: it was unclear whether respondents knew their clients‘ nationality or assumed any East-Asian- looking person to be Chinese. Another smaller trader (Level 4) sold exclusively to mainland Chinese who resided in Dar es Salaam. This trader commented that—among the Chinese he knew—only those from JiangXu province in central coastal China purchased seahorses, not those from Beijing. According to US import statistics several hundred Tanzanian seahorses were also imported to the USA between 1996 and 2000. The vast majority of these seahorses (625 of 628), however, were imported via Hong Kong (US Fish and Wildlife Service, undated). Names of three receiving companies in the USA and three exporting companies in Hong Kong suggest that at least some of these seahorses may have been intended for use in arts and crafts Seahorses destined for the Asian market were either exported by Tanzanian traders directly or taken abroad by foreign visitors. The latter included both professional traders, for whom seahorses and other marine products comprised the mainstay of their businesses, and amateur traders, who resided in Tanzania as doctors, engineers or aid workers and traded seahorses only on the occasion that they returned home for visits or for good.  Figure 2. Agents in Tanzania‘s dried seahorse trade and their interactions. Source: author‘s research. *Includes both curio traders and traders exclusively targeting the Asian medicine market  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  21 The one Tanzanian exporter (Level 2-4) interviewed sent shipments to Hong Kong by courier. Another trader (Level 3-4) knew of colleagues who exported directly via the Freeport in Dubai to Japan and North America. ‗Chinese‘ visiting or resident in Tanzania bulk-bought seahorses from local traders (or fishers) before returning home, according to three fishers in Pemba, one fisher in Tanga, and five traders (Level 2-4) in Dar es Salaam. Many of them apparently were amateur traders. Traders (Level 2-4) in Dar es Salaam believed that these East Asians generally transported the seahorses in their personal luggage on commercial flights. While traders often assumed that these clients distributed the seahorses to friends and relatives once in China, a Chinese resident interviewed by the author in Dar es Salaam explained that, once in China, he sold them to a factory. He implied that the factory used them to manufacture medicines, but knew not what type of medicines. Although many foreign buyers apparently were amateur traders, some visited specifically to purchase seahorses and other marine products, such as sea cucumbers and shark fins, for the Asian medicine and delicacy market. According to one of their suppliers (a level 3-4 trader in Dar es Salaam), Asian entrepreneurs had established links with Tanzanian traders. Prior to arrival, they drew up contracts with these partners specifying quantity, quality and price of products to be supplied. Payment was arranged through relatives living in Tanzania. Sea cucumbers and shark fins were generally shipped, but, like the amateur traders, these professional traders preferred to transport seahorses in their personal luggage. Imports: dried seahorses into Tanzania In addition to Tanzanian sources, at least one exporter (Level 2-4) based in Dar es Salaam said he obtained seahorses from Mozambique and two traders (Level 3-4 and Level 4) had explored the availability of seahorses in Mombasa, Kenya. Whether Mombasa ever supplied was unclear. The trader importing and re-exporting Mozambican seahorses did not have permanent business partners there. Instead, he explained, he visited occasionally to buy seahorses personally from fishers (Level 1) and impromptu agents (Level 1-2) in various Mozambican locations. Volumes: dried seahorses traded in and exported from Tanzania Internal seahorse flows: volumes traded by local agents and middlemen A targeted seahorse fishery on Mafia Island in the past apparently yielded tens of thousands of seahorses each month. The fisher who reported that seahorses were targeted by fishers in Tumbuju, Mafia, in the early 1990s, claimed that a trader (Level 2) from Dar es Salaam had bought 10 tenga (boxes, in this case approximately 30x30x60 cm) of freshly dead (still wet) seahorses when he visited each spring tide. Five or six groups of 15 to 20 kavago (seine) fishers each, including the respondent himself, had supplied the  Figure 3. Alternative trade routes for dried Tanzanian  seahorses. Source: author‘s research.  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  22 trader. Each fishing group, he said, yielded one to two tenga a night and seahorses were dried by the trader. Hence seahorse fishing was presumably limited to one or two nights coinciding with the trader‘s appearance twice a month (this would yield 5-24 tenga and allow the trader to dry seahorses before they rotted). The fisher recalled that, at the time, a single seahorse sold for TSh0.20 (then worth approximately a tenth of one US cent), and a night‘s catch would earn each fishing group TSh300 to TSh1,000 (then US$1.50 to US$5.00). A fisher‘s average nightly share was TSh35 (US$0.18), which according to the respondent ‗was good money at the time—enough to pay a fine for kicking someone.‘ His information allows us to estimate the number of seahorses traded between Tumbuju and Dar es Salaam each month in the early 1990s:  If each fisher earned TSh35 for a nightly seahorse catch, the pooled income of about 15 fishers in one group must have been TSh525.  At TSh0.20 per seahorses, TSh525 must have been payment for 2,625 seahorses. Hence one group of kavago fishers apparently caught approximately 2,600 seahorses each night they targeted them.  Since the trader was supplied by five or six fishing groups, he must have obtained at least 13,000 (5x2,600) seahorses each visit, more if six groups supplied and fished for two nights in a row (up to 31,000 seahorses per visit).  Supposedly, the trader obtained 10 tenga per visit. Above calculations, therefore, put 1,300 to 3,100 seahorses in each of these boxes. Given their reported size (30x30x60 cm), this is plausible.  Hence this particular trader may have, in the early 1990s, taken between 26,000 and 62,000 (2x13,000 or 31,000) seahorses per month to Dar es Salaam from Tumbuju alone. In 2000, seahorses traded in Tanzania were collected from fishers‘ bycatch rather than targeted. Nevertheless, local agents (Level 2) and middlemen (Level 2-3) managed to amass thousands of seahorses. Two middlemen on Pemba suggested they collected more than 4,000 seahorses each year. A local agent in Tumbe, Pemba, said he acumulated 20 kg of dried seahorses over the last kaskazi season (north-easterly monsoons, December 1999 to March 2000). He estimated 200 dry seahorses per kilogramme but this seemed too few given that 16 dry Pemban specimens obtained by the author weighed a mean of 2.4 g (range 0.7 g-7.4 g), equal to 417 seahorses per kilo; perhaps ―dried‖ seahorses were still fresh enough to weigh more heavily. If we accept the informant‘s conservative estimate, he accumulated 4,000 (20x200) seahorses in four months. A local agent in Wete, Pemba, claimed similar amounts at 5,000 dried seahorses per kaskazi. However, this agent‘s weekly estimates—50 per week during kaskazi, 20 per week during the rest of the year)—come to many fewer: 800 seahorses over the four kaskazi months, 720 over the rest of the year. Neither of these agents were necessarily the only local agents in their community. Two middlemen estimated their yearly seahorse trade at roughly 20,000 seahorses. A Pemba-based middleman (Level 2-3) said he had shipped 1,800 to 2,000 dried seahorses each month to Dar es Salaam for the past six years. That is at least 21,600 dried seahorse annually. A competitor (Level 2-3) based in Dar es Salaam, who obtained the bulk of his seahorses from Pemba, said he traded between 3,000 and 4,900 seahorses each month in kaskazi, 400-600 per month the remaining eight months. Per annum this comes to between 15,200 and 24,400 dried seahorses—volumes similar to those traded by the middleman above. Statements from these two middlemen, a local agent (Level 2) on Pemba and a Dar es Salaam-based exporter (Level 2-4) with Pemban suppliers suggest that there were between four and six itinerant middlemen operating on Pemba Island in 2000. If all operated at similar levels, say 20,000 seahorses annually, Pemba alone may have contributed 80,000 (4x20,000) to 120,000 (6x20,000) dried seahorses to the trade each year. At an average dried weight of 2.4 g per seahorse, this constitutes 192 kg to 288 kg. Volumes exported by professional traders The bulk of seahorses harvested in Pemba and elsewhere must be destined for the Asian market, because both alternative uses, local consumption by traditional healers and souvenir purchases by tourists, apparently involved only limited numbers of seahorses. Traders (Level 2-4) at Dar es Salaam‘s marine Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  23 curio market who supplied both healers and tourists implied that these customers bought seahorses only irregularly and purchased two at a time at most. No official records existed for seahorse exports in 2000. According to the only exporter (Level 2-4) interviewed, dried seahorses were categorised as ‗fish‘ on custom forms. Other high value marine products, such as shark fins and sea cucumbers, were often mixed with fish offal and thus disguised as such, since ‗fish offal‘ was the cheapest tax category for marine products (Simon Milledge, pers. comm., 27 June, 2000). Nevertheless, information provided by informants allows us to estimate the number of dried seahorses exported from Tanzania each year. Two upper-level traders, Export Trader A and Export Trader B (both Level 2-4), were able to provide figures on seahorse exports: Export Trader A used courier services to ship his seahorses abroad. Based in Dar es Salaam, he had been mailing approximately 10 kg of dried seahorses to Hong Kong each month since 1985, with 20-50% reportedly originating in Pemba. This translates into exports of about 120 kg or about 42,000 seahorses per annum, with 24 kg-60 kg annually coming from Pemba. A maximum of 2 kg each month, he said, were grade I seahorses (large enough that 100-200 fish make a kilo), and the remainder were grades II (200- 400 seahorses/kg) through IV (600+ seahorses/kg). Export Trader B, also based in Dar es Salaam, supplied two Asian traders (Level 5), one from Hong Kong, one from Taiwan. These traders visited Tanzania several times a year and carried home 10 kg to 20 kg of dried seahorses in their suitcases each time. Between them, reported their supplier, they fetched 70 kg to 100 kg of mixed seahorses and pipehorses annually. Specimens obtained from Export Trader B had a mean weight of 3.7 g, supporting the supplier‘s statement that there were 200-300 dried animals to the kilo. Hence between 14,000 and 30,000 dried syngnathids left the country annually via this route. Known exports by professional traders A and B, therefore, annually amounted to between 190 kg to 220 kg, or 56,000 to 72,000 dried seahorses. Other traders were also inferred to export seahorses. Their number had to be deduced from informants‘ statements and Customs records: Export trader A implied that, in 2000, his was the only large-scale export business for seahorses: three former competitors apparently died or went bankrupt, and others were discouraged by the Asian crisis in 1997. In contrast, export trader B spoke of four operating exporters other than himself. A retired seaweed trader, who had considered trading seahorses (but never did so), mentioned a third active seahorse exporter in Dar es Salaam. This latter person appeared with 16 others in the 1995 Customs records for mainland Tanzania as exporting marine products (sea cucumbers, shark fins, seashells and fish offal) destined for Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and India (Anon., undated). Presumably others of these exporters were aware of the value of seahorses in Asia and may well have included them in their shipments. At least one seahorse exporter in 2000 was based in the Zanzibar archipelago. A local agent (Level 2) in Mkokotoni explained that his buyer, a businessman in Stone Town who had been exporting chitons to the Middle East for the past 15 years, began requesting seahorses in late 1999. No Customs records listing marine products traders were obtained for Zanzibar. Hence, in 2000, there were four known players in Tanzania‘s seahorse export: the person exporting to Hong Kong by courier (Export Trader A), the supplier of visiting traders from Hong Kong and Taiwan (Export Trader B), a further exporter based in Dar es Salaam and one based in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Assuming that the latter two trade similar volumes as the first two (100 kg annually), 400 kg of dried seahorses left Tanzania each year. Export Trader B suggested at least a few more seahorse exporters. Assuming that one third (5) or half (8) of the 16 other entrepreneurs listed in 1995 Customs records as marine products exporters also traded seahorses at similar levels, professional traders potentially exported as many as one tonne of dried seahorses (900 kg-1,200 kg) from Tanzania per annum. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  24 Volumes exported by amateur traders Asian travellers possibly increased the export of seahorses from Tanzania significantly. One Tanzanian trader (Level 3-4), an employee with a Chinese construction company in Dar es Salaam, told the author that his Chinese colleagues had enquired about seahorses eight months previously. He had, therefore, established business relations with a middleman (Level 2-3) in Dar es Salaam and ordered a cousin in his home town near Tanga to begin procuring seahorses from fishers there. As a result, he had managed to supply his Chinese colleagues with 2,000 seahorses over the eight months, with more in stock for future purchases. This very specific trade in seahorses by a novice trader may, however, not tell us much about overall trade volumes. Most seahorses exported in the luggage of foreign amateur traders probably originated in the marine curio market in Dar es Salaam, so numbers traded here can help us estimate overall trade through this route. The four traders interviewed at the market said that all 40 of their colleagues traded seahorses when available. One said that at any one time at least six traders had seahorses. A middleman (Level 2-3) based in Pemba who sold his seahorses at the Dar es Salaam marine curio market also spoke of six traders; perhaps an indication that six of the 40 traders at this market took the seahorse business more seriously than others. Among the four interviewed at the market, one trader said he sold 100-200 dried seahorses per year. A colleague estimated his own seahorse sales at 5-30 each month. The other two respondents traded seahorses in much higher numbers. One explained that from December to February, he sold up to 50 seahorses each week (200 per month), the rest of the year 20-30 seahorses per week (80-120 per month). The other estimated his monthly sales at 200-300 seahorses. These numbers match an observation Frontier researchers made in 1998: then traders at this market had plastic bags containing approximately 300 dried seahorses (~ 2 kg) behind their stalls (Martin Guard, pers. comm., 6 June 2000). If six traders at Dar es Salaam‘s marine curio market sold around 200 seahorses each month, then foreigners purchased at least 14,400 seahorses each year, plus several hundred more from the other 34 traders who dealt in seahorses occasionally. This estimate of around 15,000 seahorses per year is probably a severe underestimate. One Pemban middleman (Level 2-3) reported supplying the market with 2,000 seahorses each month, 24,000 per annum. Traders named fishers in Dar es Salaam (and not Pemban middlemen), as their primary source, particularly citing fishers returning from fishing expeditions to the islands. One fisher in Tanga remembered that, until he left the capital in 1998, he supplied marine curio traders in Dar es Salaam with 800-1,000 dried seahorses each time his crew returned from a three-month expedition to Mafia Island. A fisher and a fish monger on Chole Island also reported that between 1995 and 1997, marine curio traders from Dar es Salaam regularly visited Tumbuju on Mafia Island to fetch 50-100 dried seahorses each time. In fact, information provided by one of the traders (Level 2-4) at the market indicated that East Asian customers probably purchased more than 20,000 dried seahorses at the curio market each year. According to this trader, ‗Chinese‘ living in Dar es Salaam visited regularly to buy as many seahorses as were available (another trader explained that they came by often, because they purchased fresh fish at the adjacent fish market). Reportedly, at least one regular Chinese client came by each day during the low trading season, and two each day December through February. Each visit they bought at least 50, but preferably 100 dried seahorses, said the trader. For 12 weeks (December-February), Chinese residents weekly fetched at least 700 seahorses (50 seahorses x 2 buyers x 7 days/week) from the marine curio market; a cumulative total of 8,400 seahorses. For the other 40 weeks of the year (March-November), they fetched 350 (50x1x7) each week.; a total of 14,000 seahorses.Over the year, therefore, they obtained 22,400 dried seahorses to take home to Asia; more if they managed to purchase 100 seahorses per visit from time to time. If the average weight of dried seahorses collected by the author (2.36 g, n = 25) is representative, 22,400 seahorses approximate 53 kg. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  25 Volume estimates for Tanzanian dried seahorse exports obtained from foreign import statistics Two foreign sources, Customs records from the USA and Hong Kong, provide some information on Tanzanian seahorse exports. According to US records, 628 dried seahorses from Tanzania were shipped to the USA between 1996 and 2000, for a total value of US$ 36,076 (Table 2). Only three of these seahorses, however, were shipped directly from Tanzania to the USA. All others were imported via Hong Kong. The trade involved eleven US recipients, seven companies in Hong Kong and three companies in Tanzania (Tanzanian exporters were only recorded for the three incidences of direct shipment; US Fish and Wildlife Service, undated). While the names of three receivers in the USA and three exporters in Hong Kong imply that some of these seahorses were intended for use in arts and crafts, their shipment via Hong Kong and the high price commanded by some of the shipments are suggestive of their use in TCM by Asian communities in the USA Tanzanian seahorses do not appear in Hong Kong‘s import statistics, perhaps because anything transported in personal luggage, postal packets valued at less than HK$4,000 (US$512) or sent as a gift is exempt from Customs declaration (Boris Kwan, in litt., 28 September 2000). However, Hong Kong Customs records do show that 1.68t of dried seahorses purportedly originating in Tanzania were re- exported from Hong Kong to Mainland China in August 1999, with a total value of HK$242,000 (US$30 976; Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong, undated). Total volume of dried seahorse exports from Tanzania Estimates of dried seahorse exports from Tanzania by professional and amateur traders suggest that more than one tonne of seahorses left Tanzania each year. If the average weight (2.36 g) of the 25 specimens collected by the author is representative, this means that Tanzania yearly exported more than 42,000 seahorses. Their primary destination was Asia (Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Taiwan), with a few seahorses ultimately reaching the USA. Although Hong Kong Customs records between January 1998 and June 2001 contain only one record of Tanzanian seahorses, they seem to support above estimates, given that 1.68t of dried Tanzanian seahorses re-exported from Hong Kong to China in August 1999. Table 2. Shipments of dried seahorses from Tanzania to the USA between 1996 and 2000, as recorded by US Customs. Yearly and overall totals were calculated from the data provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as was the price per seahorse. Intended use was indicated as ‗curio?‘ if the name of the exporting or receiving company implied that they deal in arts and crafts. Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Year and shipment Quantity       (# seahorses) Value      (US $) US $ per seahorse Trade Route Intended Use 1996         shipment 1 50 2,872 57.44 via Hong Kong ? shipment 2 65 4,080 62.77 via Hong Kong curio? shipment 3 100 7,062 70.62 via Hong Kong curio? Total 1996 215 14,014 65.18     1997        shipment 1 1 0 0.00 direct ? shipment 2 75 2,226 29.68 via Hong Kong ? shipment 3 11 11,814 1,074.00 via Hong Kong curio? shipment 4 92 5,193 56.45 via Hong Kong curio? shipment 5 70 700 10.00 via Hong Kong ? shipment 6 67 1,104 16.48 via Hong Kong ? Total 1997 316 21,037 66.57     1998: no shipments        1999        shipment 1 1 50 50.00 direct ? shipment 2 1 500 500.00 direct ? Total 1999 2 550 275.00     2000        shipment 1 95 475 5.00 via Hong Kong curio? Total 1996-2000 628 36,076 57.45     Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  26 In light of these figures, it is surprising that exports from Pemba Island to Kenya may have totalled 2.3t annually in the mid to late 1990s (see Dried seahorse trade in Kenya). The estimate of volumes traded between Pemba and Mombasa should not be discarded easily, however. It assumes that three Pemban villages (Level 2-3) were able to each accumulate 30 kg of dried seahorses—approximately 12,500 seahorses—per fortnight. As described earlier, fishers in a single village on Mafia Island reportedly caught such numbers of seahorses (13,000 per fortnight) with surprising ease in the early 1990s. Values: dried seahorses in Tanzania Seahorse prices in Tanzania were highly variable in place and time; where trade was a recent phenomenon, prices were low (Table 3). Top-level traders (Level 4) appeared to foster ignorance about the use and destination of seahorses, perhaps in order to keep the prices low at lower trade levels (2 and 3). Most fishers and lower-level traders had no idea what dried seahorses might be used for. One middleman (Level 2-3) complained that his buyers were reluctant to provide any information despite his frequent queries. Fishers received very poor pay for seahorses they supplied. One trader (Level 2-4) stated that local agents (Level 2) often diverted funds intended for fishers: they paid fishers less per piece than their buyer instructed them to, so as to make profit additional to the baseline salary they received. This was confirmed by a local agent (Level 2). Traders (Level 2-4) dealing with foreign buyers explained that they adjusted prices according to their assessment of the client‘s exigency to buy. As for prices fetched abroad, the re-export value of Tanzanian seahorses recorded by Hong Kong Customs statistics is much lower at US$18.44/kg than the price a Tanzanian seahorse exporter supposedly fetched in Hong Kong for his seahorses in 2000 (US$80-300/kg). Re-export values reported to Hong Kong Customs, however, are thought to be purposefully understated, so as to evade taxes. Dried Tanzanian seahorses imported to the USA were worth anything from US$5.00 to US$1074.00 per piece, according to US Customs records (Table 2). How reliable value estimates are in these records is unclear. LIVE SEAHORSE TRADE IN TANZANIA No evidence was found for live seahorse trade In Tanzania. In 2000, no ornamental fish dealer was licensed to export marine fish from Tanzania. Live fish leaving the country originated in the East African Great Lakes (Sadock P.N. Kimaro, pers. comm., 23 June 2000). Marine life had been exported in the past, but an aquarium dealer interviewed could not think of any colleagues trading in marine fish in mid 2000. Neither did live Tanzanian seahorses appear in import statistics of the European Community, Hong Kong or the USA. ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF THE SEAHORSE FISHERY IN TANZANIA Seahorses provided extra cash but contributed relatively little to fishers‘ and traders‘ incomes. No agents involved in the seahorse trade specialised in these animals. Fishers gleaned seahorses from their bycatch when buyers were around, but rarely targeted seahorses specifically. The money they could make from seahorses was described by one fisher as ‗cigarette money.‘ Local agents tended to be fishers themselves or fish mongers for whom seahorses were a supplementary source of income. Traders generally accorded seahorses low importance in their portfolio because (a) they traded only small quantities and (b) vagaries in demand and supply lead to price fluctuations and stocking problems. Traders at higher levels tended to have diverse business portfolios, although most specialised in marine products, including seafood, seaweeds, shells, sea cucumbers and shark fins. One middleman interviewed noted that the seahorse trade contributes at most 10% of his total income. Another estimated that seahorses provided one quarter of his total earnings, covering the his business‘ transport costs (transporting seafood from Pemba to Dar es Salaam). Traders catering to foreigners at Dar es Salaam‘s marine curio market felt that seahorses accounted for perhaps 2-3% of their business. A major exporter guessed that seahorses earned him a tenth of what his cigarette business provided. While cigarettes were the backbone of his business, this exporter also dealt in insects, reptiles, birds, monkeys, gemstones, gall stones, mangrove products and above mentioned marine products. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  27 Table 3. Comparison of the value of seahorses in Tanzania over place, time and trade level. Source: author‘s research.  Price per seahorse (unless otherwise noted) received by: Location and year of sale Fisher Local Agent Middleman Exporters and traders selling to foreigners locally (Level 1) (Level 2) (Level 2-3) (Level 2-4) TSh US$* TSh US$* TSh US$* TSh US$* Tanga         2000 30 0.04 500-800 0.65-1.04     Dar es Salaam†        2000 300- 1200 0.40- 1.56   150-700 0.19-0.91 400- 6,000 0.52- 7.80 2000     80,000- 100,000/kg 104- 130/kg Export to Hong Kong: US$80- 300/kg‡ 1998     25,000/kg 37.61   1995     150-200 0.26-0.35   1994     100 0.2   1975       0.5-1 0.07- 0.14 Pemba         2000 50-150 0.06- 0.19 350-400 0.45-0.52     2000   13,000/k g      1996/97   200/kg 0.33   Export to Kenya: KSh40/kg (US$0.73/kg) 1995 Children collecting seahorses off the beach  for Chinese residents in Mkaoni were paid in-kind with biscuits and candy 1994 50 0.1       Unguja         2000 14,000/ kg 18.18/kg 17,000/ kg 22.08/kg     1994/95 7,000/ kg 12.18 Fishers declined the offer. Export to Hong Kong US$20-30/kg Mafia         early '90s  0.02 0.001       Unspecified        2000 80-100 0.10- 1.30       * Currency exchange rates for former years were taken from Economist Intelligence Unit (1999, 1994 and 1986). † Middlemen who sell in Dar es Salaam generally obtain seahorses cheaply elsewhere, which may explain why they sometimes get less for dried seahorses than fishers in Dar es Salaam. ‡ Grade I (100-200 seahorses/kg): US$300; grade II (200-400 seahorses/kg): US$130/kg; grade IV (600 seahorses/kg): US$80-140 in low and high season respectively. OTHER SYNGNATHID SPECIES IN TANZANIA The author encountered two pipefish species for sale in Tanzania: Syngnathoides biaculeatus (Alligator pipefish) and Hippichthys cyanospilus (identified by Sara Lourie, in litt., 13 August 2001). H. cyanospilus specimens were seen for sale at only one curio stall in Dar es Salaam. S. biaculeatus, in contrast, was frequently traded alongside seahorses by traders supplying the Asian medicinal market. Seventeen S. biaculeatus specimens obtained by the author ranged in length from 13.5 cm to 26 cm and weighed an average of 2 g (range 0.9 g to 6.3 g, n = 17). Two purchased H. cyanospilus specimens measured 13 cm in length, weighing 0.64 g on average (range 0.53-0.74; n = 2). Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  28 Tanzanian fishers were well aware that pipefishes are closely related to seahorses. S. biaculeatus, which have prehensile tails, were generally viewed as just another type of seahorse. Their local name in Dar es Salaam was sea lizard, while fishers in Mtwara referred to them as sindano (needle). According to fishers, pipefish occur in the same habitats as seahorses. They have been noted in Tanga, Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, Tumbe and Mkoani on Pemba, Fumba and unspecified locations on Unguja, and the western side of Mafia Island. A trader (Level 3-4) commented that the proportions of seahorses and pipefish supplied differed with source and that seahorses were larger in areas with more Alligator pipefish. One trader (Level 2-3) stated that S. biaculeatus from Dar es Salaam were larger than those from Pemba. Another (Level 3-4), who donated two large specimens (5.8 g and 6.3 g), said they stemmed from Tanga or Pemba, while smaller ones were found in Mafia. Larger specimens were preferred.  A small number of S. biaculeatus each year were reportedly consumed locally for use in traditional medicine. According to two vendors (Level 2-4) at Dar es Salaam‘s marine curio market, Tanzanian traditional healers used seahorses and S. biaculeatus interchangeably. Larger numbers of S. biaculeatus have been traded alongside seahorses to Asian medicine markets since at least 1975, according to one export trader. A local agent (Level 2) in Tumbe, Pemba, said he obtained up to 2 kg of dried S. biaculeatus a week or 20 kg over one trading season (December to March). The mean weight of three specimens from Tumbe was 1.4 g (range 1.07-1.73 g), which suggests that there are approximately 700 individuals to a kilogram. A middleman (Level 2-3) in Dar es Salaam reportedly used to sell between 1,000 and 4,000 S. biaculeatus from Pemba and Dar es Salaam per month in the mid-1990s. In 2000, he explained, these pipefish were not in demand. Export Trader A (Level 2-4), commented that the primary market for S. biaculeatus was Japan, but that business was ‗no good‘ due to unreliable orders. As a result he had sold his samples to another Tanzanian, who presumably took up the trade. Export Trader B, in business since 1975, said he received both seahorses and S. biaculeatus from 40 to 50 sources spread across the country and had both in stock. He supplied visiting traders from Hong Kong and Taiwan with 70 kg to 100 kg (dry weight) of mixed pipefish and seahorses annually. The mean dry weight of specimens provided by this trader was 3.7 g (range 1.5-3.6 g for three seahorses, 5.8-6.3 g for two pipehorses, but the latter were particularly large specimens). The 70 kg to 100 kg he sold annually must hence contain between 18,900 and 27,000 dried animals. If Alligator pipefish constituted half of his consignments, he sold between 9,450 and 13,500 S. biaculeatus each year. Unknown, but potentially large numbers of pipehorses were also purchased by ‗Chinese‘ at Dar es Salaam‘s marine curio market. Traders (Level 2-4) at the market stated that Chinese visitors and residents were their main clients for pipefishes: they bulk bought them just as they did seahorses. While no official records of seahorse export could be found, annual Fisheries statistics for 1989 record the export of 145 kg of sea lizards, worth TSh87,725 or US$382 (US$2.63/kg; Fisheries Division Tanzania, undated). No listings, however, occurred in subsequent years (records for previous years were not obtained). Pipefishes were generally cheaper than seahorses, reportedly because they were easier to get from fishers (Table 4). This may also reflect the relatively low value attributed to pipefishes in Asia. The fact that pipefishes were easier for fishers to collect than seahorses suggests that pipefishes were either more abundant or that their habitat or behaviour made them more prone to capture. Desiccated specimens found under drying nets in Tumbe and Bagamoyo indicated that Tanzanian pipefishes certainly are vulnerable to incidental catch. Any concerns over bycatch and environmental degradation with respect to seahorses also apply to their relatives. Table 4. Comparison of current values of Tanzanian pipefishes and seahorses by location and trade level. Source: author‘s research. Location Pipefish Price Seahorse Price Received by: Dar es Salaam TSh150-250 each TSh100-500 each TSh500-700 TSh300-1,200 each TSh350-700 each TSh400-6,000 each Fishers (Level 1) Middlemen (Level 2-3) Traders catering to foreigners locally (Level 2-4) Tumbe, Pemba TSh30-60 each TSh11,000/kg TSh50-60 each TSh13,000/kg Fishers (Level 1) Local Agent (Level 2) Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  29 CONSERVATION CONCERNS ABOUT SYNGNATHIDS IN TANZANIA As in Kenya, seahorses in Tanzania inhabited troubled waters. Although Tanzania‘s Fisheries Act banned blast fishing and beach seines, these destructive fishing techniques continued to degrade Tanzania‘s coastal environments. Dynamite fishing was rampant in the late 1990s and—although it had been curbed in certain areas—still occurred where enforcement was less vigilant (Johnstone et al., 1998; Moffat et al., 1998). Beach seining remained wide-spread, particularly in Lindi district and Bagamoyo (pers. obs.), even though fishers were well aware that landing juvenile fish and perturbing benthic vegetation was detrimental in the long term. In combination with population pressure, these destructive fishing techniques have lead to declining resources. Human activities are said to have affected productivity in 30- 40% of East African reefs (Moffat et al., 1998) and declines in catch per unit effort of fin fish have been documented (Johnstone et al., 1998; Semesi et al., 1998), a finding echoed by several respondents. Mangrove cutting (Semesi et al., 1998), coral mining for lime-stone production (pers. obs.) and pollution (Johnstone et al., 1998) all contribute to coastal degradation. Given the general status of marine resources in Tanzania, certain trends in Tanzanian seahorse exploitation are particularly worrisome. First, demand potentially exceeded supply: four traders (Level 2-4) stated that demand was insatiable: their buyers would purchase many more seahorses were they available. In contrast, four others (Level 2-4) indicated that demand fluctuated highly, with supplies sometimes exceeding trading opportunities. Such fluctuations may be attributable to the paucity of stable business links between Tanzanian traders and customers abroad, leaving much of the trade dependent on irregular journeys by professional and amateur traders. Even where stable links existed, Tanzanian traders were likely to be suppliers of secondary importance to their overseas clients, contacted only when more traditional sources failed. This situation could change, if seahorse stocks in primary supplying areas become depleted. Second, exploitation of seahorses may be rising, with potentially harmful effects on wild populations. Two middlemen (Level 2-3) indicated that volumes traded had increased since the mid-1990s as a result of increased fishing effort. While most fishers and traders had not noticed any change in seahorse availability over the last 10-30 years, one major trader (Level 3-4) reported a marked decline in seahorses since 1975, and a former exporter (Level 2-3) reportedly witnessed seahorse supplies plummet 85-90% in only three fortnights in 1996/97. Then, seahorse exploitation in Mtambwe, Pemba had only just begun. In the first month, yields were high at 180-270 kg per fortnight. One fortnight later the trader secured no more than 30 kg. The trader inferred that the seahorses had learned to avoid nets or migrated, but fishing may have greatly depleted the local seahorse population. Finally, two middleman (Level 2-3) commented that the percentage of small seahorses in their supplies had increased since 1995 and large seahorses had become harder to get. They primarily traded in Pemban seahorses. Most other traders were undecided over changes in size or type. According to one trader (Level 2-4), with seahorses, ‗like human beings, you have thin and fat ones; that has never changed‘. Independent of exploitation, a Fisheries officer in Tanga commented that seahorses had declined locally as a result of the El Niño event in 1997. Associated rains had apparently washed boulders and sediment into Tanga Bay that destroyed seagrass beds. While some recovery had occurred, seahorses had reportedly not yet reached their pre-El Niño abundance. However, no formal study had been undertaken; the Fisheries officer presumably reached his conclusions after discussions with fishers. CONCLUSIONS FOR TANZANIA All five seahorse species present in Tanzanian waters, as well as their relative, Syngnathoides biaculeatus, are vulnerable to exploitation. Annual exports of dried seahorses from Tanzania directly to Asia may well exceed one tonne. Until 1998, potentially more than two tonnes of dried Tanzanian seahorses also left the country via Kenya. Accounts of declines in seahorse availability and increasing scarcity of large seahorses, although few in number, could be early warning signs that, at least locally, wild populations are under pressure. Close monitoring of the trade‘s future development—best done in conjunction with research into local abundance and distribution of syngnathid species—is, therefore, advisable to allow for a timely response should conservation action become necessary. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  30 THE SEAHORSE TRADE IN MOZAMBIQUE Anecdotal evidence suggests that Mozambican seahorses are exploited both dead and alive. Given the scarcity of information, it is currently impossible, however, to judge the extent of either trade. Information sources in Mozambique Trade in seahorses has not been investigated in Mozambique. However, respondents interviewed during trade surveys in Tanzania provided some information. Furthermore, marine scientists working in southern Africa supplemented findings, as indicated. Seahorses in Mozambique Little is known about the distribution and taxonomy of Mozambican Seahorses. According to one Tanzanian trader (Level 2), they are rumoured to be larger than those in Tanzania. In the Quirimba Archipelago, northern Mozambique, they apparently occur in seagrass beds dominated by Enhalus acoroides (F.Gell, in litt. to A. Vincent, 9 January 1999). At least two species, Hippocampus borboniensis and H. camelopardalis, are believed to occur in Mozambican waters (Lourie et al., 1999). SEAHORSE CATCHES IN MOZAMBIQUE Target fisheries and bycatch A Tanzanian trader (Level 2-4) based in Dar es Salaam, who obtained Mozambican seahorses for re-export to Hong Kong, commented that fishing methods in Mozambique were similar to those in Tanzania. Presumably, therefore, seahorses were mainly caught as bycatch in seine nets, both beach seines and purse seines. Seahorse bycatch in the Mozambican seine fishery has been observed in Quirimba Archipelago, northern Mozambique (F. Gell, in litt. to A. Vincent, 9 January 1999). Seahorses seen for sale on Inhaca Island, Maputo Bay, in 1997 were also thought to have been caught as bycatch in seine nets (M. Cherry in litt. To A Vincent, 9 February 1999). A biologist with Mozambique‘s Instituto de Investigacao Pesqueira reported in 1996 that seahorses occurred in the bycatch of bottom trawls targeting scad and mackerel. She also suggested that some fishers targeted seahorses directly, catching them by hand (M. Ascensao Ribeiro Pinto, in litt. to A. Vincent, 14 February 1996). It was unclear from her report whether seahorses thus caught were to be traded live for use in aquaria or dried to be sold as curios or exported to Asia. DRIED SEAHORSE TRADE IN MOZAMBIQUE Trade routes, domestic trade, exports In 2000, at least one Tanzanian trader (Level 2-4) based in Dar es Salaam imported dried seahorses from Mozambique, then re-exported them to Hong Kong. He had no permanent business partners in Mozambique. Instead, he occasionally visited for one or two weeks, and engaged impromptu agents in several locations. Towards the end of each stay, he collected from these agents as well as directly from fishermen however many seahorses they had managed to gather during his stay. Apparently, each fisher gathered five to ten seahorses in this time frame. The trader did not clarify how many fishers engaged in the seahorse harvest nor how much they were paid. He said he had obtained seahorses in Msimbwa, Mwibu, Uro, Matemwe, Mucojo, Kitaragu, Kiringa, Shanga, Angoche, Dakara & Nyambani. Other Tanzanian traders possibly also purchased seahorses from northern Mozambique. In the Quirimba Archipelago seahorses from bycatch were reportedly sold to Tanzania and re-exported from there to Asia. Small (5-7 cm) seahorses in bycatch apparently sold for US$0.50 each, locally equivalent in value to 1 kg of food fish (F. Gell, in litt. to A. Vincent, 9 January 1999). The Dar es Salaam-based trader mentioned above also commented that in Mwibu, Matemwe, and Mucojo, fishers were aware of the potential economic importance of seahorses prior to his enquiries, because ‗Chinese had been there.‘ This suggests that, in addition to trade via Tanzania, dried seahorses may also be Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  31 exported to Asia directly. A biologist investigating the seagrass fishery in Quirimba Archipelago in 1996 noted that other marine products were certainly exploited for exportation to Asia. At the time, Chinese presence in this remote part of Mozambique was strong and growing, and Chinese ships visited regularly to fetch sea cucumbers (T. Peschak, in litt. to A. Vincent, 4 February 1998).  Dried seahorses destined for Asia were likely to serve medical purposes. Dried Mozambican seahorses were, however, also sold as curios, at least on Inhaca Island, a marine reserve in Maputo Bay. In 1997, women there offered dried specimen of two species to tourists in front of the island‘s marine research station (M. Cherry, pers. comm., 10 February, 2000). LIVE SEAHORSE TRADE IN MOZAMBIQUE Trade routes, domestic trade, exports Mozambican seahorses were exploited for the ornamental fish trade. An aquarium fish collector based in Durban, South Africa, was rumoured to visit Mozambique regularly to obtain live fish, including seahorses. Seahorses were apparently collected in Inhambane estuary and were found around the base of fish traps (Neil Grange, in litt. to E. Bell, 18 May 1999). A pet-shop owner in Cape Town, confirmed in spring 1998 that he had recently sold Mozambican seahorses (Peet Joubert, in litt., 10 April 2001). OTHER SYNGNATHID SPECIES IN MOZAMBIQUE In Quirimba Archipelago, northern Mozambique, pipefish were found among the bycatch of seine nets and other local fishing techniques. Although they lined the beach in piles of hundreds where the fishermen sorted their catches, they were not utilised. Only children sometimes used dead pipefish as toys. Otherwise, they were left to decay (T. Peschak, in litt. to A. Vincent, 4 February 1998). The pipefish were tentatively identified as Choeroichthys sculptus and Trachyramphus bicoarctatus (T. Peschak, in litt. to A. Vincent, 28 March 1998). THE SEAHORSE TRADE IN SOUTH AFRICA South Africa apparently imported dried seahorses from Mozambique, Madagascar, and the Philippines and live seahorses from Mozambique and the USA. It also exported dried seahorses to Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and the USA. Domestically, seahorses (probably all imported) were sold dried as curios and live as aquarium fish. BACKGROUND FOR SOUTH AFRICA Information sources in South Africa Information on seahorse trade in South Africa stems largely from correspondence with marine biologists in the country and US Customs records, as indicated. Additional information was provided by South Africa‘s Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and published literature. Findings during trade surveys in Hong Kong and Taiwan added further understanding. Seahorses and other syngnathids in South Africa According to Smith and Heemstra (1986), 6 seahorse and 19 pipefish species occur in South African waters (see Table 5 for pipefishes). Seahorse taxonomy has since been revised, with South African records for five seahorse species: Hippocampus borboniensis, H. fuscus and H. histrix have apparently been sighted in Durban, H. camelopardalis is known from False Bay, and H. capensis, a South African endemic, occurs in Knysna and surrounding estuaries (Lourie et al., 1999). H. capensis is listed as Endangered by the IUCN, because of its limited distribution and mass-mortality in occasional floods; the other four species are listed as Vulnerable (Hilton-Taylor, 2000). H. capensis is also listed in South Africa‘s Red Data Book, as is the Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  32 estuarine pipefish, Syngnathus watermeyerii. Both are considered threatened by water abstraction, habitat alteration and collection (Thea Carroll, South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, in litt. to A. Vincent, 14 June 2001). Legislation Following the South African Marine Living Resources Act of 1998, no syngnathid was to be caught, disturbed or killed, except with a ministerial permit or exemption (Thea Carroll, South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, in litt. to A. Vincent, 14 June 2001). Furthermore, until recently, two of the estuaries in which H. capensis is known to exist, the Knysna and Swartvlei, fell under the protection of South Africa‘s National Parks Board (Whitfield, 1995). DRIED SEAHORSE TRADE IN SOUTH AFRICA Trade routes, domestic trade, exports, imports Within South Africa, dried seahorses have been sold as curios in at least Cape Town and Knysna. Two stalls at an open air market in Cape Town were seen to offer dried seahorses as recently as June 2001; one sold them incorporated into gel candles, the other displayed approximately 12-20 individual seahorses, 3- 4 inches (7.62-10.16 cm) in height, amongst seashells and shark jaws. One vendor indicated the seahorses were from Madagascar (Inga Fredland, in litt., 25 September 2001 and in litt. to Project Seahorse, 25 June 2001). Dried seahorses incorporated into shell scenes for sale near Cape Town‘s Waterfront in February 2000 were of unknown origin, but apparently imported (pers. obs.). A souvenir shop in Knysna sold dried seahorses imported from the Philippines until 1999, but stopped after requests from local conservation authorities (Peet Joubert, in litt., 24 May 2001). Furthermore, dried seahorses may be used in South African traditional medicine (muti). A survey of animals used in southern African medicine did not encounter seahorses (Simelane & Kerley, 1998), but a ‗sack full‘ of dried seahorses was reportedly seized on an illegal muti market in Mpumalanga Province in 2001 (Peet Joubert, in litt. to Amanda Vincent, 23 September 2001). Trade surveys in Hong Kong and Taiwan and US Customs records suggest that South Africa also exports dried seahorses. Three seahorse wholesalers in Hong Kong and one seahorse importer in Taiwan named South Africa among their sources (Boris Kwan, in litt, 1 February 2001). US Customs recorded six shipments of dried South African seahorses imported to the USA between 1996 and 2000 (Table 6). Shipments occurred in 1997 and 1998. In total 3 kg and 400 individual seahorses were imported for a total value of US$8,075, with the unit price varying considerably from shipment to shipment. Notably, the two largest shipments were routed via Hong Kong and Mainland China (US Fish and Wildlife Service, undated). Table 5. Pipefish species in South African waters, according to Smith and Heemstra (1986) Genus Species Distribution in South Africa Cosmocampus banneri Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, northwards Doryrhamphus bicarinatus Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, northwards   dactyliophorus Aliwal Shoal, KwaZulu-Natal   excisus excisus Xora River, Eastern Cape, northwards   multiannulatus Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, northwards Halicampus dunckeri Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, northwards   mataafe Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, northwards Hippichthys heptagonus Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, northwards   spicifer Xora River, Eastern Cape, northwards Micrognathus andersonii Knysna, Western Cape, northwards Microphis brachyurus Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, northwards   fluviatilis Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape, northwards Nannocampus elegans Great Fish Point, Eastern Cape, nothwards   pictus Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, northwards Phoxocampus belcheri Bizana coast, Eastern Cape, northwards Syngnathoides biaculeatus Knysna, Western Cape, northwards Syngnathus acus Möwe Bay on the West Coast to northern KwaZulu-Natal   watermeyeri estuaries of Kariega, Kasouga and Bushman rivers, Eastern Cape Trachyrhamphus bicoarctus Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, northwards Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  33  LIVE SEAHORSE TRADE IN SOUTH AFRICA Trade routes, domestic trade, imports Pet shops in Cape Town occasionally sold seahorses (Inga Fredland, in litt. to Project Seahorse, 25 June 2001; Peet Joubert, in litt., 10 April 2001). Some of these possibly originated in Mozambique. A fish collector based in Durban was rumoured to obtain seahorses and other live fish from Inhambane Estuary, Mozambique (Neil Grange, in litt. to E. Bell, 18 May 1999). A pet shop owner in Cape Town confirmed in spring 1998 that he had recently sold Mozambican seahorses (Peet Joubert, in litt., 10 Arpil and 25 May, 2001). South Africa has also imported live seahorses from the USA. US Customs indicate that a total of 140 live H. zosterae specimen were shipped to South Africa between 1996 and 2000, for a total value of US$1,171 (Table 6). Those shipped in 1998 had apparently been bred in captivity (US Fish and Wildlife Service, undated). Sources Aquaculture and captive breeding A limited number of H. capensis specimens have, over the years, been made available to South African researchers. Attempts at culturing the species for research purposes have proven successful (J. Lockyear, in litt., 1 October 2000). The brood stock of one researcher was given into the care of a commercial aquaculture venture when research was completed. The ultimate fate of this brood stock, numbering several thousand adults and juveniles, was as yet undecided in early 2001 (Jacki Lockyear, in litt. to A. Vincent, 3 February 2001). Table 6. Seahorse trade between the USA and South Africa, according to US Customs records. Quantity refers to individual seahorses and unit price equals price per seahorse, except where otherwise indicated. Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Year and shipment Quantity Live or Dried Value (US$) Unit Price (US$) Trade Route Exports from South Africa to the USA 1997         shipment 1 6 dried 995.00 165.83 direct shipment 2 362 dried 3,031.00 8.37 via Hong Kong shipment 3 1 dried 742.00 742.00 direct Total 1997 369 dried 4,768.00 12.92   1998         shipment 1 1 dried 0.00 0.00 direct shipment 2 30 dried 855.00 28.50 direct shipment 3 3 kg dried 2,452.00 817.33/kg via Mainland China Total 1998 3 kg + 31 dried 3,307.00 817.33/kg; 27.58/piece   Total 1997-98 3 kg + 400 dried 8,075.00 817.33/kg; 14.06/piece             Imports from the USA to South Africa 1997         shipment 1 30 live 255.00 8.50 direct 1998         shipment 1 110 live 916.00 8.33 direct Total 1997-98 140 live 1,171.00 8.36    Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  34 THE SEAHORSE TRADE IN OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES Anecdotal evidence suggests that at least the following ten countries have also participated in the seahorse trade: Egypt, Gambia, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, the Seychelles, Togo and Zimbabwe (Figure 4). At least eleven seahorse species are found in African waters (Figure 4). Its Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts harbour three species, of which Hippocampus algericus occurs furthest south, with a distribution reaching from Senegal to Angola, and a potential record in Algeria. H. guttulatus is found in European waters of the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, but also has records for Morocco and Senegal. H. hippocampus has a similar overall distribution, but in addition has been found in Algeria, Guinea and the Canary Islands (Lourie et al., 1998). Two species supposedly occur in the Red Sea: H. jayakari and a dwarf species, H. lichtenstienii (Lourie et al., 1998). Of these species, H. hippocampus and H. jayakari are listed as Vulnerable by IUCN, as is H. guttulatus under its synonym H. longirostrus (Hilton-Taylor, 2000). Six species are thought to occur along Africa‘s Indian Ocean coast: H. borboniensis, H. camelopardalis and H. histrix all have southerly distributions ranging from South Africa north to Tanzania and Kenya. H. borboniensis and H. histrix also reach the offshore Islands of Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion. H. fuscus is said to occur in these islands as well, was seen by the author in Tanzania and has records also for Djibouti and Saudi Arabia. H. kelloggi is known from Tanzania and the Red Sea (Lourie et al., 1998). H. capensis, is endemic to a few estuaries in South Africa (Lourie et al., 1998) and appears on the IUCN Red List as Endangered. H. borboniensis, H. camelopardalis, H. fuscus and H. histrix are listed as Vulnerable (Hilton-Taylor, 2000). Egypt: Egypt appears to deal in seahorses destined for the aquarium trade: both Germany and the Netherlands reported shipments of live, wild caught seahorses from Egypt in 1999, designated for commercial use. The Netherlands received one shipment of 100 animals, Germany accepted two shipments containing a total of 210 seahorses (European Community, undated). A single dried specimen imported from Egypt to the USA via Canada in 1999 appears to have been for research purposes (US Fish and Wildlife Service, undated). Gambia: Hong Kong Customs Records show that Hong Kong received 66 kg of dried seahorses from Gambia in 1999, valued at HK$53,000 (US$6784). The seahorses arrived in Hong Kong in consignments shipped from Senegal, but were reported to originate in the Gambia, indicating that trade routes are indirect (Table 7; Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong, undated). Guinea: Between January 1998 and June 2001, Hong Kong imported 347 kg of dried seahorses from Guinea, worth HK$270,000 (US$34,560: Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong, undated), setting the reported value of dried Guinean seahorses in Hong Kong at almost US$100 per kilo (Table 7). Madagascar: A seahorse fishery has been observed on the south-west coast of Madagascar on reefs off Tulear. ‗Vezos‘ fishers there apparently targeted seahorses (D. Cretenet, in litt. to A. Vincent, 17 August 1999). It is unclear what purpose these seahorses were destined to serve. Some were possibly exported dried to South Africa: a vendor selling dried seahorses in Cape Town in June 2001 claimed the seahorses originated in Madagascar (Inga Fredland, in litt. to Project Seahorse, 25 June 2001). Mali: In 1994, Belgian Custom officials seized an illegal shipment of carved ivory and crocodile skins en route from Mali to China. The shipment also contained several dozen seahorses (E. Fleming, in litt. to A. Vincent, 28 January 1997). As Mali is landlocked, these seahorses must have originated elsewhere, possibly neighbouring countries, such as Guinea or Senegal. Nigeria: An enterprise in Lagos, capital of Nigeria, reported in 1996 that they were selling dried seahorses to Hong Kong for medicinal purposes. The business began in 1993 and constituted the main income for the entrepreneur. The seahorses originated from the West African coast. According to the entrepreneur, they were caught as trawl bycatch mainly on moon-less nights during the rainy season. The supply was steady, but culturing attempts were planned. The enterprise received approximately 2 kg of seahorses each month, which would total 24 kg over one year. The price per kilo, presumably the selling price, reportedly was US$450 for small seahorses, US$1,150 for large ones. The entrepreneur commented that Africa had Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  35 entered the seahorse trade, because the ―Asia-Pacific region is now saturated.‖ More evidence for Nigeria‘s involvement in the seahorse trade comes from Belgian Customs. A 60 kg cardboard box filled with seahorses was seized at Brussels‘ airport on its way from Nigeria to China in 1996. The seahorses were 10- 15 cm in size (E. Fleming, in litt. to A. Vincent, 28 January 1997). Senegal: Between January 1998 and June 2001, Hong Kong imported 1,189 kg of dried seahorses from Senegal worth HK$963,000 (US$123,264). The custom records suggest that some of the seahorses received from Senegal in 1999 originated in Gambia, implying that Senegal imports and re-exports seahorses from there (Table 7; Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong, undated). Seychelles: According to a seahorse exporter (trade level 2-4) in Tanzania, seahorses in the Seychelles are large. The exporter‘s client in Hong Kong had told him that he obtained supplies from there and that it took only 100-150 dried seahorses from the Seychelles to constitute a kilogram. Hong Kong Custom Records do not include the Seychelles as a source of seahorse imports. These records may, however, be  Figure 4. African countries known to be involved in the seahorse trade (named and shaded), with indications of the distribution of seahorse species in African waters, following Lourie et al., 1999. Source: for species distributions Lourie et al. (1999) and author‘s pers. obs. in Kenya and Tanzania; for trading countries author‘s research (see individual country sections for more detail on sources).   Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  36 incomplete, as anything transported in personal luggage, postal packets valued at less than HK$4,000 or sent as a gift is exempt from Customs declaration (B. Kwan, in litt., 28 September 2000). Togo: Hong Kong Custom records show that Hong Kong received 97 kg of dried seahorses from Togo between January 1998 and June 2001, worth HK$82,000 (Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong, undated). That amounts to a reported value of US$10 496 or US$108.21 per kilogram (Table 7). Zimbabwe: According to US Customs Statistics, Zimbabwe exported a total of six dried seahorses to the USA between 1996 and 2000 for a total value of US$238. Three shipments occurred, one each in 1996, 1997 and 1998, involving different exporters and recipients each time (US Fish and Wildlife Service, undated). As Zimbabwe is landlocked, these seahorses must have originated elsewhere. CONCLUSIONS FOR THE SEAHORSE TRADE IN AFRICA Fourteen African countries were known to have participated in the seahorse trade by 2001, including Egypt in the North, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo in the West; Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe in the South; and Kenya, Madagascar, the Seychelles and Tanzania in the East. The majority appeared to be supplying the Asian medicinal trade with dried seahorses, but at least four countries (Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa) also dealt in live seahorses destined for the aquarium trade, and in three countries (Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania) dried seahorses were sold as souvenirs. While some countries, like Tanzania, have been involved in the trade for a number of years, others, such as Nigeria, appear to have entered more recently—perhaps an indication that Asia‘s traditional sources can no longer satisfy the demand. As information is scarce for most countries, the importance of African seahorses in both the dried and live trade is difficult to judge, as are the consequences of exploitation for Africa‘s seahorse populations. More information, both on the trade and ecology of African seahorses, is therefore urgently needed. Acknowledgements Field work in Kenya and Tanzania was made possible by a grant from the New England Biolabs Foundation. Special thanks to the field assistant, Summit Johnstone Oketch, for his perseverance, to Claudie Senay and staff at the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi for their care and support, and to IUCN East Africa and the representatives of TRAFFIC in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam for their assistance. The authors‘ gratitude also extends to all informants in East Africa for their patience and hospitality, with particular thanks to Jason Rubens, Catherine and Mafia Marine Park staff for providing a home and logistical support on Mafia Island. Many thanks also to all those who provided information on countries where no surveys were undertaken: Fiona Gell, Mike Cherry, Maria Ascensao Ribeiro Pinto, Thomas Peschak (Mozambique); Peet Joubert, Jackie Lockyear, Thea Carroll, Inga Fredland, Neil Grange (South Africa); Denis Cretenet (Madagascar), Elizabeth Fleming (Mali and Nigeria). Table 7. Hong Kong Import showing the quantity and value of imports by country and year. Where records by country of origin differed from records by country of consignment, country of consignment data is given in brackets. Note that Gambian seahorses imported to Hong Kong in 1999 were shipped through Senegal. Source: Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong. Year Value Gambia Guinea Senegal Togo 1998 Quantity (kg) 0 146 94 0  HK$ 0 108,000 76,000 0  US$* 0 13,824 9,728 0 1999 Quantity (kg) 66  158 270       19  HK$ 53,000 (0) 128,000 201,000  (254,000) 17,000  US$* 6,784 (0) 16,384 25,728      (32,512) 2,176 2000 Quantity (kg) 0 30 605 3  HK$ 0 25,000 520,000 3,000  US$* 0 32,000 66,560 384 2001 Quantity (kg) 0 13 154 75 (Jan-June) HK$ 0 9,000 113,000 62,000  US$* 0 1,152 14,464 7,936 Total Quantity (kg) 66 347 1,123  (1,189) 97  HK$ 53,000 (0) 270,000 910,000  (963,000) 82,000  US$* 6,784 (0) 34,560 116,480  (123,264) 10,496  US$ per kg 102.79 (0) 99.6 103.72 (103.67) 108.21 * The exchange rate used to convert from HK$ to US$ was 7.8125 Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in Africa, McPherson and Vincent  37 REFERENCES  Anon. Undated. Export Consignments of Marine Products cleared by Customs in mainland Tanzania in 1995. Held at TRAFFIC Tanzania, Dar es Salaam. Unpublished. Bell, E. M., Lockyear, J. F., McPherson, J. M., Marsden, A. D. & A.C.J. Vincent. 2003. First field studies of an endangered South African seahorse, Hippocampus capensis. Environmental Biology of Fishes 67: 35- 46. Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong. Undated. Import and Re-export of seahorses and pipefish in Hong Kong, by country of origin and country of consignment, January 1998 to August 2000. Unpublished. De Troch, M., Mees, J., Papadopoulos, I. & E.O. Wakwabi. 1996. Fish Communities in a Tropical Bay (Gazi Bay, Kenya): Seagrass Beds vs. Unvegetated Areas. Netherlands Journal of Zoology 46(3-4): 236-252. Department of Fisheries Kenya. Undated A. Compiled Records of Aquarium Returns for Malindi and Kilifi Districts 1968-1994 and 1995 to May 2000. Held in the archives of the District Fisheries Office, Malindi. Unpublished. Department of Fisheries Kenya. Undated B. Malindi District Fisheries Department Monthly Reports 1984- 1985, 1988-1989, 1992-94. Held at the National Archives in Mombasa. Unpublished. Department of Fisheries Kenya. Undated C. Compiled Records of Aquarium Returns for Kilifi and Mombasa Districts March to May 2000. Held at the Coast Province Fisheries Department, Mombasa. Unpublished. Department of Fisheries Kenya. Undated D. Lamu District Fisheries Department Annual Report for 1999. Held at the District Fisheries Office, Lamu. Unpublished. Department of Fisheries Kenya. Undated E. Malindi District Fisheries Department Annual Report 1999. Held at the District Fisheries Office, Malindi. Unpublished. European Community. Undated. Imports of Annex D species to the European Community 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. Unpublished. Fisheries Division Tanzania. Undated. Export Summary of Fish and Fish Products (from mainland Tanzania) declared to the Statistics Department, Fisheries Division, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Years 1989-1997. Held at TRAFFIC Tanzania, Dar es Salaam. Unpublished. Fulanda, B. 1999. Fishing, a threat to fisheries resources: notes on the shrimp trawling in the Ungwana Bay. Paper presented at the Coastal Conference II on Ecology and Conservation at the Kenya Coast, November 1999. Copy obtained from author. Gaudian, G., Koyo, A. & S. Wells. 1995. Marine Region 12: East Africa. In: Global Representative Systems of Marine Protected Areas Volume III: Central Indian Ocean, Arabian Seas, East Africa and East Asian Seas. The World Bank, Washington D.C., USA. Hilton-Taylor, C. 2000. 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. Accessible online at http://www.redlist.org/. Johnstone, R.W., Muhando, C.A. & J. Francis. 1998. The Status of the Coral Reefs of Zanzibar: One Example of a Regional Predicament. Ambio 27(8): 700-707. Kimani, E.N., Mwatha, G.K., Wakwabi, E.O., Ntiba, J.M. & B.K. Okoth. 1996. Fishes of a Shallow Tropical Mangrove Estuary, Gazi, Kenya. Marine and Freshwater Research 47: 857-868. Lourie, S.A., Vincent, A.C.J. & H.J. Hall. 1999. Seahorses: an identification guide to the world‘s species and their conservation. Project Seahorse. London, UK. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  38 Mallela, J., Gallop, K. & M. Guard. 1998. The seahorses of Southern Tanzania. Miombo Newsletter of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania 19: 6-7. Marshall, N.T. 1998. Searching for a cure: conservation of medicinal wildlife resources in east and southern Africa. TRAFFIC International, Cambridge. McClanahan, T.R. & B. Kaunda-Arara. 1996. Fishery Recovery in a Coral-reef Marine Park and Its Effect on the Adjacent Fishery. Conservation Biology 10(4): 1187-1199. McClanahan, T.R. & S. Mangi. 2001. The effect of a closed area and beach seine exclusion on coral reef fish catches. Fisheries Management and Ecology 8: 107-121. Moffat, D., Ngoile, M.N., Linden, O. & J. Francis. 1998. The reality of the Stomach: Coastal Management at the Local Level in Eastern Africa. Ambio 27(8): 590-598. Ping, A. 1999. From Proletarian Internationalism to Mutual Development: China‘s Cooperation with Tanzania, 1965-95. Pp. 156-201 in G. Hyden & R. Mukandala (eds.). Agencies in Foreign Aid: Comparing China, Sweden and the United States in Tanzania. MacMillan Press Ltd. London, UK. Semesi, A.K., Mgaya, Y.D., Muruke, M.H.S., Francis, J., Mtolera, M. & G. Msumi. 1998. Coastal Resource Utilization and Conservation Issues in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Ambio 27(8): 635-644. Simelane, T.S. & G.I.H. Kerley. 1998. Conservation implications of the use of vertebrates by Xhosa traditional healers in South Africa. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 28(4): 121-126. Smith, M.M. & P.C. Heemstra (eds.). 1986. Smith‘s Sea Fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany. US Fish and Wildlife Service. Undated. Imports and Exports of Hippocampus spp. to and from the USA 1996-2000. Unpublished. Vincent, A.C.J. 1996. The International Trade in Seahorses. TRAFFIC International. Cambridge, UK. Wanyoike, J. 1994. List of aquarium fish traded in East Africa, compiled on July 14th, 1994. Held at the office of the Wildlife Conservation Society Kenya, Mombasa. Unpublished. Whitfield, A.K. 1995. Threatened fishes of the world: Hippocampus capensis Boulenger, 1990 (Syngnathidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 44:362. Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada, LaFrance and Vincent  39 CHAPTER 2. SEAHORSE TRADE IN THE USA AND CANADA1 Patrick LaFrance and Amanda C.J. Vincent Project Seahorse, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia,  2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4; Email:a.vincent@fisheries.ubc.ca ABSTRACT Live and dried seahorses were traded in the USA and Canada for use as aquarium fishes, curios and in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Hippocampus zosterae, Hippocampus erectus and Syngnathus pelagicus were targeted in Florida, with landings monitored and regulations in place. Non-selective exploitation, however, was not monitored in any states and could be a potential threat for seahorses. In addition to exploitation, habitat degradation, owing to coastal development and pollution, is another concern. According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) statistics from 1996-2000, the volume of dried seahorses imported by the US was relatively high compared to the volume exported. These data also suggest that relatively few live seahorses were traded in United Sates during this period. Little information was available on Canada‘s imports and exports of live and dried seahorses but the available information suggest that Canada imported dried seahorses from Hong Kong, Peru and the United States. Live seahorses were also imported to Canada from countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and USA. Canada‘s information on live seahorse exports suggested that they were mainly exchanges among public aquariums or scientific institutes. BACKGROUND FOR THE USA  AND CANADA Information sources in the USA and Canada Most of the information in this section comes from figures recorded by the Department of the Interior (USFWS) of the United States. Seahorse import and export data were requested from the Office of Law Enforcement under the Freedom of Information Act. Enquiries were also sent to different government organizations in order to gather information about trade, exploitation and regulations in different states. Correspondence with independent parties was used as an additional source of anecdotal information. Information on Use of seahorses in the USA comes from an International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) report (IFAW, 2000) on the availability of seahorses in the USA for use in traditional medicines, and from research on Internet. Seahorse shipments are recorded under numerous description codes in the USFWS database. Shipments of live seahorses are recorded as live (LIV) and dried seahorses are recorded under various headings, including bodies (BOD), shells (SHE), skeletons (SKE), trophies (TRO), medicine (MED) and meat (MEA). The description codes for dried seahorses were combined in order to have only two categories: dried and live. Commercial shipments were distinguished from non-commercial shipments, such as those between scientific institutions and aquariums, by referring to recorded names of importers and exporters. Non- commercial shipments were not included in total trade volumes and values. In order to estimate the number of seahorses traded in the USA, a conservative estimate of 300 dried seahorses per kilogram was used to convert to number of individuals. This estimate was considered conservative because in the Philippines, dried seahorses for curios often number 800-1,000 per kilogram,                                                               1 Cite as: LaFrance, P. and A.C.J. Vincent. 2011. Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada. p.39-56. In: Vincent, A.C.J., Giles, B.G., Czembor, C.A. and Foster,  S.J.  (eds.). Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001). Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(1). Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia [ISSN 1198-6727]. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  40 while dried seahorses for traditional medicine usually number 250-300 and exceptionally 80-100 if it only includes large species, such as H. kelloggi. Seahorses in United States and Canada Local species Four species of seahorse occur in North America. They mainly inhabit shallow water and are often associated with seagrass beds. All four species are listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as Vulnerable (VU A2cd; Hilton-Taylor, 2000). Hippocampus ingens is restricted to the eastern Pacific Ocean and is distributed from San Diego, California, to Peru, including the Gulf of California and the Galapagos Islands (Miller & Lea, 1972; Fritzsche, 1980). Hippocampus ingens has been seen in Chilean waters but not before the El Niño event of 1982-1983 (Groves & Lavenberg, 1997). Very little research has been carried out on H. ingens populations in the wild. One of the largest seahorse species (25-30 cm), H. ingens is exploited for use in TCM and as curios and aquarium fishes in Europe and North America. Hippocampus reidi ranges from Cape Hatteras on the Atlantic coast of North America, throughout the Caribbean to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Dawson and Vari, 1982). Adults measure 10-18 cm (Lourie et al., 1999). The species‘ bright colours make the species very appealing within the aquarium trade. Hippocampus erectus occurs on the Atlantic coast of North America, from Canada (southern tip of Nova Scotia) throughout the Caribbean to as far south as Argentina (Hardy, 1978). Adult height usually varies between 5 and 18 cm. Few studies have focused on the biology of H. erectus in the wild (Matlock, 1992; Teixeira & Musick, 2001). This species has commonly been landed as bycatch in Florida (Baum et al., in review), was also very popular in the aquarium trade and has sometimes been sold for curios (Vincent, 1996). Hippocampus zosterae ranges along on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, from the Florida Keys to the Gulf of Campeche, and through the Bahamas and Bermuda (Vari, 1982). Adult heights range from 2 to 4 cm. Biological information on this species comes from field and laboratory observations (Strawn, 1953; Tipton & Bell, 1988; Masonjones & Lewis, 1996; Masonjones, 1997; Masonjones & Lewis, 2000). Hippocampus zosterae has not been reported for use as TCM, likely because of its small size, but is a popular aquarium fish species (Vincent, 1996; Wood, 2001). Species traded/imported The USFWS uses 64 seahorse species names and associated codes to record seahorses traded in the USA (Table 1). According to the latest taxonomic revisions in Lourie et al. (1999), there are approximately 32 seahorse species worldwide; species names used by the USFWS therefore contain numerous synonyms and erroneous names. From 1995-2000, the US trade statistics reported 24 species of seahorses traded in the United States (see highlighted species in Table 1). As taxonomy of seahorses is rather complex, the species information reported in the USFWS trade statistics may be unreliable in many cases. As an example, H. zosterae, a species found only in North America, has occasionally been reported as being imported from the Philippines to the USA. Similarly, H. hippocampus, a European species, has been recorded as originating from Mexico, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands. Because of the numerous possibilities for error that could lead to incorrect conclusions, the species information in the US trade statistics is not analysed here.    Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada, LaFrance and Vincent  41 Table 1. Seahorse species names and codes used by the USFWS (Grey-highlighted species names were recorded as being traded during 1995-2000). * According to Lourie et al. (1999) Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Species name in the database Species code Status* Synonym* Hippocampus abdominalis HIAB valid - Hippocampus aimei HAIM not valid H. barbouri  H. spinosissimus Hippocampus angustus HANG valid - Hippocampus arnei HIAR not valid In part synonym of H. barbouri and H. spinosissimus Hippocampus aterrimus HATE not valid H. kuda Hippocampus barbouri HIBA valid - Hippocampus bargibanti HBAR valid - Hippocampus bicuspis HBIC not valid H. guttulatus Hippocampus borboniensis HIBO valid - Hippocampus brachyrhynchus HBRA not valid H. fuscus Hippocampus breviceps HBRE valid - Hippocampus camelopardalis HCAM valid - Hippocampus capensis HCAP valid - Hippocampus chinensis HICH not valid H. kuda Hippocampus comes HICO valid - Hippocampus coronatus HIPC valid - Hippocampus dahli HIDA not valid H. trimaculatus Hippocampus erectus HIER valid - Hippocampus erinaceus HERI Not valid H. angustus Hippocampus fasciatus HFAS  ? Hippocampus fisheri HIFI valid - Hippocampus foliates HIFO not valid ? Hippocampus fuscus HIFU valid - Hippocampus hilonis HHIL not valid H. kuda Hippocampus hippocampus HPHP valid - Hippocampus histrix HHIS valid - Hippocampus horai HIHO not valid H. kuda Hippocampus ingens HIIN valid - Hippocampus japonicus HIJA not valid H. mohnikei Hippocampus jayakari HJAY valid - Hippocampus kampylotrachelos HIKA not valid H. trimaculatus Hippocampus kaupii HKAU not valid H. algiricus Hippocampus kelloggi HIKE valid - Hippocampus kuda HIKU valid - Hippocampus lenis HILE not valid H. trimaculatus Hippocampus lichtenteinii HILI valid - Hippocampus manadensis HIPM not valid H. trimaculatus Hippocampus mannulus HMNN not valid H. trimaculatus Hippocampus melanospilos HMEL not valid H. kuda Hippocampus mohnikei HMOH valid - Hippocampus moluccensis HMOL not valid H. kuda Hippocampus natalensis HINA not valid H. fuscus Hippocampus novaehebudorum HINO not valid H. kuda Hippocampus obscurus HIOB not valid - Hippocampus planifrons HIPL not valid H. trimaculatus    continued next page… Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  42 Table 1. Seahorse species names and codes used by the USFWS (Grey-highlighted species names were recorded as being traded during 1995-2000). * According to Lourie et al. (1999) Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Species name in the database Species code Status* Synonym* Hippocampus polyteania HIPO not valid H. kuda Hippocampus punctulatus HIPU not valid H. algiricus Hippocampus raji HRAJ not valid H. kuda Hippocampus ramulosus HRAM  - Hippocampus reidi HIRE valid - Hippocampus rhynchomacer HIRH not valid H. kuda Hippocampus sexmaculatus HISE not valid H. trimaculatus Hippocampus sindonis HISI valid - Hippocampus spinosissimus HSPI valid - Hippocampus subcoronatus HISU not valid H. camelopardalis Hippocampus suezensis HSUE not valid H. kelloggi Hippocampus taeniops HITA not valid H. kuda Hippocampus taeniopterus HTAE not valid H. kuda Hippocampus takakurae HTAK not valid H. trimaculatus Hippocampus trimaculatus HITR valid - Hippocampus valentyni HIVA not valid H. kuda Hippocampus whitei HIWH valid - Hippocampus zebra HIZE valid - Hippocampus zosterae HIZO valid -  Uses Dried Seahorses in Traditional Chinese Medicine in United States Dried seahorses were known to be sold as an ingredient for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in North America. From August to November 1999, IFAW surveyed herbal stores in the commercial districts of Chinatown in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, San Francisco and Washington, DC in order to monitor the availability of dried seahorses and patent medicines reportedly containing seahorses. The survey results showed that 90 of the 101 shops visited carried dried seahorse or seahorse products, with prices per individual varying according to size, from US$1.00 to 5.00 (Table 2). Table 2. Availability of dried seahorse and patent products in herbal/medicine stores in the USA (August- November, 1999). Source: adapted from IFAW (2000).  Region # Total of shops visited Number of shops selling seahorse product Number of shops selling dried seahorse and patent products Number of shops selling only patent product Number of shops selling only dried seahorse Price ranges (per individual) for dried seahorses (USD) Boston, MA 4 4 4 0 0 $2.00 Los Angeles, CA 18 16 10 0 4 $2.00-3.00 New York City, NY 46 41 17 9 13 $1.50-4.00 Oakland, CA 8 7 3 0 4 $2.00-2.50 San Francisco, CA 23 21 3 4 14 $1.00-5.00 Washington, DC 2 1 1 0 0 $1.25-2.25 Totals 101 90 38 13 35 --- Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada, LaFrance and Vincent  43 IFAW (2000) collected specimens during surveys (n=206) and identified 11 species of seahorses sold in TCM shops in the USA. According to their results, the four predominant species were H. ingens (n=32),  H. trimaculatus (n=58), H. spinosissimus (n=42), and H. kelloggi (n=21; Figure 1). The IFAW report states that the internet has increased the accessibility of wildlife and wildlife products and therefore the availability of dried seahorses and patent medicines containing seahorse derivatives had increased recently. Seahorses have been listed as an ingredient in at least eight general tonics commonly available in North America (Fratkin, 1986) and reportedly used in the preparation of pills intended to treat different organic disorders (Vincent, 1996). The recent IFAW (2000) report identified 11 different patent herbal formulas in the US that claimed to contain seahorse parts or derivatives. Dried seahorses were also sold in TCM shops in Canada. No surveys were carried out but seahorses have been noted for sale in Chinatown in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver (pers. obs.; A. Perry in litt., 2 September 2001). Seahorses as curios in United States No extensive surveys were carried out to assess the availability of seahorses for curios in the USA but anecdotal information from independent correspondents indicated that seahorse were sold in curio and shell shops in many parts of North America. Seahorse curios were reportedly sold for prices generally ranging from US$0.25 to 29.99. One account described seahorses, supposedly from Africa, being sold for US$200.00 a piece, either individually as jewellery or in decorative shell arrangements. Hippocampus barbouri was purchased by the author for CAN$2.50 in Percé, Québec, Canada, in a small seaside curio shop. This seahorse was purchased from an importer in Nova Scotia, Canada, and was labelled as H. erectus. Clear plastic yo-yos containing dried H. barbouri were also manufactured and sold in the USA (Figure 2). Seahorse curios were sold on the internet. Table 3 shows prices for dried seahorses sold as curios on seven North American websites in 2001. Prices per dried seahorse varied according to size and ranged from US$0.49 to 4.95. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Hippocampus fuscus Hippocampus whitei Hippocampus erectus Hippocampus angustus Hippocampus barbouri Hippocampus reidi Hippocampus comes Hippocampus sp. Hippocampus kuda Hippocampus kelloggi Hippocampus ingens Hippocampus spinosissimus Hippocampus trimaculatus  Figure 1. Number of specimens (n=206) identified by species in TCM shops in the USA (August-November, 1999). Source: Adapted from IFAW (2000).   Figure 2. Hippocampus barbouri yo-yo manufactured and sold in the USA.  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  44 Table 3. Dried seahorses for sale as curios on the Internet in January 2001. Only North American websites are showed in the table. Source: Internet. Website Species Size Price (US$) Site 1 Hippocampus barbouri 2-3” (5-8 cm) $1.49 each, $14.99/dozen, $75/hundred  Hippocampus barbouri 3-4” (8-10 cm) $2.49/each, $24.99/dozen, $125/hundred Site 2  Hippocampus spp. (Colombian) 4” (10 cm) 3-4” (8-10 cm) $2.98/each $1.29/each  Hippocampus spp. 2-3” (5-8 cm) $1.29/each  Hippocampus spp. (pygmy) 0.5-1” (1-3 cm) $0.49/each Site 3 Hippocampus spp. (pygmy) 0.5-1” (1-2.5 cm) $0.50/each  Hippocampus spp. 1-2” (2.5-5 cm) 2-3” (5-8 cm) 3-4” (8-10 cm) 4-5” (10-13 cm) $0.6/each $0.75/each $1.00/each $1.50/each  Site 4 Hippocampus spp. (pygmy) 0.5-0.75” (1-2 cm) $25/hundred  Hippocampus spp. 2-2.5” (5-6.5 cm) 3-4” (8-10 cm) $1.50/each, $4.00/three $3.95/each, $10.00/three Site 5 Hippocampus spp. 0.5-0.75” (1-2 cm) 1-2” (2.5-5 cm) 2-3” (5-8 cm 3-4” (8-10 cm) not available $20/hundred $40/hundred $55/hundred Site 6 Hippocampus spp. (pygmy) Hippocampus spp. (straight tail) Hippocampus spp. 1.8-2.5” (4.6-6.5 cm) 3-4” (8-10 cm) 5” (13 cm) $0.49/each $1.50/each $4.95/each Site 7 Hippocampus spp. 1 2” 2.5-5 c ) 3-4” (8-10 cm) $2.00/each  Live Live seahorses as aquarium fishes in United States Keeping ornamental fishes is a popular hobby in North America. The global import value of ornamental fishes (freshwater and marine) for USA in 1998 was estimated to be around US$45.1 million (Milon et al., 1999 in Wood, 2001). The unusual biology and body shape of seahorses makes them popular aquarium pets. According to correspondence with independent parties, prices for live seahorses in pet shops in the USA from 1996- 2000 varied between US$3.00 and US$100.00 each, according to size, colour and species. Live seahorses were also advertised for sale on the Internet. Prices on the Internet were similar to those in pet shops (Table 4). Table 4. Live seahorses for sale on the Internet in North America in January 2001. Website Species* Price ($US) Site 1 Hippocampus zosterae (dwarf) $15.95/pair, 41.95/six, 199.95/dozen Site 2 Hippocampus spp. (pygmy) $19/pair Site 3 Hippocampus spp. $29.99/each Site 4 Hippocampus spp. (yellow) $14.99/each  Hippocampus spp. (black) $16.99/each Site 5 Hippocampus zosterae (dwarf) $12.95/single pregnant, $10.95/pair, $31.95/dozen  Hippocampus zosterae (dwarf, black)  $10.95/each   Hippocampus zosterae (dwarf, yellow)  $10.95/each   Hippocampus zosterae (dwarf, green)  $13.95/each   Hippocampus zosterae (dwarf, yellow & black) $15.95/each Site 6  Hippocampus zosterae (Brazilian) $45.00/each Site 7** Hippocampus zosterae (Florida)  $24.00/each   Hippocampus zosterae (black, brown, yellow) $7.00/each (small)    $9.00/each (medium)    $11.00/each (large)  Hippocampus reidi (Brazilian, black) Hippocampus reidi (Brazilian orange) Hippocampus reidi (Brazilian red) Hippocampus reidi (Brazilian yellow) $48.00/each $48.00/each $48.00/each $48.00/each *The common names and the colours are given in parentheses **Source: IFAW (2000) Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada, LaFrance and Vincent  45 Legislation National legislation in United States Wildlife trade in the USA falls under regulation 50 CFR Part 14. This regulation sets uniform procedures for import, export and transportation of wildlife. A declaration (Form 3-177) of import or export of fish and wildlife must be filed when seahorses (live or dead) are imported and exported in the country. If the purpose of the trade is commercial, the importer or exporter requires a valid import/export licence. In the case of imports, this form is theoretically filed when requesting wildlife clearance. For exports, the form needs to be filed in advance of actual departure to allow reasonable time for inspection. There are also restrictions regarding Customs ports through which wildlife is imported or exported; in general, no person may import or export seahorses at any place other than designated ports of entry (a list of the different ports of entry may be found in 50 CFR Part 14.12). State legislation in United States According to state government agencies, the only state with catch regulations affecting syngnathids was Florida. Seahorses and pipefishes were listed under Title 68 (Rules of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) of the Florida Administrative Codes and specifically in chapter 68B-42 (Marine Life). The Marine Life chapter (68B-42) was previously under the Rules of the Marine Fisheries Commission (Title 46 of the Florida Administrative Codes) and has been effective since January 1991. The main purpose of this chapter was to protect and conserve Florida‘s tropical marine-life resources and assure the continuing health and abundance of these species(68B-42.001). Seahorses and pipefishes were defined in Title 68 (68B-42.001) as ‗any species of the family Syngnathidae and they are designated as restricted species (Section 370.01(20)). A bag limit for recreational harvest, prohibited individuals from harvesting, possessing or landing more than 20 individuals per day of tropical ornamental marine life species, in any combination (68B-42.005). ‗Live landing‘ and ‗live well‘ requirements (68-42.0035) for each person harvesting any tropical ornamental marine life species required any of the species in the rule chapter to be landed alive.  Seahorses were considered a ‗restricted‘ species, and therefore harvest for commercial purposes required a valid saltwater products licence with both a marine life fishery endorsement and a restricted species endorsement issued by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. There were no commercial limits on seahorses but the number of commercial harvesters was limited, owing to a moratorium placed on the necessary endorsement needed to harvest marine life species in commercial quantities (L. Rubenstein, in litt., 14 April 1999). National legislation in Canada Seahorses were not listed under CITES and no specific regulations or documentation existed for the trade of seahorses in Canada. SEAHORSE CATCHES IN THE USA AND CANADA USA Marine-life landings (including syngnathids) have been recorded in Florida since 1990 (Table 5). Landing records for 1990 were incomplete, as reporting for marine life (mostly aquarium species) was not mandatory until March of that year (M. D. B. Norris, in litt., 26 May 1999). Most of the syngnathids recorded were collected for the aquarium trade and some were intended for the curio trade (M. D. B. Norris, in litt., 26 May 1999).  To the author‘s knowledge, no commercial landings of syngnathids have been recorded in any states other than Florida.  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  46 Impacts of incidental catches of H. erectus in the live-bait shrimp trawl fishery have been studied in Florida. Baum & Vincent (2005) suggested that this fishery had the potential to disrupt seahorse populations through direct mortality and indirectly through social disruption, such as changes in sex ratios, and damage to habitat. However, Baum & Vincent (2005) concluded that the precise impacts of trawling on H. erectus remained uncertain because no abundance or catch estimates were available for this species. Seahorses were not known to be targeted in Louisiana and were seldom noticed in bycatch associated with the trawl shrimp fishery. No scientific investigations were being conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries or by local university researchers (R. Paussina, in litt. 22 February 2001). Non-selective exploitation of seahorses also occurred in the shrimp trawl fishery in Alabama but has not been monitored. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Marine Resources Division) Fisheries Assessment and Monitoring Program (FAMP) has collected fishery-independent data from 16-foot otter trawls since around 1980. Monthly sampling from 1980 to 1998 and quarterly sampling from 1998 to 2000 has shown that the number of seahorses landed varied from zero to 20 per year, indicating that seahorse catches have been of minor importance in the FAMP. The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Mississippi has a similar FAMP programme in which seahorse catches have also been of minor importance. For example, 57 H. erectus were recorded from 1987 to 2000 and four H. zosterae from 1988 to 1997. Most areas where seahorses occur in Mississippi, such as seagrass beds, have been closed to shrimp Table 5. Syngnathids landed and declared in Florida, 1990-1998 (Dwarf seahorse, Giant seahorse and pipefish are respectively H. zosterae, H. erectus and Syngnathus pelagicus). Source: Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Marine Research Institute (Division of Marine Resources). Year Species Number Tripsa Valueb Value (US $/inds.) 1991 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 7,226 6,850 - 2,093 16,169 84 375 - 116 575 5,348 10,208 - 649 16,205 1,35 0,67 - 3,22 1992 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 76,706 7,250 - 1,788 85,744 141 448 - 162 751 3,836 10943 - 822 15,601 20,00 0,66 - 2,18 1993 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 66,440 - - 1,670 68,110 118 - - 210 328 4,652 - - 2,088 6740 14,28 - - 0,80 1994 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 98,779 2,231 9,938 1,419 112,367 117 122 302 233 774 86,926 9906 912 1,135 98,879 1,14 0,22 10,90 1,25  1995 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 22,662 598 81 733 24,074 61 95 7 39 202 23,074 1,578 284 1,827 26,763 0,98 0,38 0,28 0,40 1996 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 17,805 1,120 112 1,400 20,437 53 101 4 43 201 22,875 2,293 282 3,730 29,180 0,78 0,49 0,40 0,38 1997 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 87,916 1,986 147 2,309 92,358 57 159 12 46 274 27,462 4,124 306 6,468 38,360 3,20 0,48 0,48 0,36 1998 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 15,564 1,180 233 1,019 17,996 79 123 13 76 291 10,260 3,130 274 1,149 14,813 1,51 0,38 0,85 0,89 1999 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 61,538 2,743 141 3,171 67,593 81 170 39 105 395 19,299 3018 295 5,554 28,166 3,19 0,91 0,48 0,57  2000 Dwarf seahorse Giant seahorse Other seahorse Pipefish Total 15,121 496 309 1,763 17,689 88 90 42 94 314 26,207 1408 682 4,384 32,681 0,58 0,35 0,45 0,40  a Number of trips landing a specific species: more than one species can be encountered in one trip.  b Dockside value in US$ (price paid by the dealer to the collector). Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada, LaFrance and Vincent  47 trawling and therefore seahorse bycatch was not considered a problem in this region (J. Warren, in litt., 28 February 2001). A more significant problem was the disappearance of substantial portions of seagrass habitat in Mississippi (M. Buchanan, in litt., 5 March 2001). Canada Little information was available for targeted fisheries or bycatch of syngnathids in Canada. DRIED SEAHORSE TRADE IN THE USA AND CANADA Exports USA USFWS statistics indicated that the volume of dried seahorses exported by the USA was considerably lower than the volume imported (Table 6 and 7). According to the data from 1996-2000, only 98 dried seahorses were exported from the USA to various countries (UK, Canada, Australia and Vietnam). Information from outside the USA indicated that the USFWS data may contain important gaps. In 1999, Hong Kong Custom Records reported 3,218 kg of dried seahorses imported from the USA for a total declared value of HK$232,000 (US$29,820). The same source also showed 200 kg of dried seahorses imported from the USA, of which 60 kg reportedly originated from the USA. The other 140 kg had previously been imported into USA from Mexico. The shipment had a total declared value of HK$200,000 (US$25,706). These shipments did not appear in the USFWS figures. In addition, 1998 European Community import data of non-CITES Annex D species showed that the UK imported 300 dried seahorses from the USA. This shipment did not appear in the USFWS data. Imports USA According to the United States Department of the Interior (Fish and Wildlife Service) a minimum of 396 119 dried seahorses and 755 kg of dried seahorses were imported into the USA from 1996 to 2000, with a total declared value of US$371,291 (Tables 7 and 8). Roughly converting all volumes into numbers of seahorses based on an approximate 300 seahorses per kilogram (see Information sources in the USA and Canada), yielded an estimate of at least 622,619 dried seahorses imported during those 5 years. Based on this estimate, the Philippines, China and Mexico supplied approximately 60%, 30% and 7%, respectively, of the total volume imported from 1996 to 2000 (Figure 3). The balance was divided among New Zealand, Taiwan, South Africa, Tanzania, Brazil, Thailand, Zimbabwe and Korea. Although our estimates show that 60% of recorded dried seahorse imports from 1996-2000 reportedly originated from the Philippines, the Philippines accounted only for 15% of the total declared value while China accounted for 70%. One possible explanation for this difference in declared value is that dried seahorses imported from China may have been targeted for the higher value traditional medicinal market, while those from the Philippines may be imported for sale as cheaper curios. Another possible explanation could be that our estimated conversion factor of 300 seahorses per kilogram was too conservative. As most of the shipments from China were declared in kilograms, as opposed to those from the Philippines (Table 7), an underestimate in the number of seahorses per kilogram may, in turn, have led to underestimated volumes of dried seahorses imported from China. Table 6. Dried seahorses reportedly exported by the USA. Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Years Destination Quantity (#) Declared value (US$) Source 1997 United Kingdom  (origin: unknown)  2 300 wild 1998 Canada  (origin: Thailand) 36 54 unknown 1999 Australia  (origin: Mexico) 50 100 wild 2000 Vietnam (origin: unknown) 10 0 wild Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  48 Table 7. Dried seahorses imported by the United States (1996-2000). Exporting countries are mentioned where different than country of origin. Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Years Country of origin Quantity (No.) Quantity (kg) Declared value (US$) Source 1996 Philippines 36,802 - 4,470 wild  Philippines - 25 kg 4,100 wild  China 502 - 3,192 wild  China (via Hong Kong) - 11 kg 2,988 wild  China - 4 kg 16 wild  Tanzania (via Hong Kong) 215 - 14,014 wild  Korea 28 - 0 wild  Zimbabwe 4 - 100 wild  Unknown (via Mexico) 1 - 0 wild Total 1996 37,552 40 kg 28,880 - 1997 Philippines 242,423 - 35,482 wild  New Zealand  (via Cayman Islands) 7,200 - 1,308 wild  Taiwan 1,615 - 921 wild  South Africa 369 - 4,768 unknown  Tanzania (via Hong Kong) 315 - 21,037 wild  China (via Hong Kong) - 189 kg 51,126 wild  Unknown (via Taiwan) 12  15 wild  Mexico 9 - 48 wild  Mexico - 35 kg 120 wild  Unknown (via Canada) 3 - 0 wild  Zimbabwe 1 - 0 wild  Tanzania 1 - 0 wild Total 1997 251,948 224 kg 114,825 - 1998 Philippines 32,400 - 4,176 wild  Philippines 5,343 - 1,473 unknown  Philippines - 6 kg 960 wild  Mexico 449  476 wild  Mexico - 38 kg 151 wild  South Africa 31  855 wild  South Africa (via China) - 3 kg 2,452 wild  China (via Hong Kong) - 146 kg 80,520 wild  ZR? Unknown (via Hong Kong) 115 - 1,770 wild  Tanzania 1 - 50 wild  Zimbabwe 1 - 138 wild Total 1998 38,340 193 kg 93,021 - 1999 Philippines 19,256 - 1,359 wild  Philippines 4,300 - 3,760 unknown  Philippines - 2 kg 24 wild  China (via Hong Kong) 15500 - 117,500 wild  China - 190 kg 1,710 wild  China (via Hong Kong) - 31 kg 1,625 wild  Mexico 6 - 20 wild  Mexico - 36 kg 75 wild  Tanzania 1 - 500 wild  Unknown (via Thailand)  16 - 32 wild Total 1999 39,079 259 kg 126,605 -          continued next page… Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada, LaFrance and Vincent  49 Table 7. Dried seahorses imported by the United States (1996-2000). Exporting countries are mentioned where different than country of origin. Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Years Country of origin Quantity (No.) Quantity (kg) Declared value (US$) Source 2000 Philippines* 23,530 - 3,029 unknown  Philippines 5,015 - 150 wild  Brazil  305 - 816 wild  Thailand 200 - 20 wild  Tanzania (via Hong Kong) 95 - 475 wild  China - 1 kg 2,110 wild  China (via Hong kong)  7 kg 1,325 wild  Mexico - 31 kg 30 wild  Mexico 1 - 5 wild Total 2000 29,146 39 kg 7,960 - *10,000 dried seahorses (declared value $US 800) were classified as ‘live’ in the database but given the volume and the importing company, these were likely dried seahorses.  All ports of entry for dried seahorses imports for 1996-2000 are shown in Figure 3. Baltimore appeared to have been the main port of entry for dried seahorses, primarily because of one shipment of 219,800 dried seahorses imported from the Philippines in 1997. Newark, Miami, San Diego and Los Angeles were important ports of entry for dried seahorses, in lower volumes than Baltimore but on a more regular basis. Many shipments had a null declared value. Some were exchanges of dried seahorse specimens between scientific institutions or museums (Table 8). However, some shipments with null or very low declared values were definitely imported for commercial purposes, suggesting that in some cases shipment values could be underreported. This seems to be the case, for example, for dried seahorses imported from Mexico which represented 7% of the total estimated traded volume but less than 1% of the total declared value (Table 7). Canada Hong Kong Customs records show 3 kg of dried seahorses exported to Canada in 1998 and 12 kg in 2000, with respective declared values of HK$12,000 (US$1,542) and HK$16,000 (US$2,056). Both shipments were originally from Mainland China and were exported to Canada via Hong Kong. The 1998 USFWS statistics reported 36 dried seahorses exported from the US to Canada, with a declared value of US$54.00. The seahorses were reportedly originally from Thailand (Table 6). Trade Statistics from Peru indicate that at least 25 kg of dried seahorses were exported from Peru to Montreal between 1998 and April 2000, for a total value of US$1,921. Dried seahorses from Peru were also reportedly exported to Calgary. Table 8. Dried seahorses imported by the United States (1996-2000) that were not for commercial purposes - exchanges between scientific institutions. Exporting country is mentioned if different than country of origin. Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Years Country of origin Quantity (#) Declared value (US$) Source 1998 Bermuda (via United Kingdom) 1 0 Wild  Brazil (via United Kingdom) 1 0 Wild  USA (via United Kingdom) 1 0 Wild  Total 1998 3 0 - 1999 Australia (via Canada) 9 0 Unknown  Egypt (via Canada) 2 0 Unknown  Haiti (via Canada) 1 0 Unknown  Japan (via Canada) 20 0 Unknown  Philippines (via Canada) 1 0 Unknown  Romania (via Canada 17 0 Unknown  Surinam (via Canada) 1 0 Unknown  Total 1999 51 0 - Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  50  LIVE SEAHORSE TRADE IN THE USA AND CANADA Exports USA USFWS statistics indicate that the United States exported live seahorses to Canada, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Taiwan and the UK (Tables 9 and 10). Many of these export shipments contained seahorses originally from other countries, such as Brazil. Volumes of H. zosterae and H. erectus landed in Florida were relatively high (Table 5) but the proportions of these sold within the USA and exported outside the country remain unclear. Wood (2001) reported that the USA, particularly Florida, was the third main supplier of marine ornamental fishes for the European Union. Woeltjes (1995) included H. zosterae in an Table 9. Live seahorses reportedly exported by the USA (1996-2000). If Origin is other than USA: *Origin  is from various counties; + Origin is Brazil.  Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Years Destination Quantity (#) Declared value ($US) Source 1996 Mexico* 38 111 wild  Canada 36 108 wild  Mexico* 6 10 captive-bred Total 1996 80 229 - 1997 Israel 143 1430 unknown  Canada 100 500 unknown  South Africa 30 255 unknown Total 1997 273 2185 -  South Africa 110 916 captive-bred 1998 Canada 2 12 captive-bred  Taiwan*  20 430 wild Total 1998 132 1358 - 1999 Canada 86 0 captive-bred  Taiwan+ 80 1450 wild  Hungary+ 12 185 wild  Japan* 7 175 wild Total 1999 185 1810 -  Figure 3. Dried seahorses imported by the USA (1996-2000). Source: United States Fish and Wildlife Services, Office of Law Enforcement. Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada, LaFrance and Vincent  51 annotated list of ornamental fish species traded in the Netherlands during 1992-1994. Wood (2001) also reported that H. zosterae occupied the second rank of the top ten fishes exported from Florida. This may suggest gaps in declaration of live seahorses exported from the United States as the declared numbers of exported seahorse are considerably lower. Information from European Community import data for non-CITES Annex D species shows that the USA exported live seahorse to Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Portugal in 1998 and 1999. Even though these shipments were not of a significant quantity, they should have appeared on the USFWS data. Canada Little information was available regarding Canadian exports of live seahorses but given that only H. erectus occurs in Canadian waters, exports would be expected to be minor, if any occurred. USFWS data showed that the United States imported live seahorses from Canada (Tables 11 and 12). Most of these were captive-bred, and were exchanged among aquaria (Tables 11 and 12). One shipment in 1997 reportedly comprised wild-caught seahorses but these were most likely exported to Canada by another country. Imports USA According to USFWS data, over 4000 live seahorses were imported by the USA, for a total declared value of over US$ 33,000 (Table11 and 12). Based on USFWS records, Australia was the primary supplier of live seahorses to the USA. 54% of live seahorse shipments from 1996-2000 were from Australia (Figure 4). Some recent developments in seahorse aquaculture in Australia may explain, in part, why Australian seahorse imports account for such a significant percentage of recorded live seahorses imports in USA. This could also be an explanation for increases in the numbers of live seahorses imported in 2000 (Table 11). Live seahorses imported from Australia had a higher declared value compared to those from other countries. The Philippines accounted for 35% of the live seahorses imported by the United States from 1996 to 2000 (Figure 4). The remaining percentage was divided among Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Table 10. Live seahorses reportedly exported by the USA (1996-2000) that were not for commercial purposes - exchanges among aquaria. Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Years Destination Quantity (#) Declared value ($US) Source 1998 Canada 28 280 captive-bred 1999 United Kingdom 83 0 wild  United Kingdom 75 0 captive-bred Total 1999 158 0 - Table 11. Live seahorses imported by the USA (1996-2000). Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Years Country of origin Quantity (#) Declared value ($US) Source 1996 Philippines 141 279 wild  Solomon Islands 27 94 wild Total 1996 168 373 - 1997 Philippines 98 62 wild  Australia (via Canada) 30 1,255 captive-bred  Canada 10 476 wild  Australia 4 100 wild  Costa Rica 1 5 wild  Total 1997 143 1,898 - 1998 Brazil 55 44 wild  Australia 42 7,940 wild  Philippines 4 7 wild Total 1998 101 7,991 - 1999 Brazil 105 141 wild  Australia 3 125 wild  Philippines 3 6 wild  Australia 2 64 captive-bred Total 1999 113 336 - 2000 Philippines 1,276 1,942 wild  Australia 1,198 11,774 wild  Australia 1,030 5,450 captive bred  Brazil 150 135 wild  Vietnam 100 800 wild  Indonesia (via Japan) 46 0 wild  Australia (via Japan) 31 2,812 captive-bred  Japan 5 0 captive-bred Total 2000 3,836 22,913 - Total 1996-2000 4,361 33,511  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  52 Solomon Islands, Canada, Japan and Costa Rica. The main ports of entry for live seahorses in the USA are also shown on Figure 4. New York, Miami and Los Angeles appeared to be the main ports of entry for live seahorses from 1996 to 2000. Canada The USFWS export data show that the USA exported live seahorses to Canada. From 1996 to 2000, 252 live seahorses with a declared value of US$900 were recorded as being exported from the USA to Canada. At least 45% of these were from captive-bred, 40% were from an unknown source and 15% were reportedly from the wild (Table 9). Of the 252 live seahorses imported, 28 were exchanges among aquariums (Table 10). There is also evidence from interviews with Singaporean and Indonesian aquarium exporters that Canada imports live seahorses from both these regions. One Singaporean exporter mentioned Montreal specifically as the furthest destination to which he shipped fishes. Sources Aquaculture and captive breeding The only functional seahorse aquaculture venture known in the USA was based in Hawaii. This operation was breeding seahorses for commercial purposes. Their seahorses may be purchased by mail order or through the Internet. The proportions of these seahorses which were sold within the USA and exported were unclear.  Table 12. Live seahorses imported by the United States (1996-2000) that were not for commercial purposes - exchanges among aquaria. Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Years Country of origin Quantity (#) Declared value ($US) Source 1999 United Kingdom 95 0 captive-bred 2000 Canada 40 40 captive-bred  Japan 30 15 captive-bred  Japan 30 15 wild  United Kingdom 20 31 captive-bred Total 2000 120 101 -  Figure 4. Live seahorses imported by the United States (1996-2000). Source: United States Fish and Wildlife Services, Office of Law Enforcement. Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada, LaFrance and Vincent  53 OTHER SYNGNATHID SPECIES IN THE USA AND CANADA Local species of pipefishes At least 30 species of pipefish, from seven genera, occur in American and Canadian waters (Table 13). Pipefishes usually occur in shallow coastal areas with eelgrass beds, which they use as nursery and feeding grounds as well as for shelter from predators (Teixeira & Musick, 1995). The development of coastal zones, pollution and destructive fishing gear have major impacts on eelgrass beds and may therefore pose a threat to pipefish populations. None of the pipefish species occurring in USA and Canada were listed on the IUCN Red List (Hilton-Taylor, 2000). Three species (Cosmocampus balli, Doryrhamphus baldwini, and Halicampus edmondsoni) are endemic to Hawaii (Dawson, 1985) and one species (S. affinis) has been reported as possibly extinct owing to habitat loss (Roberts et al., 1998). Table 13. Pipefishes occurring in United States and Canada. Source: Froese & Pauly (2000). Note that pipefish species occurring in Guam and Puerto Rico are not included. Species Common name Pacific coast Atlantic coast Gulf of Mexico Hawaii Anarchopterus criniger Fringed pipefish   (USA)   Anarchopterus tectus Insular pipefish  (USA)   Bryx dunckeri Pugnose pipefish   (USA)   Bryx randalli Ocellated pipefish     Cosmocampus albirostris Whitenose pipefish   (USA)   Cosmocampus arctus arctus Snubnose pipefish     Cosmocampus balli Ball‟s Pipefish     (endemic) Cosmocampus brachycephalus Crested pipefish     Cosmocampus elucens Shortfin pipefish     Cosmocampus hildebrandi Dwarf pipefish     Cosmocampus profundus Deepwater pipefish   (USA)   Doryrhamphus baldwini Redstripe pipefish     (endemic) Doryrhamphus excisus excisus Bluestripe pipefish     Festucalex erythraeus Red pipefish     Halicampus edmondsoni Edmonson‟s pipefish     (endemic) Micrognathus crinitus Banded pipefish   (USA)   Micrognathus ensenadae Harlequin pipefish   (USA)   Microphis brachyurus brachyurus Opossum pipefish   (possibly)  (possibly)  Syngnathus affinis Texas pipefish    (possibly extinct)   Syngnathus auliscus Barred pipefish     Syngnathus californiensis Kelp pipefish     Syngnathus euchrous Chocolate pipefish     Syngnathus exilis Barcheek pipefish     Syngnathus floridae Dusky pipefish   (USA)   Syngnathus fuscus Northern pipefish   (USA & Canada)   Syngnathus leptorhynchus Bay pipefish  (USA & Canada)    Syngnathus louisianae Chain pipefish   (USA)   Syngnathus pelagicus Sargassum pipefish   (USA)   Syngnathus scovelli Gulf pipefish   (USA)   Syngnathus springeri Bull pipefish    (USA)   Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  54 Pipefish exploitation  According to responses from government agencies, only S. pelagicus has been targeted in the USA (Table 5). Pipefishes have occasionally been noticed in bycatch associated with the Louisiana shrimp fishery (R. Paussina, in litt., 22 February 2001) and Alabama but bycatch landings were not monitored. Where states have a Fisheries Assessment and Monitoring Program (See Legislation), pipefishes have not appeared to be an important component of the catch. As an example, a total of only 1,162 S. louisianae and 256 S. scovelli were recorded in Mississippi from 1986 to 2000. Trade in pipefishes Little information was available on the pipefish trade in the USA and Canada. The USFWS did not have specific codes to record syngnathids, other than seahorses, and therefore no official statistics were available for the United States. Hong Kong Customs Records revealed that 10 kg of dried pipefishes, originally from China, were exported to Canada in May 2001. The shipment had a declared value of HK$22,000 (US$2,828). CONSERVATION CONCERNS ABOUT SYNGNATHIDS IN THE USA AND CANADA Hippocampus reidi, H. zosterae, A. criniger, M. brachyurus and S. affinis have been identified as marine fish stock at risk in the United States owing to habitat degradation (Musick et al., 2000). Seagrasses are declining globally as a result of disturbances in coastal and estuarine environments (Short & Wyllie- Echeverria, 1996) and documentation of seagrass habitat loss has become a major focus for a number of Federal programmes in the USA (e.g. Klemas et al., 1993 in Short & Burdick, 1996). Disturbances such as pollution, coastal modification and outbreaks of disease affect seagrass beds (Short & Burdick, 1996) and indirectly may affect populations of syngnathids and other marine organisms. Exploitation of H. zosterae, H. erectus and S. pelagicus in Florida has been closely monitored but stock assessments should be carried out in order to evaluate the sustainability of relevant fisheries and to establish management guidelines. Trawling may be disruptive to seahorse populations although the impact remains uncertain (Baum & Vincent, 2005). Further research and monitoring is needed to evaluate the impact of incidental catch on small fishes, such as syngnathids (Baum & Vincent, 2005). CONCLUSIONS The USFWS trade statistics have provided new information to help understand the seahorse trade in the USA. At least 622,619 dried seahorses were estimated to be imported by the United States between 1996 and 2000. The data suggest that the Philippines, Mainland China and Mexico were the main suppliers of dried seahorses, with 61%, 30% and 7% of the total dried import, respectively, from 1996 to 2000. The proportion of dried seahorses imported by the USA to supply domestic TCM and curio markets remains unclear. Recorded live seahorse imports between 1996 and 2000 were primarily from Australia (54%) and the Philippines (35%), with the remaining percentage divided among Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Canada, Japan and Costa Rica. USFWS seahorse export records showed only 98 dried seahorses and 856 live seahorses were exported from the USA during 1996-2000, but information sources from outside North America suggested that the export statistics may contain important gaps in declarations. As a first step toward better monitoring, the USFWS should update the species codes used for monitoring trade in order to reflect recent taxonomic revisions.  Information on the seahorse trade in Canada was scarce. Therefore, import and export volumes could not be estimated. The little information available indicates that dried seahorses have been imported from Hong Kong, USA and Peru, and that live seahorses have been imported from the USA, Singapore and Indonesia. Acknowledgements Thank you: A. Perry, Jana S. Project Seahorse; Shery Larkin, University of Florida; Marion Dean, USFWS. Seahorse trade in the USA and Canada, LaFrance and Vincent  55 REFERENCES Baum, J. K. & A.C.J. Vincent. 2005. Magnitude and inferred impacts of the seahorse trade in Latin America. Environmental Conservation 32: 305–319. Dawson, C.E. & R.P. Vari. 1982. Fishes of the western north Atlantic: part eight order Gasterosteiformes, suborder Syngnathoidei., Sears Foundation for Marine Research, Yale University: New Haven. Dawson, C.E. 1985. Indo-Pacific pipefishes (Red Sea to the Americas). The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, USA. Fratkin, J. 1986. Chinese Herbal Patent Formulas: A Practical Guide. SHYA Publications, Colorado. Fritzsche, R.A. 1980. Revision of the Eastern Pacific Syngnathidae (Pisces: Syngnathiformes), including both recent and fossil forms. Proceeding of the California academy of Science. 42 (6): 181-227. Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Eds.). 2000. FishBase 2000: concepts, design and data sources. ICLARM, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. 344 p. Groves, J.S. & R.J. Lavenberg. 1997. The fishes of Galapagos Island. Stanford University Press. California. pp. 285-287. Hardy, J.D. 1978. Development of fishes of the mid-Atlantic Bight. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p. 389- 410. Hilton-Taylor, C. 2000. 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xviii + 61 p. (with 1 CD-ROM) International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). 2000. The availability of seahorses in the US for use in traditional Chinese Medicine. Yarmouth port, USA. Lourie, S.A., Vincent, A.C.J. & H.J. Hall. 1999. Seahorses: an identification guide to the world‘s species and their conservation. Project Seahorse. London, UK. 214pp. Masonjones, H.D. 1997. Sexual selection in the dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae (Syngnathidae): an investigation into the mechanisms determining the degree of male vs. female intrasexual competition and intersexual choice. Ph.D. Thesis, Tufts University, Medford. Masonjones, H.D. & S.M. Lewis. 1996. Courtship Behavior in the Dwarf Seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae. Copeia 3: 634-640. Masonjones, H.D. & S.M. Lewis. 2000. Differences in potential reproductive rates of male and female seahorses related to courtship roles. Animal Behaviour 59: 11-20. Matlock, G. C. 1992. Life History Aspects of Seahorses, Hippocampus, in Texas. The Texas Journal of Science 44: 213-222. Miller, D.J. & R.N. Lea. 1972. Guide to the coastal marine fishes of California. Calif. Dept. Fish and Game, Fish Bull. 157:235 p. Musick, J.A., Harbin, M.M., Berkeley, S. A., Burgess, G.H., Eklund, A.M., Findley, L., Gilmore, R.G., Golden, J.T., Ha, D.S., Huntsmann, G.R., McGovern, J.C., Parker, S.J., Poss, S.G., Sala, E., Schmidt, T.W., Sedberry, G.R., Weeks, H. & S.G. Wright 2000. Marine, Estuarine, and Diadromus Fish Stocks at Risk of Extinction in North America (Exclusive of Pacific salmonids) Fisheries. American Fisheries Society 25(11): 6-30. Roberts, C.M., Hawkins, J.P., Chapman, N., Clarke, V., Morris, A.V., Miller, R. & A. Richards. 1998. The threatened status of marine species. A report to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Species Survival Commission, and Center for Marine Conservation, Washington DC. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  56 Short, F.T. & S. Wyllie-Echeverria. 1996. Natural and human-induced disturbance of seagrasses. Environmental Conservation 23: 17-27. Short, F.T. & D.M. Burdick. 1996. Quantifying Eelgrass Loss in Relation to Housing Development and Nitrogen Loading in Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts. Estuaries 19(3): 730-739. Strawn, K. 1953. A study of the dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus regulus Ginsburg at Cedar Key, Florida. M.Sc thesis. University of Florida. Teixeira , R. L. & J.A. Musick. 1995. Trophic ecology of two congeneric pipefishes (Syngnathidae) of the lower York River, Virginia. Environmental Biology of Fishes 43: 295-309. Teixeira , R. L. & J.A. Musick. 2001. Reproduction and food habits of the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. Rev. Braz. Biol. 61(1): 79-90. Tipton, K. & S.S. Bell. 1988. Foraging patterns of two syngnathid fishes: importance of harpacticoid copepods. Marine Ecology - Progress Series 47: 31-43. Vari, R.P. 1982. The seahorses (Subfamily Hippocampinae). Memoir Sears Foundation for Marine Research, No.1. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic, Part Eight, Order Gasterosteiformes, Suborder Syngnathoidei, Syngnathidae (Doryrahmphinae, Syngnathinae, Hippocampinae), Yale University, New Haven, pp. 178-193. Vincent, A.C.J. 1996. The International Trade in Seahorses. TRAFFIC International, Cambridge. pp. 163. Woeltjes, T. 1995. Annotated list of ornemental fish species to be found in trade in the Netherlands 1992- 1994. WWF-Netherlands/TRAFFIC Europe, 138 pp. Wood, E.M. 2001. Collection of Coral Reef Fish for Aquaria: Global Trade, Conservation issues and management Strategies. Marine Conservation Society, UK. 80 pp. Seahorse trade in Mexico, Baum  and  Vincent  57 CHAPTER 3. SEAHORSE TRADE IN MEXICO1 Julia K. Baum and Amanda C.J. Vincent Project Seahorse, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia,  2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4; Email:a.vincent@fisheries.ubc.ca ABSTRACT Mexico traded both dried and live seahorses. Domestic seahorses were afforded some legal protection, as only those cultured or incidentally caught could be traded legally. A target fishery for the aquarium trade nonetheless existed. Most seahorses traded dried, however, were caught incidentally in the country‘s shrimp trawl fisheries. Dried seahorses were both traded domestically as curios and exported, most likely for use in TCM, to Japan, Hong Kong, Mainland China and the USA. Domestic consumption for curios was estimated to total 6,600 to 8,100 seahorses annually (20-24 kg). Exports of dried seahorses in Mexico apparently began in response to demand from the international market. Dried seahorse exports to Japan from the Pacific coast between 1985 and 1995 may have totaled 2,500 kg per annum. In addition, from 1990 onwards shark fin traders on the Caribbean coast exported unknown numbers of seahorses to Japan. Official records indicate that by the late-1990s, Mexico was also exporting 23-140 kg dried seahorses to Hong Kong and the United States each year. Mexico also exported over 7,600 kg of dried seahorses in 2000 to Mainland China. Live seahorses traded as aquarium fish were caught illegally on the Pacific coast or captive-bred in two aquaculture ventures. Most were traded domestically, but several hundred were exported each year to the USA. Several thousand live seahorses were also imported from the Philippines, Indonesia, Hawaii, Fiji, and Brazil per annum. In total, an estimated 8,200 – 14,600 seahorses were consumed annually by Mexico‘s aquarium trade. Dried and live pipefish were also traded in Mexico. Dried pipefish were traded domestically on Mexico‘s Caribbean coast, and may also have been exported from there. Both locally caught freshwater pipefish and imported saltwater pipefish were traded domestically as ornamental fishes. BACKGROUND FOR MEXICO Information sources in Mexico Information for this section stems from research in Mexico conducted in January and February 2000. The author conducted over 250 interviews with people involved in or with knowledge of the seahorse trade (Table 1). Interviews were conducted in Spanish through an assistant, who translated and verified notes. Interviews with some aquarium fish shops in Mexico City and Guadalajara were conducted by phone by the author‘s assistant. The author was introduced to Government officials, academics and NGOs as a biologist researching the seahorse trade, and in most other cases as a graduate student researching seahorse biology. Most respondents were co-operative, and notes could be taken during interviews with Government officials, researchers, aquarists, fishers and divers. However, many dried and live traders (particularly in                                                                1 Cite as: Baum, J.K. and A.C.J. Vincent. 2011. Seahorse trade in Europe. p. 57-77. In: Vincent, A.C.J., Giles, B.G., Czembor, C.A.  and Foster,  S.J.  (eds.). Trade in seahorses  and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001). Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(1). Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia [ISSN 1198-6727]. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  58 Table 1. Number of respondents interviewed in Mexico, by profession and location. Background of Respondents Location of interview Sample Size  Caribbean Coast Guadalajara Mexico City Pacific Coast  Artisanal fisher - - - 13 13   Artisanal diver - - - 12 12   Commercial fisher 34 - - 24 59   Fishery inspector/ management 1 - - 3 4 Dried marine products trader 15 - 1 34 50 Ornamental fish trader - 13 55 11 79 Seahorse culturist 1 - - 3 4 Academic (biologist/researcher)  - - 1 9 10  Government official 2 - 4 4 11 NGO - - - 4 4   Dive shop employee/owner - - - 4 4 Other - - - 7 6   Total 53 13 61 128 255  Mexico City‘s aquarium markets) were reluctant to disclose information about their business. In such cases, notes were made immediately following the interview. Research was conducted inland in Mexico City and Guadalajara; in Tampico, Veracruz, Alvarado, Ciudad del Carmen, Lerma, Campeche and Cancun on the Caribbean coast, and, on the Pacific coast, in La Paz and Loreto (both in Baja California), Guaymas, Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Puerto Escondido, Huatulco and Salina Cruz (all indicated on Figure 1). Findings are supplemented by Mexico Government fisheries statistics, Mainland China, Hong Kong and United States Customs data, and other sources as cited. Seahorses in Mexico Geographic distribution Caribbean Coast Three seahorse species occur along Mexico‘s Caribbean coast: Hippocampus erectus, a medium-sized deep-bodied species, usually marked with horizontal lines; H. reidi, the long-snout seahorse, a slender medium-sized species; and H. zosterae, a dwarf species (approx. 25mm in height). Both larger species were exploited in the Mexican dried and live trades, and traders did not distinguish between them. The author did not, however, encounter H. zosterae in the trade. Due to its small size, it is unlikely that this species is traded. Each of these three species is listed as Vulnerable (A2cd) by the IUCN (IUCN 2002). No biological studies of any of these species have been undertaken in Mexico. The author obtained 41 specimens of H. erectus that weighed from 0.57-12.02 g (mean=2.28±1.99) and ranged in height from 5.0 to 15.1 cm. Three specimens of H. reidi weighed 3.34 g on average (±1.85s.d.) and ranged in height from 4.7 to 14.3 cm. Thirty fishers on this coast reported seahorse heights ranging from 5.0 to 20.0 cm (mean=10.2 cm). Four experienced fishers and vendors commented that the average size of seahorses had declined over time (between 7 and ~40 years), but eight others did not believe that there had been a change.  The average weight of H. erectus and H. ingens (2.35 g) was used to convert seahorse catch estimates for the Caribbean coast to weights. Based on these specimens, there are about 425 seahorses per kilogram. Fishers most commonly caught black and brown seahorses, but some fishers also reported finding yellow, red, white and orange seahorses, and very occasionally, green or pink ones. Along the Caribbean coast, fishers reported that they caught the most seahorses in Quintana Roo state, near Contoy, Isla Mujeres and Isla Cozumel, and in Yucatán state, near Celestún and Progreso. Fishers also commonly found seahorses in the Sonda de Campeche; several specifically mentioned Cayos Arcas and Triángulus as the best areas within this region.  All of these areas are near coral reefs, with the exception of Celestún, which is located within a national park bordered by mangroves. Indeed, of the Seahorse trade in Mexico, Baum  and  Vincent  59 thirty-one fishers who responded to habitat questions, most associated seahorse catches with rocks (n=20) or coral reef (n=14). A few, however, cautioned that they avoided fishing in these areas for fear of ripping their gear. Some fishers also caught seahorses in seagrasses (n=4) or algae (n=1). Reported depths for catching seahorses ranged from 8 to 80m (n=26). Seahorse catches were reportedly very low in Tampico and Veracruz, perhaps because waters are very deep there, compared to the shallow continental platform in the Sonda de Campeche, or because of the lack of appropriate habitat. Twenty-three fishers on the Caribbean coast commented on temporal variation in seahorse catch, but there was no agreement among them as to timing. A few fishers mentioned that area was a more important determinant of catch. Twelve fishers also mentioned catching pregnant seahorses, but could not pinpoint breeding seasons.  Figure 1. Maps of Mexico [and Central America] showing (a) surveyed locations, and known locations where targeted and incidental seahorse catches  occurred, (b) known locations where dried seahorses were traded, and (c) known locations where live seahorses were traded. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  60 Pacific Coast Hippocampus ingens is the sole species found in the eastern Pacific, with a range extending from California to Peru. In Mexico, this species occurs along the entire length of the coast. One of the world‘s largest seahorse species, H. ingens is listed as Vulnerable (A2cd) by the IUCN (IUCN, 2002). Thirty specimens of H. ingens weighed between 0.96 and 8.57 g (mean=4.18±2.45s.d.) and ranged in height from 8.6 to 18.7 cm. Reported seahorse heights ranged between 5.0 and 30.0 cm (mean 11.5 cm, n=29). Seven experienced fishers reported a decline in seahorse size over time, but as many others did not think there had been a change. The mean weight of specimens was used to convert estimates of H. ingens numbers to weights. Based on it, there are about 239 seahorses per kilogram. Fishers most frequently caught brown seahorses, but black and yellow seahorses were also common. Some fishers had also caught red, orange, grey, and white seahorses. Divers reportedly either found seahorses alone or in pairs. Fishers who trawled the entire length of the Pacific coast cited the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas as the best region for catching seahorses. Within that region, Salina Cruz, Barra San Francisco and Puerto Arista were mentioned as the best areas.  Divers and biologists reported that seahorses were very rare within the Gulf of California. Seahorse abundance near Puerto Vallarta, had apparently declined since the early-1990s. Fishers (n=26) caught most seahorses in areas with algae, rocks, and/or coral. Some fishers also found seahorses in seagrasses (n=6) and sponges (n=5). A few fishers in Mazatlán reportedly caught seahorses in sandy, muddy bottoms. Fishers caught seahorses between 1 and 55m, but most fishers found seahorses between 20 and 35 m depth. Most fishers (n=29) reported seasonal variation in seahorse catches. Nine fishers also commented on the breeding season for seahorses, but there was little agreement among their responses. Species traded/imported Seahorses were imported from the Philippines for the curio trade, and from the Philippines, Fiji, Hawaii, Indonesia and Brazil for the aquarium trade. In the aquarium trade, at least H. barbouri (found in the Philippines and Malaysia) and H. reidi (from Brazil) were traded. Live seahorse traders did not distinguish seahorses by species, but rather by size, colour, and the presence of spines. Large brightly coloured seahorses (yellow or red) were most valued. Uses Dried Seahorses in TCM in Mexico Seahorses were not used for TCM in Mexico, although a few fishers were aware that seahorses were being exported to Asia for medicinal use. One fisher mentioned that others had put seahorses in bottles of cognac and consumed this as an aphrodisiac after being told by Chinese people about this practice. Seahorses in folk medicine in Mexico Evidence of the medicinal use of seahorses was found only on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, where several shrimp fishers noted that seahorses were sometimes retained to treat asthma, particularly in children. Most fishers familiar with this practice said that they gave the seahorses away, although some apparently also sold seahorses for this purpose. As in some Asian treatments for asthma, the seahorses were roasted and ground before being consumed. In general, the medicinal use of seahorses in Mexico was very limited, as few people knew of or believed in it. Seahorses as curios in Mexico Seahorses were sold as curios to national and foreign tourists along both coasts of Mexico. Dried seahorses were usually sold either unfinished or varnished, but the author also found seahorses for sale that had been made into key-chains, pens, ―dragons‖ with wings and eyes attached, or in shell displays. Some fishers also retained seahorses as curios for personal use or gifts.  Several of these fishers cited low value as the reason for not selling seahorses. In addition to key-chains and dragons, these fishers sometimes Seahorse trade in Mexico, Baum  and  Vincent  61 fashioned small seahorses into earrings or necklaces. Four people commented that Mexicans thought seahorses were good luck, but in general very few people attached special beliefs or importance to seahorses. Live Seahorses as aquarium fishes in Mexico Seahorses were popular as ornamental fish domestically. In Mexico City and Guadalajara, most aquarium retailers that sold marine fishes, sold seahorses. Large, brightly coloured seahorses (red or yellow) were preferred. Experienced live aquarium fish traders said husbandry knowledge about seahorses was limited, and many reported difficulties in obtaining live Artemia salina to feed seahorses. Indeed, many hobby shops that did not sell seahorses or did not have them in stock remarked that they tried to avoid seahorses because they were difficult to maintain.   Legislation No formal records about the trade in live or dried seahorses could be obtained by the author. It is not known how, or if, seahorse imports and exports are recorded in Mexico‘s Customs data. The commercialization of cultured and incidentally-caught seahorses was legal in Mexico.  Permits issued through SAHAGAR (Sría de Agricultura y Ganadería), the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock, also allowed imports of seahorses. However, both the intentional capture of wild seahorses and their trade was illegal.  Fisheries officials cited the uniqueness of seahorses and population declines as reasons for the prohibition, adding that, in the absence of scientific knowledge about these species, the Mexican Government was being cautious. Many marine products traders throughout the country believed that seahorses were endangered, and that the sale of dried seahorses was therefore illegal. No research, however, had been done on seahorses in Mexico, and the status of local populations was unknown. The capture of ornamental fishes was prohibited in Mexico from the mid-1990s until 1999. In 2000, only two new licences (Permiso de Pesca de Fomento) had been issued for the collection of ornamental fishes, and seahorses were not included in the list of permitted species. The new licenses required collectors to pay for the monitoring of the fish populations they collect from. There appeared to be little control of the trade in aquarium fishes, which did include seahorses. A few aquariums noted that, in order to sell seahorses, they required receipts that listed the seahorses‘ origin. Some aquariums obtained this documentation by importing a few seahorses and then purchasing others on the black market. One diver admitted that since their catch was not inspected, prohibiting the capture of seahorses had had no effect. Indeed, a few fisheries officials admitted that there was little enforcement of laws within the aquarium trade. Most seahorses traded were landed as bycatch in Mexico‘s shrimp trawl fisheries. The Pacific coast fleet was closed from March or April until September, and the Caribbean fleet was closed from May until the end of July.  It was mandatory for trawl gear to be equipped with turtle excluder devices (TEDs), and trawling was prohibited in bays. Bycatch was not recorded in a systematic manner in the shrimp fishery. When target catches were low, however, the total bycatch quantity or the bycatch of commercial species that were been retained for sale was sometimes noted in official catch records. According to a Fisheries official, monitoring and enforcing regulations in these fisheries was hindered by limited resources and by the size of the fleets and fishing grounds.   There were several protected marine areas along both coasts of Mexico, including two Biosphere Reserves. Although the level of enforcement was unknown, these reserves should provide some level of protection for seahorses.   Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  62 SEAHORSE CATCHES IN MEXICO Target fisheries No target fishery for seahorses was located on the Caribbean coast, although two respondents elsewhere mentioned that in the past there had been a few divers in Veracruz and Cancun. Both divers in Mexico who held licenses in 2000 for the collection of ornamental fishes (not including seahorses) were located on the Pacific coast, in La Paz and Loreto, Baja California respectively. They denied catching seahorses. Other respondents suggested that artisanal fishing co-operatives in these two areas might occasionally target ornamental fishes, including seahorses, but no direct evidence of this was found. H. ingens, however, was targeted on the Pacific coast as part of the black market in aquarium fishes, in Acapulco, and perhaps also in Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Ixtapa, Huatulco and Puerto Escondido. Co- operatives of hookah divers in Acapulco primarily targeted seafood (oysters etc.), but caught ornamental fishes, including seahorses, to earn extra income (illegally, as they did not have permits). According to divers and aquarium traders, in 2000 there were likely 10-15 divers selling seahorses in the area. An experienced diver said the number of divers had increased from three when he began in the mid-1980s. Divers supplied aquarium fishes to Mexico City‘s two wholesale aquarium markets, and this trade-route was well-established. Two of three divers in Acapulco reported that catches increased in the rainy summer season (May- October). An experienced diver, who usually covered an 80m2 area during 4-5 hours of diving a day, reported that in the ―best time‖ (June-July) he could catch 10 seahorses/hour and usually sold about 30/month. In contrast, during the dry season he could hardly find seahorses. A young diver explained that during the rainy season seahorses were near the water surface. He caught 80-120 seahorses/month (max. 320) in the rainy season, compared to only 16-80/month at other times. A diver, who did not target seahorses, said he still came across 2-3 per week by chance. If even half of the divers in this area opportunistically caught seahorses, collectively they could have caught at least 1,380 to 1,932 seahorses per annum [5-7 divers x (6 months x 30 seahorses/month + 6 months x 16/month)]. If all divers were involved, the catch could have been much higher [between at least 2,760 and 4,140 seahorses based on 10- 15 divers x (6 months x 30 seahorses/month + 6 months x 16/month)]. In Mazatlán, an aquarium employee had heard of a group of divers who apparently collected 200 seahorses locally in one trip in 1999 for a prospective seahorse culturist. He commented that fishers knew where to find seahorses. The aquarium‘s manager agreed and said that divers had found out people were interested in seahorses, and were overfishing them.   Bycatch Commercial Fisheries All dried seahorses entering the international seahorse trade were caught as a bycatch of Mexico‘s commercial shrimp trawl fisheries. The five principal shrimp trawl ports in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coast were surveyed. The fleet comprised 658 boats (x 70% presumed operational at any one time = 461), each equipped with four nets 12-15 m in length, with mesh of 2.5-5 cm. Shrimp fishers targeted brown (Peneaus aztecus), pink (P. duorarum), and white shrimp (P. setiferus). Although some boats fished within their home state, others fished along the entire Mexican coast. During 20 to 30 day trips, trawling either took place day and night, or at night only.  Boats usually did 4-hour trawls, but tows could last up to 6 hours depending on the bottom substrate.  Some seahorses were still alive when nets were hauled. Although six fishers reported that they returned live seahorses, most seahorses caught in this fishery were retained and dried. Almost half of the shrimp fishers interviewed in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean (n=15) reported that seahorses were a very rare incidental catch in this fishery.  According to eight fishers, boats in Tamaulipas (TM) and Veracruz (VZ) States typically caught only a few seahorses per monthly trip (mean=5.6).  Sixteen Seahorse trade in Mexico, Baum  and  Vincent  63 fishers estimated catches of about 10 seahorses per month, and occasionally up to fifty or sixty in Campeche State (CM; mean=15.9). Fishers reported the highest catches in the Caribbean (CR): 25 seahorses per trip on average, and a few hundred per trip in the best areas (mean=64.5, n=13). Accounting for regional differences, this fleet may have from 53,000-60 000 seahorses per annum2 (125-140 kg; Table 2). The Pacific fleet had over 1,300 boats and the three major ports surveyed (Mazatlán, Guaymas and Salina Cruz) represented over 90% of the fleet. Boats fished along Mexico‘s entire Pacific coast and in the Gulf of Baja California. Most boats were equipped with two nets of 25-32 m length, with mesh sizes of 5.0-6.5 cm in the main net and 3.2 – 4.5 cm in the cod end. During trips of 15-30 days, fishers primarily targeted brown (Penaeus californiensis), blue (P. stylirostris) and white shrimp (P. vannamei). Tows of one to four hours were made continuously, day and night. Fishers said that most seahorses were alive when brought onboard, but almost all were retained for personal use as curiosities or for sale (n=20 fishers). Catch estimates for the Pacific coast were provided by twenty-two shrimp fishers, one fishing port guard, and one biologist working aboard a research vessel. Seven fishers on the Pacific coast reported that seahorse catches were infrequent, and three fishers said that seahorses could no longer be found in the areas in which they fished. According to four fishers in Guaymas and Mazatlán, however, catches were still high at the beginning of the shrimp season, when three-hour trawls could yield between 20 and 40 seahorses. Outside of this time, typical trawls caught only a couple of seahorses. Monthly catch estimates varied considerably, from 0 to 375, with mean 45 ± 14s.e. (n=17). Collectively, this large fleet may have caught 199,423 – 379,547 seahorses (834 -1,587 kg) per season [1,313 boats (919 operational) x 7 month fishing season x 31-59 seahorses/month/boat; 4.18 g per seahorse] Seahorse bycatch was not generally recorded, but a catch record from the Pacific coast in 1999 indicated that ~60 kg of seahorses were caught by one boat (within one season) and sold, likely by the boat‘s owner reported (SEMARNAT, 1999). If correct, this record indicates substantially greater seahorse catches than fishers.  Artisanal Fisheries Artisanal fisheries generally appeared to catch few seahorses and very few of these entered Mexico‘s seahorse trade. Indeed, ten artisanal fishers explained that they did not catch seahorses at all, either due to their gear type or fishing area. Most artisanal fishers who did catch seahorses returned them, but some fishers occasionally dried and kept them as curiosities. Only two fishers mentioned that they very rarely were able to sell a few dried seahorses. Consequently, surveying effort concentrated on Mexico‘s trawl fisheries, and this section offers only a brief overview of artisanal fisheries.   Table 2. Commercial shrimp trawl fleet size and annual seahorse bycatch estimates. Based on the mean weight of dried specimens obtained by the author, there were 425 seahorses/kilogram on the Caribbean coast and 239 seahorses/kilogram on the Pacific coast. Sources: * SEMARNAT, 2001a, 2001b; + Author‘s research. Coast Source Operating Fleet Size* Annual bycatch estimates+    Per boat (kg) Per total fleet (# seahorses) Per total fleet (kg) Caribbean fishers 461 0.27-0.30 kg 53,230-59,528 125-140 Pacific fishers 919 0.91-1.73 kg 199,423-349,547 834-1,587  Government catch record  One boat: 60 kg   Total  1,971  355,000-620,000 1,355-2,449                                                               2 TM & VZ: 312 boats (218 boats operational) x 9- 10 trips/annum x 5.6 seahorses/trip = 10987-12208; CM: 311 boats (218 boats) x  8-9 trips x 15.9 = 27,730-31 195; CR: 35 boats (24.5 boats operational) x 9-10trips/annum x 64.5 seahorses/trip =  14,512.5 – 16,125; Total =  53,230-59,528 seahorses @ 2.35 g per seahorse  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  64 According to three beach seine (chinchorro) fishers, this gear very rarely caught seahorses. One trader had purchased live seahorses from seven artisinal beach seine fishers in Acapulco in the mid-nineties.  The author interviewed one fisher in 2000 who sold live seahorses to local buyers and buyers from Mexico City. Mesh size of beach seine nets was 5.7–6.4 cm. Gill nets (agallera) very occasionally caught seahorses as bycatch (n=2). One fisher thought it possible to catch one to three seahorses in 24 hours at certain times, but stated that, in general, he did not catch many. Gill nets were set in depths of approximately 10-12m. Mesh sizes varied from 3.8 –11.4 cm depending on the size of the target fish. Many artisanal fishers commented that the mesh they used was too large to catch seahorses. It is possible, however, that seahorses were taken as a bycatch of many other artisanal fishers using small-meshed nets, such as oyster and sardine fishers. One oyster fisher said he might catch 1-2 seahorses/month. DRIED SEAHORSE TRADE IN MEXICO Domestic trade The domestic curio trade in seahorses was widespread on both coasts, likely because almost every coastal town supported at least some tourism. Caribbean Coast Seahorses were sold as curios in Tampico, Veracruz, and Cancun, but not in Ciudad del Carmen or Campeche. The author located only twelve curio traders on this coast, but more traders may operate in the Cancun area. Most seahorses in the curio trade were caught by the Caribbean shrimp fleet and sold locally by Level 2 buyers. However, two of the well-established buyers in this trade obtained their seahorses from the Pacific shrimp fleet. Nine curio traders on the Caribbean coast had only begun selling seahorses in the past few years, but three buyers in Veracruz had sold seahorses for several decades. Trade was heavily dependent on tourist seasons: curio traders (Level 2) reported that they generally sold a few seahorses per month, with substantial increases during holiday periods, including carnival (March); Easter (Semana Santa); in the summer and during December. Ten curio traders provided volume estimates that ranged from 12 to 800 seahorses per annum. Based on their estimates, the curio trade on this coast likely consumes a few thousand seahorses each year (1,400-2,300, or about 3-5 kg). Pacific Coast Most seahorses that entered the curio trade on the Pacific coast were also caught by shrimp fishers. Fishers who stopped at more than one port along the coast, could choose the best location to sell their seahorses. For instance, one fisher commented that it was easier to sell seahorses in Guaymas, than in Mazatlán. In Baja California, some seahorses were also caught by hand by artisanal fishers, and in Acapulco divers supplied some of the seahorses in the curio trade. Twenty-seven curio traders were located along the Pacific coast. Most stores had started selling seahorses within the last decade (1990s), but in each of Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, one store had sold seahorses for over ten years. And in Guaymas a store that specialized in shell craft had sold seahorses for fifty years. Curio traders sold seahorses to both Mexican and international tourists, and many reported that Mexican tourists were the more common buyers. Again, trade was closely linked to the tourist seasons described for the Caribbean. Seahorse supply was limited in Puerto Vallarta, where several people knew the capture of seahorses to be illegal. Estimated annual seahorse sales from twenty-three of the traders ranged from 5-1000. Combining their estimates and that of one supplier who sold 3,300 seahorses annually to other traders, yields a total estimate of 5,200- 5,800 dried seahorses to tourists per annum (17-19 kg). Although the major tourist areas were surveyed, seahorses may also be traded in other areas along the coast (respondents suggested Manzanillo and Playa Azul). This figure should therefore be taken as a minimum. Seahorse trade in Mexico, Baum  and  Vincent  65 Exports Caribbean coast On the Caribbean coast, seahorses were exported to Japan from Lerma and Campeche by shark fin traders.  A retired fisher in Lerma explained that, since about 1990, he had gathered seahorses from shrimp fishers. His buyers came to the port to purchase both seahorses and sharks fins (caught in the local shark fishery). A vendor in a fish market (Level 2) in Lerma also sold seahorses to shark fin buyers. He reported that middlemen (Level 3) came from Champoton, Campeche twice a week to make purchases on behalf of one exporter (Level 4). The vendor obtained seahorses from shrimp fishers, upon request from the middlemen, who would buy all available. The exporter reportedly traded primarily in shark products, but occasionally purchased seahorses ―when there was demand‖. According to the fish vendor, this exporter purchased shark fins from all over Mexico for export to Miami, Los Angeles (both in U.S.A.) and Japan. He believed the exporter to be one of the principal buyers, but said there were ―various (other) buyers‖. Two other sources confirmed that shark fin traders purchased seahorses. Volume estimates for this trade were not possible. It is possible that there were also other exporters on this coast. Fishers in Ciudad del Carmen, Lerma and Cancun reported that a few buyers (either from Mexico City, Veracruz, or the Caribbean) came to their port to buy seahorses from all local boats—whether for export is uncertain. Three fishers in Cancun mention specific people they believed to be exporters: (i) a local German buyer had been purchasing seahorses locally since 1996. She apparently bought all the seahorses fishers had each time, but the volume and destination of these fishes was unknown; (ii) a ―medium-size‖ exporter from Puebla apparently bought seahorses from Campeche and Isla Mujeres from about 1986-92;  (iii) an exporter from Ciudad del Carmen bought both seahorses and pipefish at the same time, in the same locations as the second exporter. Pacific coast Many exported seahorses were likely sourced from shrimp fishers in Sonora and Sinoloa states on the Pacific coast, since over eighty percent of the fleet was located in these two states, and fishers and traders there were familiar with seahorse exporters. According to fishers and fisheries officials, seahorses were exported to Los Angeles en route to Asia, or sent directly to Asia. The trade in Guaymas, Sonora and Mazatlán, Sinaloa involved at least 5 exporters in 2000, and possibly an additional five to six in 1999:   According to fisheries officials, an NGO and some fishers, one local fish buyer controlled the seahorse trade in Guaymas, Sonora. This buyer‘s employees likely operated as intermediate seahorse buyers, although they denied any involvement in the seahorse trade.  A well established curio trader (Level 2) in Guaymas knew of three other dried seahorse exporters operating from Guaymas who sent seahorses to the US and then onwards to Asia to be made into capsules for medicines. These exporters included a Chinese man who bought at least 500 seahorses from the curio trader annually, and a Korean man who bought ―1000s of seahorses and exports them‖. Another Chinese buyer in Alamos, Sonora, who bought several hundred seahorses per year from the curio trader, may also have exported them.  A curio trader (Level 2) in Mazatlán had apparently sold up to 2,000 dried seahorses per annum from 1998-2000 to a Chinese exporter. These seahorses were exported to Asia for TCM.  Another level 2 curio buyer in Guaymas reported that in 1999 five or six exporters came to buy seahorses for direct export to Asia.   As none of these exporters was interviewed directly, the magnitude of their businesses remains unknown. While only two shrimp fishers further south on the Pacific coast knew of seahorse exports to either the U.S. or Mainland China, nine reported past seahorse exports from Salina Cruz, Oaxaca and Pto. Madero, Chiapas to Japan. The earliest accounts from fishers were from the late seventies and early eighties, but most fishers said that this trade had occurred sometime between 1985 and 1995. Japan may have either produced patent medicines from these seahorses (use of dried seahorses as raw medicinal ingredient is low) or re-exported them, potentially to Mainland China. As Japan does not record Customs data on seahorses, however, this could not be confirmed. Since exports from these areas were not ongoing at the time of the survey and there were no official export records concerning this trade, it was difficult to accurately determine the magnitude of this former trade. Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  66 According to shrimp fishers, Japanese companies (Level 3) monopolized the dried seahorse trade during this time period, buying all available seahorses from ―all boats‖, through five to fifteen Mexican intermediates (Level 2).  One fisher said buyers came to the port daily, while another commented that buyers controlled the trade by giving payment in advance. Fishers reported that at the time of the trade, seahorse catches had been much higher, estimates varied between 180 and 3,000 per 15-day trips. Based on the mean catch estimate, if these exporters had accessed seahorse bycatch from even half of the Oaxaca licensed boats, they could have exported about 600,000 seahorses per annum (2,500 kg; 50 boats x 7 month fishing season x 1,700 seahorses/month/boat). Almost all fishers involved in the trade (n=7) said that the Japanese buyers, who had been interested only in purchasing large quantities of seahorses, had left in response to declining catches. The two fishers who still knew of buyers said there were fewer of them in 2000. Imports A shrimp captain on the Pacific coast of Guatemala reported exports of seahorses to Mexico in 1992 for use as aphrodisiacs. Based on the captain‘s estimates, this buyer may have exported 3.5 to 5.8 kg dried seahorses that year. The exporter paid US$0.19-US$0.29 (at 1992 exchange rate). It seems likely that the seahorses were re-exported to Asian end users, since seahorses were not used as aphrodisiacs in Mexico. One shell craft trader in Acapulco imported seahorses from the Philippines for the curio trade and estimated his annual sales at about 110 seahorses per annum. Volumes Customs data from Mainland China, Hong Kong, and the United States for the 1990s indicate that dried seahorse exports from Mexico varied greatly, from 35 to 7,661 kg per annum (Table 3). In 1990, Mainland China listed Mexico as their fourth largest seahorse supplier (by volume), and Mexican seahorses as the third most valuable (at US$137/kg). Mexico is not cited in later records from Mainland China (1993-99), but seahorses from Mexico have been re-exported from Hong Kong to Mainland China. In 2000, Hong Kong Customs recorded Mexico‘s largest seahorse export: 7,630 kg of dried seahorses declared at a value of US$129,487, almost all of which was re-exported to Mainland China. Although Mexico was one of Hong Kong‘s largest seahorse suppliers in 2000, Hong Kong recorded no seahorse imports from Mexico in either 1998 or 2001. Between 1996 and 2000, Mexico also exported about 35 kg of seahorses to the United States each year. Seahorses exported to the USA had substantially lower values than those exported to Asia.   It is difficult to get a complete picture of Mexico‘s seahorse exports, without Mexico Customs data or estimates from seahorse exporters, and because other Customs records may be incomplete (Table 3). Certainly, Mexico is capable of exporting 100s to 1,000s of kg of dried seahorse per year, supplied from the bycatch of its shrimp trawl fisheries. The official exports are within estimates of annual seahorse bycatch, with the exception of the 2000 report by Hong Kong of 7,630 kg. This figure is plausible if, as the one official catch record suggested, fishers underestimated seahorse bycatch: each boat would have had to catch 3.86 kg per annum. Considering, however, that buyers don‘t access the entire fleet (e.g. only sixty per cent of shrimp fishers interviewed on the Caribbean coast (n=16) were aware of seahorse commercialization), boats would have had to catch even more seahorses to supply this quantity to Hong Kong. Alternatively, seahorses may have stockpiled from previous years, or some of them could have been imported from somewhere else first (see Dried seahorse trade in Mexico: Imports). Values Values in Mexican pesos were converted to U.S. dollars using the mean rate of exchange during the time of the interviews (US$1=Ps9.46; available at http://www.oanda.com/convert/fxhistory). Seahorse trade in Mexico, Baum  and  Vincent  67 In 2000, fishers on the Caribbean coast sold dried seahorses for Ps1-5 each (US$0.11-0.53); others bartered them for goods. Curio traders sold seahorses to tourists for Ps10-70 each (US$1.06-7.40). On the Pacific coast, fishers who sold seahorses individually were paid Ps1-5 (US$0.11-0.53). However, one fisher in Mazatlán and one in Salina Cruz said they were paid Ps10 per seahorse (US$1.06). One fisher explained that price varied by region: he was paid Ps5 per seahorse in Mazatlán, but only Ps3 in Guaymas. A curio trader in Puerto Vallarta, who obtained seahorses through a Level 2 buyer instead of a fisher, paid her supplier Ps15-20 per seahorse (US$1.58-2.11). Curio traders sold dried seahorses for Ps9-69 (US$0.95-7.29); seahorse pens and key-chains for Ps9-47 (US$0.95-5); and framed artwork for Ps85-115 (US$8.98-12.15). One store that carried dried seahorses from the Philippines sold them for Ps55 each (US$5.81). Two curio traders reported that the selling price of seahorses had risen from Ps3-5 ten years prior (Table 4). An exporter in Guaymas, apparently paid fishers Ps350/kg dried seahorse (US$36.98/kg.). A Level 2 buyer in Mazatlán sold seahorses to a Chinese exporter for Ps5 each (US$0.53). In Salina Cruz, Japanese exporters (or their middlemen) had paid fishers Ps0.50-5 per seahorse (then US$0.18-1.18). According to fishers there, exporting seahorses had been a profitable business.  Table 3. Dried seahorses exported from Mexico to Mainland China, Hong Kong or U.S according to the respective countries‘ Customs data. Note: Hong Kong has recorded dried and live seahorses and pipefishes as separate line items since 1 Jan 1998. Sources: Mainland China Custom Data; Hong Kong Custom Data; United States Custom Data.  Year Destination Quantity (No.) Quantity (kg.) Total declared value Declared value/kg 1990 Mainland China - 131 US$18 000 US$137.4 1996 United States (country of origin unknown –sent via Mexico) 1 - US$0 US$0 1997 United States 9 - US$48 -  United States - 35 US$120 US$3.43 1998 United States 449 - US$476 -  United States - 38 US$151 US$3.97  Hong Kong - - - - 1999 United States 6 - US$20 -  United States - 36 US$75 US$2.08  Australia (via United States) 50 - US$100 -  Hong Kong - 140 HK$139,000 (US$17,913.66) US$127.95 2000 United States - 31 US$30 US$0.97  United States 1 - US$5 -  Hong Kong - 23 HK$20,000 (US$2 566.64) US$111.59  Hong Kong (re-exported to Mainland China) - 7,607 HK$989,000  (US$126 920.16) US$16.68 2001 Hong Kong - - - -  Table 4. Value of seahorses in dried trade by coast. Source: Author‘s research. Coast Amount paid to fishers Amount exporter paid buyer Cost of seahorses in domestic curio trade Cost of imported seahorses in domestic curio trade Caribbean  Ps1-5 each (US$0.11-0.53) ? Ps10-70 (US$1.06- 7.40) - Pacific  Ps1-5 each (US$0.11-0.53), Ps350/kg (US$36.98/kg) e.g. Ps5 each (US$0.53) Ps9-115 (US$0.95- 12.15) e.g. Ps55 each (US$5.81)  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  68 LIVE SEAHORSE TRADE IN MEXICO The aquarium trade in Mexico developed in the late-1980s. Commercial aquarium fisheries were prohibited during the mid-1990s, but by 2000 two collection permits had been issued. Two experienced aquarium traders believed the trade had peaked in the early nineties before the devaluation of the Mexican peso in 1994. Most seahorses were caught illegally on the Pacific coast. By 2000, Mexico had the most developed domestic aquarium trade in Latin America, next to Brazil, in terms of volume and husbandry techniques (pers. obs.; Wood 2001). Mexico‘s aquarium trade primarily operated through two wholesale aquarium markets in Mexico City. At Market 1, some wholesalers sold fish cheaply, directly from plastic bags to avoid having to acclimate them. A well-established wholesaler (A) there said that customers were concerned with price rather than quality of the product. Ornamental fishes at Market 2 had a high turnover rate, since as one hobby shop owner noted, wholesalers there sold their fish quickly before they died. Aquarium traders usually kept seahorses alone in tanks because seahorses could not compete for food or defend themselves against other fishes. Generally no holdfasts were provided in the tanks, and seahorses were sometimes observed clinging to the air pumps. A wholesaler trading in domestic seahorses said his seahorses suffered high mortality. He maintained seahorses at his shop for a maximum of two months, and said that during shipments from the source area seahorses were kept in plastic bags for 48 hours. According to three wholesalers who imported seahorses mortality was generally low. Seahorses were said to be in transit from Los Angeles (USA) for 6-12 hours, and they maintained them for a maximum of one week at their shops. Differences in prices paid by wholesalers for seahorses imported through Los Angeles (USA) may have partially reflected acclimation time there prior to shipment. Hobby shops reportedly maintained seahorses for up to two months. Mortality due to disease was infrequent, but several traders reported that seahorses sometimes quit eating and subsequently died. Trade routes and domestic trade Trade routes in live seahorses were complex. Seahorses were available from many different sources and the number of trade routes they passed through en route to retail hobby shops was variable.  Domestic seahorses were either cultured in Mazatlán or illegally wild-caught on the Pacific coast (mainly in Acapulco). Wholesalers also imported seahorses from Asia (often via the United States), or Brazil. Wholesalers at the aquarium markets obtained seahorses from one to several of these sources, and their seahorses were distributed throughout Mexico. Traders often operated on several levels. For example, some retailers bypassed wholesalers; wholesalers sometimes bypassed middlemen, buying domestic seahorses direct from the source or selling them directly to aquarists; and some wholesalers also supplied seahorses to other wholesalers. Ten seahorse wholesalers were located in Mexico City, half of whom had seahorses in stock (Table 5). In general, wholesalers were guarded with their answers and would not reveal their contacts in the business. Two wholesalers (A & B) at Market 1 were believed to be the main distributors in Mexico. Wholesaler A obtained seahorses from two aquarists in Mexico, and imported seahorses from at least Brazil and the Indo Pacific. Wholesaler B imported seahorses from at least Indonesia. The two other seahorse wholesalers at market 1 also each believed himself to be the most important marine fish distributor (including seahorses) in Mexico. Seahorse wholesalers were also located in other cities (Table 5). In Guadalajara, there were four wholesalers (K-N), two of whom were primarily retailers, who occasionally distributed to other hobby shops in the area. Three wholesalers for marine fishes were reported from Monterrey, although nothing is known about their trade. In total, fifty-four retail aquarium shops were located in Mexico that sold seahorses. There are several large cities in Mexico that were not surveyed in which live seahorse trade may occur, thus this number should be interpreted as a minimum. Of the 100 aquarium retailers listed in Mexico City‘s 1999 Yellow Pages, 42 sold marine fishes, of which thirty-six sold seahorses. Twenty-six retailers sold imported Seahorse trade in Mexico, Baum  and  Vincent  69 seahorses, three sold domestic, three sold both imported and domestic and four were unknown. Only nine of these retailers had seahorses in stock during the 2000 survey. In Guadalajara, thirteen out of thirty aquariums listed in the 2000 Guadalajara Yellow Pages sold marine fishes. Each of these sold seahorses, but only three said they normally had them in stock. During the 2000 survey, only trader L had seahorses in stock. Ten hobby shops sold imported seahorses (from Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia or Asia), one sold domestic seahorses, and three were unknown. On the Pacific coast, three hobby shops in Acapulco and two in Puerto Vallarta were found that sold seahorses. Exports The export of wild-caught seahorses is illegal, since their capture is prohibited. However, one wholesaler in Mexico City admitted that he exported wild-caught seahorses to the U.S. He said his business was small and estimated that he only sold 1,000 seahorses annually (including domestic sales). He commented that supply fell short of demand, and projected that if he could obtain 400 seahorses/month he could easily export them all. A second wholesaler believed seahorses were being exported from La Paz and Ensenada (Baja California) to the U.S and another trader had exported H. ingens to an aquarium in the U.S. Other traders denied that seahorses were exported from Mexico. Exports of seahorses from Puerto Vallarta to Los Angeles (USA) occurred from the late-1980s to early- 1990s. Volumes traded in this business are unknown.  The exporter explained that when the government prohibited the ornamental fish trade in the mid-1990s legitimate businesses such as his had been shutdown. Technically, exports of cultured seahorses were permitted. However, in 2000 there was no method to distinguish cultured from wild-caught seahorses. Wholesaler A reportedly had a permit for such exports, and said companies in Belgium, the UK, and the U.S. were interested in purchasing cultured seahorses from him, although they would cost more than wild-caught seahorses.  He predicted that in order to maintain his business that he would have to start exporting. Table 5. Trade routes for live seahorses in Mexico. Wholesalers are coded by letter from A-M. Source: Author‘s research.  Location Trader Source of Supply Year began trading Destination Market 1, Mexico City A  Indopacific; Brazil; Cultured in Mexico 1992 Marine fishes to: 100 wholesalers, 1000 hobby shops in Mexico  B  Hawaii and Asia  1992- 1994? Marine fishes to wholesalers in 25 states; hobby shops in Mexico City  C  Acapulco ~1983 public; some hobby shops  D  Hawaii, Jakarta, (Indonesia), Philippines 1993 wholesalers in each state; public Market 2, Mexico City E  Unknown ? public, hobby shops (?)  F  wild-caught in Mexico ? hobby shops  G  Fiji; Acapulco 1990 hobby shops-Mexico City, other states   H  Philippines (through L.A.); Cultured (through A?) 1992 hobby shops, public Hobby Shop, Mexico City I wild-caught in Mexico 1999 15 hobby shops in at least Salina Cruz, Acapulco, Ciudad Victoria, Cancun Market 1, Mexico City J  Imported & Cultured (through Wholesaler A); Acapulco 1994 25-30 hobby shops Hobby Shop, Guadalajara K  Imported & Cultured (through Wholesaler A) ~1992 4-6 hobby shops in Guadalajara  L  through  Wholesaler B ~1986 7 local hobby shops, 2 in Tapitalan  M  Unknown, through L.A. ? hobby shops in Guadalajara  N through Wholesaler A ? hobby shops in Guadalajara  Trade in seahorses and other syngnathids in countries outside Asia (1998-2001), Vincent et al. (eds.)  70 Imports Seven wholesalers in Mexico City‘s aquarium markets and one wholesaler in Guadalajara imported seahorses for distribution. Seahorses were imported from Fiji, Hawaii, and the Indo Pacific (Philippines, Indonesia) through Los Angeles, U.S., and by one of the wholesalers directly from Brazil. Some of these seahorses may have been first exported through Singapore. Imported live seahorses were common primarily because the trade in wild-caught seahorses was prohibited. Wholesalers also reported that by importing it was possible to obtain more types and colours of seahorses, and that, depending on the source country, imported seahorses were cheaper than domestic ones. The cost of shipment from Los Angeles to Mexico City was also cheaper than from Mazatlán to Mexico City.  Most wholesalers declared these seahorses as being of U.S. origin so that they could purchase them duty free (due to NAFTA). Using wholesalers‘ individual estimates yields a total import estimate of 4,400 to 7,100 seahorses per annum in the late-1990s and 2000 (Table 6). However, no official records of the live trade were obtained in Mexico. International Customs data indicate only that in 1996, 36 wild and 6 captive-bred live seahorses were exported from unknown source countries through the U.S. to Mexico at declared values of US$111 and US$10 respectively (United States Customs data). The seahorses accounted for over half of recorded U.S. exports that year. Mexico neither appeared in later U.S. export records (1997-2000), nor in Europe‘s records for 1997-1999. These records should be considered as incomplete, however, as wholesalers in Mexico City reportedly imported live seahorses throughout the late-1990s, and the companies in Los Angeles through which wholesalers reported imports were not listed in U.S. records. Wholesalers who commented said that they could not obtain seahorses year-round. Six traders interviewed in January who did not have seahorses said they had not had any for two to six months. Volumes In total, the author estimates that between 8,200 – 14,600 live seahorses were traded domestically in 2000. Seahorses in the live trade were either wild-caught in Mexico (2,100–5,000), captive-bred in Mexico (1,700–2,500) or imported (4,400-7,100). Some additional trade may occur outside of the areas surveyed. Values In general live seahorse traders were reluctant to disclose their buying prices for seahorses. Prices approximately doubled at each subsequent trade level.  Divers sold wild-caught seahorses to Level 2 traders for Ps20-50 each (US$2.11-5.28). One such trader in Acapulco then sold seahorses to wholesalers in Mexico City for Ps80-90 (US$8.45-9.51), one of whom sold the seahorses for Ps80-140 (US$8.45-14.79). Seahorse prices in hobby shops ranged from Ps120-400 for regular or small specimens (mean Ps223 (US$23.56), and Ps220-600 for large and/or red seahorses (mean Ps390 (US$41.20; Table 7).  Cultured seahorses (H. ingens) were sold by one aquarist to Wholesaler A in Mexico City according to size: 5-6 cm seahorses for Ps18 (US$1.90), 6-8 cm seahorses for Ps22 (US$2.32), 8 cm-11 cm seahorses for Ps25 (US$2.64). The aquarist mistakenly believed that cultivated seahorses were more expensive than wild- caught seahorses because of the expense of the operation. Table 6. Volume estimates of primary wholesalers for imported seahorses. Source: Author‘s research.  Trader Source Country Annual volume estimate A Indopacific ~ 1300  Brazil 2000-2500/yr between 1995-1997; 1000 in 1998 B Hawaii; Asia 40-60/week x 39 weeks= 1560-2340 D Hawaii, Jakarta, Philippines 312-364 E ? 16-36 G Fiji 2  H Philippines  80/month1 x estimated 1-6 months =80-480 M Unknown ? Retailer direct from Brazil 96 Grand Total:  4366-7118 1 depending on the breeding season Seahorse trade in Mexico, Baum  and  Vincent  71 Table 7. Value of live seahorses traded in Mexico, by source and trade level. Source: Author‘s research. Seahorse Source Amount Level 2 buyer paid diver Amount paid by wholesaler Amount paid by hobby shop Selling price in domestic trade Domestic –  Wild-caught Ps25-50 (US$2.64-5.28) Ps80-90 (US$8.45- 9.51) Ps80-140 (US$8.45-14.79) Ps223 (US$23.56); Ps390 (US$41.20) for large and/or red Domestic – Captive-bred - Ps18-25 (US$1.90- 2.64) Ps60-250 (US$6.34-26.41) ? Imported - US$0.75-7 Ps120-150 (US$12.68-15.85) Ps255  (US$26.94)   A second aquarist reportedly sold seahorses to Wholesaler A for Ps5/cm seahorse at a minimum size of 6 cm. Wholesaler A reported that the range of prices for cultured seahorses was US$1-5, and that he sold them for double the buying price. A wholesaler who purchased cultured seahorses from Wholesaler A paid between Ps35-100/seahorse (US$3.70-10.56). In turn, he sold them for Ps60-250 each according to size (US$6.34-26.41; Table 7). Imported seahorses, in particular those from the IndoPacific/Philippines, were said to be cheaper than domestic seahorses. Black seahorses (~20 cm) imported through Los Angeles from the IndoPacific cost Wholesaler A US$3.45 each, while those from Sri Lanka cost only US$0.75-1.00 each.  Wholesaler A imported H. reidi from Brazil according to size and colour: small for US$1.60, medium marbled for US$3- 3.50, medium bright for US$7.  Again, he sold seahorses for double the buying price. Other wholesalers in Mexico City sold imported seahorses to hobby shops for Ps120-150 (US$12.68-15.85). In turn, hobby shops (n=15) sold live seahorses to the public for between Ps 100-600 (mean = Ps255 (US$26.94; Table 7). One trader commented that the cost of maintaining marine aquariums limited the number of people in Mexico who had them. Angelfish (Pomacanthus annularis) were priced similarly to seahorses at Ps250 (US$26.41), while surgeonfish (Acanturidae) were much more expensive, at Ps1,900 (US$200.73). Sources Wild caught Because the live trade in wild caught seahorses in Mexico was illegal, many of the respondents involved in it would not provide volume or value estimates, or name their contacts. To estimate the total trade, wholesalers‘ estimated total sales were cross-validated with those of suppliers and with estimated total catches of divers.   Wild seahorses (H. ingens) illegally sold for the live trade market in Mexico City were primarily from Acapulco. Based on the following estimates, it appears that a few thousand seahorses have been supplied from Acapulco to Mexico City per annum since at least 1992. A former Level 2 buyer who sold seahorses from 1992-97, believed that in 1992 he had been one of only two suppliers in Acapulco, and the main supplier of domestic seahorses to Mexico City. This buyer had purchased all available seahorses from 12 divers and 7 beach seine fishers. He reported that in addition to supplying seahorses to 13 wholesalers at the aquarium markets in Mexico City, he had also shipped seahorses to hobby shops in Monterrey, Leon, Guadalajara, Saltillo and Ensenada. This buyer estimated that his peak sales were in 1992 when he sold 1,600-2,000 seahorses and that sales declined to 780-1,100 seahorses per annum in 1996, as the trade developed and wholesalers from Mexico City began to buy directly from divers in Acapulco. Five wholesalers (C, F, G, I, J) traded wild-caught seahorses in 2000, three of whom obtained seahorses directly from divers. Wholesaler G, who obtained seahorses directly from divers in Acapulco said he often purchased 20-30 seahorses per week, but that annual sales were highly variable, totalling between 80 and 1,000. Four other wholesalers (C, F, I and J) estimated annual sales of 192 - 256, 600 - 1,000, 36, and 200 - 240 seahorses, respectively, for a total of 1,000 and 2,500 seahorses per annum. Trad