Meet Our Partner: Project Seahorse

by 4ocean Team October 30, 2019

Meet Our Partner: Project Seahorse

Every year, millions upon millions of seahorses are harvested from places like Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and Indonesia only to be dried and shipped to Hong Kong for use in traditional Chinese medicine. Thousands of square miles of seahorse habitat are destroyed every year by the harmful fishing practice of bottom trawling. And seahorses are being pushed from their nearshore habits by the careless waste disposal practices of humans in many places around the globe.

 

Dried Pipefish and Seahorse in Hong Kong Market - Project Seahorse - 4ocean Seahorse BraceletPhoto by Amanda Vincent/Project Seahorse: Dried pipefish and seahorses in a Hong Kong market

 

Luckily, there are organizations like our non-profit partner, Project Seahorse, who are out there making sure that seahorses continue to have a place in our oceans for generations to come. As the leading organization in the world advocating for the protection of seahorses, their work is critical to understanding the current and future situation for these amazing creatures. 

Founded in 1996 by Dr. Amanda Vincent and Dr. Heather Koldewey, Project Seahorse aims to secure a world where marine ecosystems are healthy and well-managed. Their focus on saving seahorses, securing the world's shallow seas, and training conservationists to continue this important work is what they're all about.

 

Dr. Vincent and Dr. Koldewey at a Global Conference for Seahorse ConservationPhoto Project Seahorse: Project Seahorse at CITES conference 2013

 

Project Seahorse begins with cutting-edge research in places like Portugal, China, USA, Thailand, and the Philippines which has all contributed to a body of work that is then turned into highly effective conservation action. They don't just do science for the sake of science; the science has to end in meaningful results for seahorses. 

Their focus on citizen science, marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, trade & policy, and conversation education are all helping to move the needle forward for seahorses around the world. Their unique way of looking at how marine organisms and humans interact gives them specific insight into the interdependencies between the two. Concentric pressures of different levels of interactions create an "onion world" model in which each layer affects the others. This is a unique way of looking at the problems facing seahorses and it yields a holistic view of the complex nature of marine conservation. 

 

Project Seahorse "Onion World Model" of Pressures on Seahorses - 4ocean Seahorse Bracelet - Ocean Bracelet
Graphic from ProjectSeahorse.com: This shows the "onion world" model of how each layer affects the others

 

For being a relatively small organization, Project Seahorse has achieved some incredible things when it comes to seahorse conservation. These are just a few of their most notable accomplishments:

  • First to study seahorses underwater in the wild
  • Discovered that many species of seahorse have long-term monogamous relationships
  • Uncovered the global seahorse fisheries and trade
  • Worked through CITES to generate the first global ban of seahorses exports
  • Established 35 locally managed marine protected areas in the Philippines
  • Produced over 200 primary papers, reports, and policy briefings to advance seahorse conservation

     

    Here are a few pictures of Project Seahorse in action! 

     

    Project Seahorse doing underwater science in the PhilippinesPhoto, K. Gillespie/Project Seahorse: Executing underwater science on seahorses in the Philippines

     

    Project Seahorse working with local communities to help protect seahorsesPhoto, A. Vincent/Project Seahorse: Working with local communities to protect seahorses is a big part of what they do

     

    Project Seahorse Keeping an Eye on the Global Seahorse Trade in Hong Kong - 4ocean Seahorse Bracelet - Ocean Bracelet
    Photo, A. Vincent/Project Seahorse: Keeping an eye on the global seahorse trade in Hong Kong

     

    We're incredibly proud to partner with such a great organization doing amazing work around the globe for the protection and conservation of seahorses.

    When you purchase a 4ocean Seahorse Bracelet you not only pull a pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines in places like Bali, Indonesia, where seahorse habitat is threatened, you also make it possible for us to support organizations like Project Seahorse –– so that there will be more of this... 

     

    Pacific Seahorse on Coral - Project Seahorse - 4ocean Seahorse Bracelet - Ocean Bracelet

     

    And less of this...

     

    Dried Seahorses in Bags in Sri Lanka - Project Seahorse - 4ocean Seahorse Bracelet - Ocean BraceletPhoto, S. Gunasekera/Project Seahorse: Keeping an eye on the global seahorse trade in Sri Lanka 

     

    If you want more information on how to become a citizen scientist with Project Seahorse or how to get involved, just click here. You can also donate directly to Project Seahorse here. 

    Have you ever seen a seahorse in the wild? What do you love most about seahorses? Let us know in the comments below. 

    Follow us on YouTubeFacebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on all things 4ocean! Then head on over to our Discover 4ocean Facebook Group to get in on the conversation around ocean plastic pollution and other important ocean conservation topics.

     

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