FOLLOWING the footsteps of cod, haddock, halibut, salmon and hosts of other
seafish are the seahorses which are the
latest victims of overfishing, According
to Amanda Vincent, an Oxford biologist, some 20 million scahorses were
consumed last year. Its demand in
southeast Asia has overtaken the supply
sharply. It is used as a traditional medicine for curing asthma, goitre, impotence and psoriasis.
Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines are the biggest exporters of scahorses in the world. However, their catches during the last 2 years have fallen by 60 per cent. To keep up with the grow-ing demands, the young ones of the species are being caught, pushing the seahorses more to the brink of non-existence.
According to Vincent, inshore fishing coupled with the offshore netting is the main reason for the seahorses' wipe out. The poor fishermen who cannot afford expensive offshore fishing, fish in the vicinity of land as fishes, seahorses and other aquatic creatures swim towards the shore to spawn. To remedy the situation, Vincent has set up a marine reserve in a village in Philippines, where the villagers patrol regularly to prevent the poachers. Fishing is prohibited in the breeding season. Protection and breeding of this kind will soon increase the number of seahorses, she hopes.
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