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
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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