Every year a staggering 150 MILLION (plus) seahorses are used in the Traditional Medicine Trade, this is just not sustainable, they could be extinct in the wild within the next 20 to 30 years, unless we urgently address the problems facing them.

With a number of our friends around the world we are appealing to the people of China to take a lead and work in partnership with us to find alternatives to the exploitation of wild seahorses and other marine and terrestrial creatures.

You can help make a difference by signing up to our invite to the people of China, asking them to help us make a difference to preserve not only seahorses but the natural world as a whole.

The Traditional Medicine Trade

Every year a staggering 150 million plus seahorses are used in the Traditional Medicine Trade, this is just not sustainable, they could be extinct in the wild within the next 20 to 30 years, unless we address the problems facing them, we can sort this problem out but time is fast running out.


Seahorses and other creatures (land and sea) are used for supposed cures for many ailments; however scientific research shows there is no basis for any of the claims made in the Traditional Medicine Trade that seahorses can cure ailments.

The problem has got worse in the last 15 to 20 years as the users of natural cures such as seahorses have got wealthier, they no longer go to traditional markets and buy seahorses to take home and make their own medicines. These days commercially prepared seahorse pills are sold to save time; however these pills contain undersized seahorses that have not had a chance to grow to maturity and breed and so the species is not having a chance to be sustainable.


A pregnant male showing the red brood pouch, he would have had hundreds of fry (babies) in it when he was killed.

Added to this 90% of wild caught male seahorses that were mature, were pregnant and so it is not just one animal that dies but hundreds of babies (fry) as well. Instead of holding the male seahorses in a sea pen and giving them a chance to give birth these pregnant animals are taken, killed and sold. It is thought that pregnant male seahorses help with impotence.

There are 65 to 85 countries participating in the Traditional Medicine Trade and new countries are being added every year; especially when a countries resources have been depleted, new countries are sought to take their place.

The death of a seahorse to be used in the TCT is not pleasant; it is caught from the sea and hung in the sun until it dies, where it desiccates as it wriggles in its death. Once it is dead and dried it is sold by the indigenous fisher to a middleman. The fisher makes just a few cents whereas the middle man puts a big mark up on the cost of the seahorse and makes a large profit. The seahorses are then sold to markets or factories for preparation into medicines.

Not just seahorses

Seahorses are not the only species used in the Traditional Medicine Trade, the list is endless BUT the result is the same, depletion of the natural world.

The Aquarium Trade

Every year 1 million wild caught seahorses were being caught for the home aquarium trade with very few surviving more than a few weeks; slowly through education, this number has dropped considerably and now captive breeding is rapidly reducing this number by Conservation through Cultivation.

The Curio trade

The curio trade is still a major problem worldwide where in excess of 1 million seahorses are collected as mementos of seaside visits.

It is not just seahorses that are sold as so called environmentally friendly products; Seashells, Starfish, Sponges and even highly protected corals are still sold in tacky seaside shops, often labelled as ‘from a sustainable source’. Nothing could be further from the truth; there is nothing sustainable about this exploitation of the seas, you can make change by not buying them. If there was no market there would be no trade.

A wide variety of marine species for sale including Seahorses and pipfish


SOS Founder Kealan Doyle in a Traditional Medicine shop, standing next to bags of dead seahorses and other species


The Invite

For too long people of the West have been quick to condemn and tell the people in the rest of the world what they should and should not do, this is wrong. In this global world community we should all be working together as one, to sustain this planet for future generations. Without working in partnership with nature, we will, in a few generations wipe out most of the species of this planet. The only way to stop this is by working together and so we are inviting the people of China and other users of Traditional Medicine to work with us to stop this unsustainable practise and do something about it.

You can make a difference; please sign up to our invite to the people of China to help us stop this trade that is killing our planet.

We will be sending the letter below to the people of China inviting them to help us sort out this difficult problem. It is to be presented to the Ambassador of the Chinese Embassy in London in late 2013 to be passed onto the leader of the people of China; we hope by working together, we as the global nation can preserve not just seahorses but the rest of the natural world as well.


Only by WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NATURE can we make a difference for the future.

This is your chance to make a difference to the natural world


Please sign our invite below to the people of China to help us to make a difference, preserve the seahorses, which in turn will preserve and conserve so many others species that are living on the edge of extinction. If we do not work together they will be lost forever making this planet a lesser place.


The Partners

The Seahorse Alliance is made up of a large number of organisations that have come together to address the problems facing seahorses and other marine species throughout the world; by working as one we can make difference. The Alliance is open to organisations that share our vision of preserving the natural world through seahorses and other sensitive and threatened species.

Listed below are the initial partners, we also have a number of other partners and individuals who are part of the Alliance.

SAVE OUR SEAHORSES campaign website

Have a look at the Save Our Seahorses campaign website and sign up to the invite to the Chinese people