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CDS-PP demands urgent action to save Ria Formosa seahorse population

riaformosaMPs from the CDS-People’s Party have demanded that urgent measures are implemented to protect the dwindling seahorse population in the Ria Formosa.

In a press release issued today, no doubt in advance of a bandwagon of outraged political parties taking advantage of the emotive situation facing the seahorse population, the CDS-PP MPs want legislative and regulatory measures “directly aimed at the urgent and necessary protection of the species of sea horses existing in Portugal - Hippocampus hippocampus and Hippocampus guttulatus.”

In its draft resolution, the CDS-PP Parliamentary Group recommends intensifying the supervision necessary to prevent the widespread illegal capture of the creatures and wants environmental education in schools and the fishing community, to raise awareness of the importance of the preservation of these species and their habitat in Portugal.

The surge in demand for ‘Chinese medicine’ is endangering several marine species, including the sea horse, a species vulnerable to illegal capture.

The CDS-PP claims that it has questioned various government departments on more than one occasion, including the Ministries of the Sea, the Environment, National Defence and Internal Administration, and has pointed out the warnings from biologists from the University of Algarve Sea Science Center (CCMAR), as to the danger of extinction for the seahorses population in the Ria Formosa.

A reply from the office of the Minister for the Environment, in May 2018, it was recognised that “although the Institute for Nature and Forestry, (ICNF) has no further data on the state of the seahorse populations in the Ria Formosa than those presented by the Sea Science Center, it considers that the size of the illegal capture and trade of these two species will cause a marked reduction in their population," and that "the situation is already worrying."

The Government added that "it is considering moving forward with legislative and / or regulatory measures directly aimed at protecting the species - measures that are currently non-existent."

The government also said that, “actions directed at seahorses will be considered,” under its CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)* obligations "as seahorses are not protected." (Seahorses have been on the CITES endangered list since may 2004.)

The CDS-PP said this does not prevent the ICNF from stating the need to protect both seahorse species and to prevent their illegal capture, so urgent action is needed.


See: 'Ria Formosa seahorse population below critical level'  (06 November 2018)

* CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention) is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.

It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The convention was opened for signature in 1973 and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975.

Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants.

In order to ensure that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was not violated, the Secretariat of GATT was consulted during the drafting process


0 #3 Ed 2018-11-08 09:35
Quoting Poor Portugesa:
As long as such huge fortunes are being grabbed by the illegal thieves, will there not be a way of patrolling and stopping them?

There is a way but the authorities are really not interested.
0 #2 Peter Booker 2018-11-08 09:26
Your last report, Ed, maintained that the present number of seahorses is below the level at which they can reproduce. Any intervention at this stage must therefore be more than preventing this type of fishing - if that is the right word. Seahorses need to be propagated in a different environment, and returned to a cleaned and better protected Ria Formosa.
0 #1 Poor Portugesa 2018-11-08 09:11
As long as such huge fortunes are being grabbed by the illegal thieves, will there not be a way of patrolling and stopping them?