Seahorse’s Vulnerability Voiced

AKP Phnom Penh, July 13, 2020 —

Conservationists have urged for more engagement of fishing communities to protect seahorse, as over half of its population has declined so far.

Mr. Ouk Vibol, the Director of Fisheries Conservation Department of Fisheries Administration, was among the advocates and shared his concern in an interview with AKP recently.

“Among all sea fishes, seahorse’s decreasing is emerging as a big concern of the Fisheries Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as conservation organisations such as CITES,” he said.

“As seahorse is among the most naturally vulnerable sea animals to in appropriate fishing, rising market demand for it, causing illegal fishing, has been another factor driving the sharp decline of its population.”

He continued, “It is believed that seahorse can be an ingredient for a special medicine for healthiness. So, more and more fishermen are interested in catching it. A kilogramme of dried seahorse, which is around 250 of them, can be sold for about US$250 or US$300.”

According to Mr. Ouk Vibol, there are seven or eight species of seahorse in Cambodian seas and they are taking shelter everywhere stretching from the sea of Kep to Koh Kong province.

Illegal fishing has continued to destroy seahorse’s shelters making life even more vulnerable for the animal that can live only between one to five years.

Although one seahorse can reproduce from 50 to 100 hatchlings, very few can survive and reach adulthood because they can be easily eaten by other sea animals.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as the Fisheries Administration have banned fishing harmful for animals like seahorse and worked hard in cooperation with other conservationists and development partners to build awareness of fishing communities on the endangered species.

Mr. Ouk Vibol continued to call on the fishing communities as well as the public to engage in preserving the existence of seahorse in Cambodian seas.

Globally there are about 46 species of seahorse and some have been included in the red list as the critically endangered animals by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Royal Government of Cambodia on Aug. 12, 2009 issued a sub-decree No. 123 to ban the fishing, traffic and sale of seahorse given its endangered condition.

Article in Khmer by Phen Rattanak

Article in English by Lim Nary