Sustainable Trade
CITES & trade analyses

CITES & trade analyses

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulates trade in endangered and threatened fauna and flora between governments. Many species not endangered, but the agreement ensures these resources will be sustainable for the future. It accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.

Project Seahorse tracks conservation gains from the multilateral Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to advance fisheries management and ensure that seahorse trade is being monitored and regulated.

We exposed the global trade in seahorses with publication of a landmark report in 1996 that estimated the trade of seahorses to amount to about 24 million animals per year in 32 countries. We have undertaken further trade work showing that 20 species are being traded in and among nearly 80 countries.

We have also provided technical knowledge needed to establish the first controls on the international trade in marine fish of commercial importance (under CITES1); catalysed the first listing of marine fish in the Australian Wildlife Protection Act, requiring that all seahorses come from a sustainably managed source; · Fostered EU decision to require countries to document all trade in seahorses; motivated Hong Kong to require documentation for all trade in syngnathids; and assisted in obtaining full protection for syngnathids in four Australian states.

Other Projects

  • Supporting a landmark CITES Appendix II listing for marine fishes of commercial importance
  • Empowering developing countries to meet and exceed international obligations for seahorse conservation
  • Developing implemention tools for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  • HippoCampusInfo website trade resource
  • Monitoring seahorse trade in major exporting countries (Vietnam, Philippines, Australia, East Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, South America, Mexico, Hong Kong)
  • Trade of Echinoderms in Mexico

Program publications

Perry, A. L., K. E. Lunn, and A. C. J. Vincent (2010) Fisheries, large-scale trade, and conservation of seahorses in Malaysia and Thailand. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 20:464-475.

Woodall, L.C., H.J. Koldewey, S.V. Santos and P.W. Shaw (2009) First occurrence of the lined seahorse Hippocampus erectus in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Fish Biology 75, 1505–1512 

Yasué, M. and P. Dearden (2009) The importance of supratidal habitats for wintering shorebirds and the potential impacts of intensive shrimp aquaculture. Envir Manag. 43: 1108-1121 

Curtis, J. and Vincent, A.C.J (2008) Use of population viability analysis to evaluate CITES trade-management options for threatened marine fishes. Conservation Biology 22(5):1225–1232 

Lunn, K.E., M. J. Villanueva Noriega, and A.C.J. Vincent (2008). Souvenirs from the sea: an investigation into the curio trade of echinoderms in Mexico. TRAFFIC Bulletin 22(1):19-32

Giles, B.G., S.K. Truong, H.H. Do and A.C.J. Vincent (2006) The catch and trade of seahorses in Vietnam. Biodiversity and Conservation 15(6):2497-2513 

Grey, M., A.-M. Blais, B. Hunt and A.C.J. Vincent (2006) The USA's international trade in fish leather, from a conservation perspective. Environmental Conservation 33(2):100-108 

Martin-Smith, K.M. and A.C.J. Vincent (2006) Exploitation and trade in Australian seahorses, pipehorses, sea dragons and pipefishes (Family Syngnathidae). Oryx 40:141-151 

Baum, J.K. and A.C.J. Vincent (2005) Magnitude and inferred impacts of the seahorse trade in Latin America. Environmental Conservation 32:305-319 

Foster, S.J. and A.C.J. Vincent (2005) Enhancing sustainability of the international trade in seahorses with a single minimum size limit. Conservation Biology 19:1044-1050 

Grey, M., A.-M. Blais, and A.C.J. Vincent (2005) Magnitude and trends of marine fish curio imports to the USA. Oryx 39(4):413-420 

McPherson, J.M. and A.C.J. Vincent (2004) Assessing East African trade in seahorse species as a basis for conservation under international controls. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 14(5):521-538 

Pajaro, M.G., J.J. Meeuwig, B.G. Giles, and A.C.J. Vincent (2004) Biology, fishery and trade of sea moths (Pisces: Pegasidae) in the central Philippines. Oryx 38(4):432-438 

Martin-Smith, K., T.F. Lam and S.K.H. Lee (2003) Trade in Pipehorses Solegnathus spp. for Traditional Medicine in Hong Kong. TRAFFIC Bulletin 19(3):139-148 

Vincent, A.C.J. (1997) Trade in pegasid fishes (sea moths), primarily for traditional Chinese medicine. Oryx 31(3):199-208 

Vincent, A.C.J. (1995) Trade in seahorses for Traditional Chinese Medicines, aquarium fishes and curios. TRAFFIC Bulletin 15:125-128