Seahorses, for sale, Guangzhou, China. Sea horses are used in Traditional Chines Medicine. Seahorses are threatened by habitat loss, pollution and illegal poaching. In recent years, seahorse populations have plummeted due to their popularity in Traditional Chinese Medicine, (TCM). Despite there being no evidence to suggest that seahorse has any medical benefits, demand for the fish has grown immensely with people hailing it as a miracle cure for ailments such as impotence, bladder control, asthma, and abdominal pain. Seahorse is also thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac and is often taken to increase sexual potency.
With around one-quarter of the world’s population practising Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is not surprising that the seahorse populations are being threatened. The staggering demand for this ‘miracle medicine’ has spawned a spike in illegal trade and harvest of the unique seahorse, with over 24 million seahorses being sold around the world each year. Photo: Paul Hilton / EarthTree images