Tough news this month coming out of the Mediterranean Sea. After losing 30% of their population over the past decade, two seahorse and pipefish species (the Hippocampus hippocampus and Hippocampus guttulatus) have entered the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. The IUCN is pushing for urgent studies on both local Seahorse and Pipefish populations in order to stave off possible extinction.
The species are extremely vulnerable to habitat loss, bycatch from commercial fishing, and related injuries from trawling and dredging. Additionally, the pet trade and harvesting for use in traditional medicines are also having a significant impact on their numbers in the wild.
Seahorses and Pipefish are unique fish species whereby the males of the species give birth to live young. They play a vitally important role in the health of our oceans, as they feed, almost constantly, on plankton as well as small crustaceans and tiny fish species.
The original document can be read here: The IUCN Red List of seahorses and pipefishes in the Mediterranean Sea