Taking note of the drastic reduction in the population of endangered seahorses, the National Board of Wildlife has rejected Maharashtra government's proposal for collecting the imperiled species for research.
During a recent meeting of the board chaired by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, the state government had sought permission for collecting about 1 kg of seahorses from its shore for research.
A sea horse normally weighs around seven ounces to one pound. However, the proposal was opposed by the board members, particularly conservationists who felt that such a move will result in mindless extraction of the species enlisted in Schedule –I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
“If we give permission for research then we should also be open to the idea that it could be meant for commercial purpose too. Hence, we have rejected it,” board member and conservationist M.K. Ranjitsinh said.
He said that commercial exploitation of such a rare and endangered species should not be allowed. Already the water creature is being exploited on a large scale for a variety of reasons particularly to feed the traditional medicine market, especially in China.
In India, presently, its commercial exploitation is being carried out along the Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts with government permission.
According to conservationists, these species get easily affected by loss of habitat, pollution or even slightest changes in their environment, making them the first indicators of the health of the near-shore marine habitat.