DIAZ DE ASTARLOA Juan Martin
congresos y reuniones científicas
Trade of seahorses in Argentina
ESTALLES, M. L.; PUJOL, M. G.; DÍAZ DE ASTARLOA, J. M.; LUZZATTO, D. C.
Encuentro; 3rd SYNG BIO. Fantastical Fishes: Seahorses, Pipefishes and Seadrogons into the Future; 2017
Seahorses (genus Hippocampus) are commercialized for purposes generally excluding food. They are traded dried, for traditional medicines, tonic foods and as souvenirs; and live, as ornamental fishes. This study describes and analyzes the trade of seahorses in Argentina with a particular emphasis on the native species Hippocampus patagonicus. We conducted an assessment of seahorses for marine curios and/or souvenir shops and handcraft fairs at eleven beach locations; for ornamental fishes at eight marine aquaria and for traditional medicines in the biggest Chinatown. The trade involved five exotic species (Hippocampus kuda, Hippocampus ingens, Hippocampus reidi, Hippocampus spinossisimus, and Hippocampus barbouri) as well as the endemic H. patagonicus. The sale of marine curios recoded the largest volumes of seahorses. This trade was widespread and presented two different patterns along Argentine coastal towns and cities. Hippocampus patagonicus was the only species found in Río Negro Province. However, exotic species led the market in Buenos Aires Province. We could not verify neither the trade of seahorses for human consumption, medical and religious uses, nor the presence of products made of seahorses in the Chinatown. Exotic species were more frequent than H. patagonicus in the trade of ornamental fishes. This trade was limited and sporadic. The rate of the trade of H. patagonicus in Argentina seemed to be small compared to other regions where this species is commercialized. However, it could be an issue of concern for local populations.