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Trade in pipehorses Solegnathus spp. for traditional medicine in Hong Kong


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Martin-Smith, KM, Lam, TF and Lee, SK 2003 , 'Trade in pipehorses Solegnathus spp. for traditional medicine in Hong Kong' , TRAFFIC Bulletin, vol. 19, no. 3 , pp. 139-148 .

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Pipehorses - large members of the seahorse family
Syngnathidae - are highly valuable ingredients in
traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The volume,
value, sources and trade routes of pipehorses in
international trade remain poorly understood, however.
This study, carried out in Hong Kong SAR (Special
Administrative Region) in January 2002, provides first
estimates of these variables from interviews with wholesalers,
retail surveys and Customs data. It appears that
at least 1000-2000 kg of pipehorses are traded each
year within Hong Kong, with a retail value of
HKD2700-6700 per kg. Historically, Australia has been
the most important source nation. However, indirect
estimates from Customs data suggest that Malaysia, the
Philippines and particularly Thailand may also be
important exporters of pipehorses to Hong Kong. The
effect of trade on the survival of pipehorse populations
cannot be evaluated at present. To ensure long-term
sustainability of pipehorse trade and to avoid the need
to consider listing under CITES, increased engagement
with TCM stakeholders is required. This will allow
more precise evaluation of the trade, determination of
alternatives to pipehorses in TCM and acceptability of
management measures or controls. In addition, reporting
by genus or species from other source and import
nations is urgently required to determine the global
effects of trade on pipehorses.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Martin-Smith, KM and Lam, TF and Lee, SK
Keywords: wildlife trade, syngnathids, marine products, traditional medicine
Journal or Publication Title: TRAFFIC Bulletin
ISSN: 0267-4297
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