24 August 2012

The neverending rape of the oceans

From the BBC:
Police in Peru have seized more than 16,000 dried seahorses which were to be exported illegally to Asian countries...

Police chief Victor Fernandez told the BBC the cargo could have fetched up to $250,000 (£160,000) abroad. Seahorse fishing is illegal in Peru, but the high prices paid for seahorse powder abroad make it difficult for the authorities to enforce the ban...

"They are sent to Asian countries and used as aphrodisiacs. In China this product is also used to cure asthma," he told the BBC's Mattia Cabitza in Lima.

The marine fish, which finds northern Peru's warmer waters a perfect breeding ground, is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).  But Mr Fernandez said that last year a total of 20 tonnes of dried seahorses were seized across the world - half a tonne in Peru alone.
Just like rhino horns, harvested for the sake of some pitiful penises somewhere.  Sad.


  1. I was so certain that with the advent of Viagra et al. this would all grind to a halt. Does anyone have an explanation why people don't use something that actual works, rather than these, well, placebos?

  2. They don't believe the drugs work and/or they can't get the drugs and/or they don't like the side effects from the drugs. The wonderful thing about these superstition-based placebos is the lack of side effects.

    What I've always wondered is why the endangered-species products sent to Asia seems to be purer than the cocaine sent to the US. Why not grind up some sand, seaweed, and maybe corn and sell it as powdered rhino horn or seahorse or whatever? Surely that would be cheaper than poaching...

  3. I also wonder why nobody is farming these things.

    1. I suppose it's possible that these come from some kind of farming operation, but they would still be illegal exports under international conventions. I agree it would make more sense from the seahorses' point of view to let countries set up licensed breeding facilities - unless the increased supply would somehow legitimize or stimulate increased consumption.

  4. In a way it's refreshing to know that there are people in other countries who shun science in favor of ancient myths. We are not alone in out stupidity in the good old USA.


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