Opposition party CDS-PP has presented a draft resolution in parliament calling on the government to implement “urgent measures” to save Ria Formosa’s seahorse population from its imminent extinction.
The request follows a shock report by Expresso newspaper which raised fears that the tiny sea creatures may be closer than ever from becoming extinct in the Algarve (click here).
It was already a known fact that illegal fishing had decimated a large part of the estuary’s seahorse population, mostly due to their popularity in the Chinese market as a “medical wonder”, but the number of specimens that divers have been finding is even more distressing than expected.
In their bid, CDS-PP MPs urged the government to improve the surveillance in and around Ria Formosa to prevent the illegal capture of the fish. They also recommend carrying out environmental campaigns at schools and among fishermen to stress the importance of seahorses and their habitat.
It is truly a race against time as around 600,000 seahorses are believed to have disappeared from the estuary since 2012 and only around 155,000 are believed to remain.
The numbers are even more devastating compared to 2001, when around 1.3 million seahorses were estimated to exist in Ria Formosa.