Conservative MP takes his attention away from Brexit to talk about seahorse conservation

Conservative MP takes his attention away from Brexit to talk about seahorse conservation

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Conservative MP Hugo Swire has left Brexit to one side in order to bring the “Government's attention” to the illegal trade of seahorses.

The British coastline is currently home to two species of seahorse - the Spiny Seahorse and the Short Snouted Seahorse. 

Mr Swire said that traditional medicine and aquarium trade was threatening the future of the species. 

Writing on Politics Home on Wednesday, the MP for East Devon said: “Taking some time to reflect on something other than regulatory borders, backstops, and barriers to trade may provide Parliament with some welcome relief this week.

“I would not diminish this moment of acute constitutional importance for our nation.

“But it is a Parliamentary quirk that time each sitting day is given to backbenchers to bring issues to the government’s attention.”

He added: "Tragically, the traditional medicine, curio and aquarium trades are threatening the future of seahorses. We know that 25 to 65 million seahorses per year are taken from seas and oceans across the world."

 

'Punching above their weight' 

A jar of dried seahorses, which have been seized by UK Border Force staff. 

The MP argued that although seahorses are protected under the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species, the internet allows for seahorses to be traded illegally

Sir Swire concluded that he had met with a seahorse conservative organisation tackling the issue but that they were “punching well above their weight in getting the plight of the seahorse noticed”.

He said: “I was delighted to recently meet with the excellent environmental charity The Seahorse Trust, based in the town of Topsham in my constituency.

“They are a small organisation punching well above their weight in getting the plight of the seahorse noticed by regulators, online marketplaces and the general public.

“Now is the time to show leadership on the illegal trade in seahorses by targeting how they are traded. We cannot keep chipping away at our ecological wall and expect to get away with it.”

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