Viagra increases demand for dried seahorses

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Demand for dried seahorses, which the Traditional Chinese Medicine community believes are an aphrodisiac and a cure for impotence, has increased since the introduction of the anti-impotence drug Viagra.

According to the sygnathid conservation and research group Project Seahorse, 24 million seahorses are caught annually for use by the Traditional Chinese Medicine trade. This is 64% higher than in the mid-1990's prior to the introduction of Viagra.

By contrast, a few hundred thousand are taken from the wild for use in aquaria, and several thousand more are bred in captivity for sale in aquarium shops.

Samuel Lee Kwok-Hung of the Marine Medicinals Conservation Programme, which works with Project Seahorse and the IUCN's Traffic group, told The Independent Online that demand for TCM alternatives to Viagra for curing impotence have increased the numbers of seahorses collected:

"The majority of the demand is from China. With China becoming more and more open for foreign investment and for exporting products out of China the trade in traditional Chinese medicine is on the whole increasing."

As from May 15, seahorses are now covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The legislation carefully monitors the sale of the fishes to ensure that wild stocks aren't damaged by over exploitation.

While the PFK office regularly receives unsolicated junk emails offering to enhance various body parts, and supply a variety of pharmaceutical products, we have yet to receive one offering us seahorses as an anti-impotence cure...