Lined seahorses are threatened by targeted catch and incidental capture by fisheries, as well as by habitat degradation (1). There is a huge demand for this species, which is sold live to the aquarium trade, and dried as curios and for traditional Chinese medicine (4). As such, the lined seahorse is among the most commonly caught seahorses (1) (4). The lined seahorse is a particularly popular aquarium fish in North America, with thousands collected each year in Florida alone, destined for the aquarium trade. This species is Brazil's 6th most important marine ornamental export,and is also sold dried as curios in Mexico along the Caribbean coast(1). Dried specimens are also traded as traditional Chinese medicine (1), being considered by some as a powerful aphrodisiac, and are used to treat an array of ailments from impotence and infertility to asthma, throat infections and lethargy (4).
Shrimp and other trawl fisheries are responsible for much of the indirect harvesting of this seahorse through incidental capture as bycatch. Additionally, the lined seahorse has been affected by habitat degradation caused by coastal development, pollution and increased sedimentation. In northeast Brazil, for example, the development of shrimp farms has destroyed much of the coastal mangrove habitats where seahorses live (1).