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Ebay bans the sale of seahorses in the US?

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  • Offline TamiW
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Ebay bans the sale of seahorses in the US?

« posted: 3 years ago »
I just tried to list seahorses for sale on ebay. I sell some of the seahorses I have bred there because it reaches a fairly large audience. Just last week I was able to list them, but listing them this week, I got the following error message.

You can not submit your listing due to the following problems
As seahorses are a protected species, they are not allowed for sale on eBay.

For more information please review our Animal and Wildlife Products policy.

Thank you for your understanding.


In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal for me, but it's a headache because I am a small breeder and don't have a shop, nor do I really have any need for a shop. Most sales are word of mouth or through local fish stores. Sometimes I sell via ebay though because it reaches a wide audience.

But what I object to is that this exact thing happened in the UK, which stopped a lot of hobbyists from being able to sell seahorses. That wasn't looked at as a ramification of stopping the sale. I'm all on board with discontinuing the sale of dried seahorses. But I'm not okay with a perfectly legitimate avenue of sale for not only legal but actually beneficial seahorses. (CB seahorses).

I suspect this must have been just implemented as I was doing this, because I got two differently styled error messages, suggesting to me that they were in development and rolling as I tried to relist a second time.

To top things off, if you go to the link provided, it says nothing about seahorses. The guide claims that endangered animals cannot be sold on ebay, but seahorses are not endangered, at least not the ones being sold on ebay.

I suspect the Seahorse Trust is behind this, they've been advocating against the sale of all seahorses to the point of being unreasonable; there was a big dust-up over their misleading information that got seahorses banned from ebay UK several months ago.

I will continue to have other avenues to sell seahorses, because I have a lot of connections and a website that gets a moderate numbers of visitors. But many hobby breeders do not. I know a couple breeders that sold seahorses via ebay because it was an easy marketplace to use. Now that option is gone to them.

Boo ebay.
  • H. erectus, H. comes, H. kuda, H. zosterae, Doryrhamphus excisus, Bryx dunckeri, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus
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  • Offline DanU
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Re: Ebay bans the sale of seahorses in the US?

« Reply #1 posted: 3 years ago »
I started to write a response but it was too political in nature. 

Dan
  • H. erectus/reidi/barbouri/kuda/comes/zosterae/fisheri/ingens
  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Ebay bans the sale of seahorses in the US?

« Reply #2 posted: 3 years ago »
I don't blame you. I'm trying to express my frustrations and not getting emotional, but it's hard. I have many mixed feelings on this. Dried seahorses suck, and I don't want them to be sold there. I don't sell many seahorses on ebay either. But I also don't like that it appears to be a group outside the US meddling where they don't belong.

That same group is trying to organizing bully tactics against etsy sellers that have dried seahorses for sale. It's very unpleasant business, and doesn't do much to actually help seahorses. I posted earlier that I talked an an etsy seller into discontinuing the sales of dried seahorses, (unaware of the other activity) just by asking and explaining that horror that is the drying process and that seahorses are vulnerable around the world. I didn't say endangered or exaggerate, just that they face pressure from harvesting, and that is one way to help.

I don't have a working phone in the house because our cell carrier is upgrading equipment, which is turning out to be a bigger inconvenience than I thought. (I'm not a big fan of phone calls, but when you don't have it, suddenly you realize how much you need it.) As soon as I'm able, I'm going to give ebay a call and see if I can get an official statement on why they're doing this. I can call if I drive down the road a bit, but it's a huge pain in the ass, and I can't receive calls. Anything that is more than a five minute call is really a pain, and I suspect it will take some time to get to someone that knows what they're talking about.

I spoke to one other breeder that used ebay, and unlike me, his active posts were taken down. But there are a bunch of dried seahorses stiff for sale, and some live ones too. I fact, the only live ones are wild caught. It could be they're gaming the system, but basically what it boils down to is that people offering sustainably raised seahorses have been kicked off, but wild seahorses are still being sold.

Someone else pointed out that the only restriction on seahorses is CITES, which is the same thing that corals are restricted under, yet they are still for sale. And some are much higher on the CITES appendix.

My biggest frustration is that I don't want to fight this fight and have it benefit the dried seahorse market, if it is indeed doing anything to limit their sale. I suspect it won't effect the live seahorse market - I've seen more and more wild caught H. erectus sold in stores; my assumption being that they are losing the market share to cb seahorses, so are being sold dirt cheap to the aquarium trade.

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  • Offline DanU
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Re: Ebay bans the sale of seahorses in the US?

« Reply #3 posted: 3 years ago »
Supposed do gooders often do more harm than good. 

The case of WC vs CB is a classic example.  I looked into exporting seahorses and found that it takes an average of 7 months to get a CITES permit for CB seahorses.  You have ot prove that they are captive bred, be inspected by an approved aquatic vet and they will even want you to trace your breeding all the back to when the original brood stock were collected and the trip ticket and collection permit number of the collector.  I went through hoops with F & W in DC over this when I was questioned as I had sold brood stock to another breeder.  Conversely, a collector in Florida can get a CITES permit in as little as a week as he doesn't have to prove they are CB since they are WC and he has a license to collect them.  Bass Ackwards if you ask me. 

Seahorse Trust promotes some questionable facts.  Many of the supposed conservation groups do this and in some cases outright mis-truths.  Seahorse Trust still promotes that seahorses mate for life.  To the uneducated, this is very compelling and gets attention.  They also promote that seahorses will be extinct in 10 years unless we implement drastic measures to save them.  To the uneducated, who doesn't realize that many species and many areas of the wild, the seahorses are plentiful and doing fine, and that we really don't have much historic scientific numbers on them.  They are listed as Data Deficient for a reason. 

I have been watching with interest the fight that Seahorse Trust has been putting up on Studland Bay.  As an avid sailor and seahorse enthusiast, I can understand both sides.  Google Studland Bay and seahorses and you will come up with many articles.  But it is also interesting to look at the forums from the sailors and boaters and get their view point.  This really should be an easy compromise but the conservationist side has no interest in compromise, just a total ban on boats and use of the area.

Promoting captive breeding should be the priority, not trying to stop or put up road blocks.  Illegal activity should be reported and laws should be enforced but not by penalizing the captive breeder who is playing by the rules. 

Dan
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Re: Ebay bans the sale of seahorses in the US?

« Reply #4 posted: 3 years ago »
Any updates?