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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 August, 2003, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Seahorses get zoo's backing
At least 20 million seahorses are taken from the sea each year
A zoo in north Wales is helping a world-wide project to protect endangered seahorses.

Throughout the year Anglesey Sea Zoo is raising funds for Project Seahorse.

It is also selling a range of crafts made especially for the zoo by fishermen in the Philippines who would otherwise be making a living catching the creatures.

Many species are under threat as they are being fished in huge numbers, mainly for their value in traditional Chinese medicine, where they are highly prized as treatment for asthma, lethargy and impotence.

People who would otherwise have made their living from fishing for seahorses make the fair trade crafts in the Philippines
Alison Lea-Wilson

At least 20 million are taken from the sea each year to meet this demand.

Many hundreds of thousands more are turned into souvenirs for tourists or captured live for the international aquarium trade.

Their coastal habitats are also being destroyed by holiday developments and pollution.

Now to promote the project a fundraising night is being held at the zoo on Tuesday.

The zoo's Alison Lea-Wilson said: "There will be talks on seahorses, activities for children including face painting, quizzes and competitions, and the chance to buy specially commissioned crafts.

Anglesey Sea Zoo
The fundraising night is being held on Tuesday

"People who would otherwise have made their living from fishing for seahorses make the fair trade crafts in the Philippines.

"They have been created especially for Anglesey Sea Zoo and all profits generated from their sale will be given back to the charity.

"Items include beach mats, coasters, wallets and jewellery, all made from natural materials.

"Ticket prices include a visit to the Sea Zoo with plenty of staff on hand to answer questions, a plate of nibbles and a glass of wine or juice."

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