Grilled seahorses taken off the menu in Pattaya

Grilled seahorses taken off the menu in Pattaya

Grilled seahorses on sale for 150 baht each at the Pattaya Floating Market, before they were banned. (Photo by Chaiyot Pupattanapong)
Grilled seahorses on sale for 150 baht each at the Pattaya Floating Market, before they were banned. (Photo by Chaiyot Pupattanapong)

PATTAYA: A food vendor has been ordered to immediately drop grilled seahorses from his menu at a floating market popular with tourists, and his shop is being shut down.

Manas Meepong, manager of the Pattaya Floating Market, said he is terminating the contract with the vendor and made sure the seahorses were no longer on sale.

The decision followed pictures of grilled seahorses being posted on social media by tourists. The exotic snack on a stick cost 150 baht for one.

Mr Manas said he was shocked to learn these animals being cooked and sold at his market.

Chinese tourists were the main buyers, according to the vendor, whose name has not been disclosed.

Seahorses are not protected by Thai law. Importing or exporting them is, however, banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) to which Thailand is a signatory. This leaves a loophole for vendors of exotic foods.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine ecologist and lecturer at Kasetsart University, wrote on his Facebook account urging the government to list seahorses as an endangered species in Thailand to ensure its  protection and continued survival.

The floating market features products from all regions in the country is popular with tourists from China visiting the resort city.


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