Sir Hugo Swire KCMG (Conservative MP for East Devon) has been named the newest patron of The Seahorse Trust. He joins TV presenters Chris Packham, Kate Humble, Ellie Harrison and others as a patron of the marine charity.
Sir Hugo has been actively engaged in raising public and parliamentary awareness of the Seahorse Trust and its work. In November 2018, he secured a Parliamentary debate on the illegal trade in seahorses, which highlighted that 150 million seahorses are illegally traded around the world every year for the curio and medicine trade.
Sir Hugo also arranged a meeting between The Seahorse Trust and Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to discuss the mechanisms in place to tackle the illegal online trade in seahorses and also the proposals for a marine conservation zone (MCZ) in Studland Bay, Dorset. The objectives of this MCZ would include conservation of the UK’s two native seahorse species, the Spiny Seahorse (Hippocampus Guttulatus) and the Short Snouted Seahorse (Hippocampus Hippocampus).
Sir Hugo Swire said:
“I am delighted to become a patron of The Seahorse Trust based in Topsham. Tragically, seahorses are threatened in Devon, the UK and around the world. I look forward to working with The Seahorse Trust to continue to raise public and political awareness of much-needed conservation efforts for seahorses and the broader marine environment.”
The Seahorse Trust’s Executive Director, Neil Garrick-Maidment, said:
“Sir Hugo Swire has already been a fantastic support to us, enabling us to make inroads into the illegal trade of seahorses and spreading public and parliamentary awareness. We are extremely grateful to Sir Hugo for becoming a patron of The Seahorse Trust and we look forward to continuing to work closely with him to secure the future of one of the British Isles’ most iconic species, the seahorse.”