Seahorses are one of the ocean’s most mystical and magical creatures, loved by children and studied by researchers, but they are on the brink of extinction, according to Vancouver biologists who dedicate their time to protecting the fish.

Seahorses are often plucked from their natural habitat through bottom trawling and sold.

Dried seahorse is one ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine to treat health issues ranging from asthma to impotence and thyroid disorders.

Buying seahorse is legal as long as it comes from a country without an export ban, but it’s definitely not easy to find  and has a hefty price tag. A dose runs 1-3 grams and costs roughly $2,000 a kilogram.

As Chinese Medicine becomes increasingly popular around the world, it is ever more important that practitioners are aware of the environmental impacts of the products they use or dispense.