The tiger tail seahorse faces a number of threats, including capture for use in traditional Chinese medicine, as a curio, or for the live aquarium trade, and as incidental bycatch in other fisheries. It is also, like many seahorses, under serious threat from habitat degradation, due, for example, to destructive fishing methods, water pollution and siltation, and the farming of wild Sargassum beds, which are used to make kelp powder for export (1) (2) (7) (9). The shallow, inshore habitats typically used by seahorses are often highly affected by human activities, and the unique life history and social behaviour of these species makes them particularly vulnerable to any threats. For example, removal of one partner may stop the other reproducing, and adults may not disperse far to re-colonise depleted areas (1) (2) (4) (6) (10).
Although its year-round breeding and nocturnal activity may make the tiger tail seahorse less vulnerable to overfishing than some other species (10), it is reported to be one of the most commonly traded seahorses (1), and serious declines have been reported in some areas (1) (2) (6) (8) (10). The potential impact of global warming on the tiger tail seahorse is currently unknown (7).