The ICNF provided the clarification following environmentalist Cláudia Sil's warning that a set of ZEC’s management plans for the Algarve include "serious errors" by leaving out the seahorse in the Ria Formosa.

The plans under consultation "will be in force for 10 years" alerted Cláudia Sil, who represents environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the Ria Formosa Natural Park Co-management Commission (PNRF) and the Regional Council of the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR). According to Claúdia, the seahorse has "serious conservation problems, requiring specific and urgent protection measures.” The environmentalist reminded everyone that the seahorse is listed as an endangered species of wild fauna and flora under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The ICNF has acknowledged that “the seahorse, an emblematic species of the PNRF, is not included in these annexes", however, they state that it is "protected under decree-law no. 38/2021, of 31 May, which approves the legal regime applicable to the protection and conservation of wild flora and fauna and the natural habitats of species listed in the Berne and Bonn Conventions”. Additionally, the public institution noted that the species has "a protection regime for some species not covered by the annexes of these conventions, but which require protection measures”.