Mar 7, 2019

Guangdong, China (SE Asia, Mexico & beyond): Shipments discovered including 20,000 swim bladders from rare totoaba fish valued by the black market at US$119 million

photo credit

I heard this morning on the five minute radio news bulletin from BBC World Service  (internet radio) of the discovery of 20,000 smuggled swim bladders taken from the endangered fish species Totoaba macdonaldi that inhabits the Gulf of California in Mexico. The story as reported by Agence France-Presse updated March 7, 2019 is published in the South China Morning Post.

China authorities in Guangdong (Hong Kong) have arrested 11 people in regards to a particular criminal poaching operation that has been going on for three years.

The Totoaba macdonaldi is a very large fish native to Mexico that is critically endangered and on the IUCN Red List. The link for more info is:

The Totoaba is not the same as the Vaquita porpoise which is another species threatened with extinction due to smugglers.

People illegally trade this item for so-called medicinal use.

There is a helpful 3-minute slide show on the South China Morning Post about some of the endangered species that have been meeting this fate:

Shocking stories such as crimes involving wild animals and conservation, oil spills, and train wrecks are things I usually hear more on BBC than elsewhere.  Here is a 2016 feature story from NPR mentioning the Totoaba, but I wish there were complete coverage on NPR, Google News etc. of these horrible offenses so that more people would know and do something to stop it.