Smuggling Fish Bladders Can Be More Profitable Than Selling Cocaine

Smugglers in Mexico are ditching drugs to sell something more valuable: totoaba fish.

Yep, you read that right. Smugglers Fishermen off the north coast of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico are illegally catching totoaba fish, which are endangered btw, to sell and ship off to China and Japan.

What’s so special about fish bladders you ask? Youth and beauty.

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The Chinese believe it has powerful anti-aging properties that can keep you young, beautiful and healthy. To them, it’s a holy grail of anti-aging and powerful medicine that can aid in skincare and circulatory problems.

The bladders of the totoaba fish are said to contain high levels of collagen. HOWEVER, there is no scientific evidence to support the medicinal or cosmetic appeal.

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Regardless, people will continue selling the product because a totoaba bladder can go for as much as $100,000 EACH in China and Hong Kong.

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This big chunk of cash is turning impoverished Mexican fisherman into illegal poachers – a massive sum compared to their average catch. This cash promises a better life and security for their families so they fish on, despite the illegality. The smuggling usually comes from organized crime, sometimes the same groups responsible for trafficking cocaine.

As for how the bladders are consumed…well, in an expensive ass bowl of sopita.

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And you thought tortilla soup at Whole Foods was overpriced.

We totally get going to great lengths to stay young and beautiful, but totoaba fishing is damaging the ecosystem and doing away with vaquitas.


The totoaba are on the endangered species list and their disappearance would disrupt the ecosystem of the glorious Gulf Coast. Second, the smallest porpoises on earth known as vaquitas, get caught in totoaba nets with such regularity it’s estimated there are fewer than 100 of them left. Fortunately, the US navy battles poaching of totoaba every day which is the best hope for both of these endangered mammals.

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Read more about this ‘aquatic cocaine’ here.

If you’d like to help you can sign a petition here and spread the word by sharing this article on Facebook and Twitter.

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