Smugglers in Mexico are ditching drugs to sell something more valuable: totoaba fish.
Este es el pez Totoaba. También esta en peligro de extinción debido a la pesca furtiva de la región. Su vejiga o "buche" puede llegar a venderse en $7000 dlls. Los pescadores usan redes agalleras donde las Vaquitas quedan atrapadas y mueren. This fish is Totoaba. It is also in risk of extinction because of illegal fishing in the region. Its swimming bladder "buche" can be sold up to $7000 DLLs. The fishermen use gillnets where Vaquitas are trapped and die. #totoaba #sosvaquita ?????
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everybody meet the #vaquita, often called the panda of the sea, is a small porpoise endemic to Mexico's Gulf of California. It is the world's smallest and most endangered small marine cetacean. (think smallest whale/dolphinin the world) There is less than 97 in the sea! Its time to stop/accidentally fishing for them and protect their home! My kids need to live to see them. #heartbreak #savethevaquita #operationmilagro
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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.
Read more about this ‘aquatic cocaine’ here.