Featured Image Credit: www.scmp.com
By: Nazifa Islam
Illegal fishing has surged in Mexico due to China’s rising demand for the totoaba fish bladder. In 2013, people from China appeared in Mexico with cash, willing to pay $3,000 to $9,000 per kilogram for totoaba bladders.
This is the main reason totoaba is listed as an endangered species. Research shows that a single totoaba bladder can sell anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 at shops in Hong Kong. A bladder that weighs 400 grams can sell for $65,000.
So what is so special about a totoaba’s bladder that makes people spend that much money? Some people in China believe that the bladder, when cooked in soup, will improve fertility and virility. It could also help with joint pain.
Businessmen also purchase the bladder as a gift for other higher officials. They believe it is a way to show power and wealth.
Interesting correlation, huh?
Others purchase it because they know the price of the bladder is going to increase, so they are stocking up ahead of time.
Does this affect any other animal? It sure does and it’s a huge concern.
Fishermen use gillnets to catch totoaba, which unintentionally entrap vaquita too. Vaquita’s are the world’s smallest and rarest porpoise. There’s only about 100 of them left.
More people should care about this because losing a top-of- the-food- chain predator could have serious impacts on the ecological balance on the lower level of the food chain. This could possibly affect fish stocks that humans depend on for food.