Mexican Cartel Linked To Smuggling Of Fish Bladders To Feed Chinese Market For Endangered Species

totoabaUSGSThe insatiable appetite of Chinese consumers for endangered and threatened species has now found suppliers in organized crime. The combination of the Chinese black market and organized crime is magnifying the impact on the environment. A new such alliance has been uncovered this week in Mexico where cartels are now turning to smuggling not cocaine but animal parts. The latest example can from the Sonoran town of El Golfo de Santa Clara where Mexican mobsters were found smuggling $1 million of fish bladders from the totoaba fish.

The Chinese-Mexican connection was discovered in the course of an investigation into the murder of Samuel Gallardo Castro, alias “El Samy.” El Samy was allegedly killed over an unpaid debt related to the shipment of totoaba gladders.

The totoaba’s large swim bladder controls the fish’s buoyancy and is considered a delicacy in China like so many other parts from rare or endangered species. A soup with the bladder can fetch as much as $25,000 a bowl. That translates on the black market to between $7,000 to $14,000 a bladder. That beats cocaine. The problem (at least for people other than these Chinese consumers) is that totoaba is endangered. The magnificent fish can go to seven feet in length and weigh 200 pounds and live for around 25 years. However, they are disappearing into the soup bowls of Chinese consumers.

Source: Latino Fox

19 thoughts on “Mexican Cartel Linked To Smuggling Of Fish Bladders To Feed Chinese Market For Endangered Species”

  1. Byron. They’ll learn to love taxing cannabis. They tax the bejesus out of it in Washington.

  2. Bryon,

    I have no problem with women being on money…. I really don’t…. If you keep money in your wallet don’t complain them riding your …..

  3. T Limey,

    If I recall the second most millionaires live in china…. Like 2.3 million or so….

  4. Who in China would pay $25000 for a bowl of fish soup? Are these top party leaders, factory owners or what? I can’t imagine even Donald Trump paying that much for soup.

  5. Paul, Good point. The cartels dread the legalization of cannabis more than our cop and prison lobbyists.

  6. As the Americans decide to make cannabis legal, the Mexican illegal economy is going to have to switch to something else. Glad to see they are moving with the times.

  7. RTC, Absolutely not. I’m saying the opposite. You work on the demand side of drug addiction by treating and preventing drug use. You work on the demand side of child porn by locking up the users of it. Treatment of pedophiles has proven virtually useless.

  8. Meanwhile, Asian carp are threatening the lake and river ecosystems of Midwestern America.
    “How do we change an entire culture to actually value endangered species?”

    Good question. Maybe we could start by passing a law that protected endangered species here at home. Call it something catchy, like The Endangered Species Act, and use it to actually protect endangered species without emphasizing economic impacts on industrial activity and development. And then, once the law has shown to be effective, discourage the political representatives of industry (I mean the Republicans, if you can’t figure it out) from weakening it or repealing it entirely.

    As for affecting Chinese and Asian culture, I have said here often that Asians are very sensitive to perception, they call it “face”, and they need to be called out and shamed for their barbarism by a global coalition in a worldwide forum. At the very least, we need to make an effort to stop buying Chinese products. Nixon thought that economic cooperation with China would make them more amenable to the West. That hasn’t happened, and their environmental damage is as bad as all out warfare. Worse, they set an example that American businesses aspire to achieve.

    It should be noted that the dolphin slaughter is primarily part of the Japanese culture, along with whale killing, but it’s instructive of this Asian phenomena as a whole when you realize that the Pacific fisheries surrounding Japan have been transformed into dead zones. Japanese market demands have led to a depletion of fish stocks as far away as the Mediterranean. Hopefully, the European restrictions take effect soon enough to save the bouillabaisse.
    Nick: I’m not sure what you’re saying regarding supply and demand. Are you suggesting that we don’t prosecute people for child pornography since there is and, presumably, always will be a demand for it?

  9. Karen, Bingo! It doesn’t matter if it’s cocaine, child porn, or fish bladders, the law of supply and demand is just like the laws of physics.

  10. As long as there is a demand, there will continue to be poaching of endangered species.

    How do we change an entire culture to actually value endangered species? And how to explain that aphrodisiacs, for example, from endangered species do not actually work, and are a foolish waste of money and life?

    I would also like to see the dolphin slaughters halted.

  11. I hope that corruption isn’t affecting enforcement. Education, as TL explains, is important and necessary element as well.

  12. There was good news recently that public awareness had increased in China to reduce the demand on shark fin soup, where sharks were killed or mutilated only for the fin. They need more awareness on this fish too. Our endless ocean is endless no more.

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