totoaba fish The totoaba, subject of international talks last week.

Trinational talks lead to totoaba task force

Mexico, China, US agree to combat illegal trafficking of the fish

Mexico, China and the United States will create a tri-national task force to combat the illegal trafficking of totoaba swim bladders.

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Representatives of the three countries met last week in Ensenada, Baja California, where they agreed to investigate the routes and methods used in the trafficking of the bladders, considered a delicacy in Asia.

The fish is endemic to the Sea of Cortés as is the vaquita marina porpoise, and both are endangered. Vaquita numbers, estimated to be as low as 30, have been hurt in large part by the illegal totoaba fishery, in whose nets the vaquita are often bycatch.

Conservation groups have been urging international action to curb illegal totoaba trafficking in order to save both species.

During the talks, the Chinese government reported it was conducting inspections of key markets, taking steps to improve law enforcement and raising awareness among citizens regarding the fish species and its protected status.

The U.S. is involved because much of the totoaba is moved from Mexico to China through U.S. territory. Its representatives reported on that country’s efforts to combat the illegal trade.

Mexico and China will formalize the accord next week in China during a visit by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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