Saturday, July 20, 2024

China busts totoaba smuggling ring, seizes swim bladders worth US $26 million

The Chinese government has moved to stop the smuggling of illegal totoaba swim bladders from Mexico.

Chinese Customs announced on Christmas Day that an operation to bring down smuggling rings had led to the arrest of 16 individuals representing one of the main swim bladder trafficking gangs. Chinese authorities confiscated 444.3 kilograms of bladders worth an estimated US $26 million.

Though the investigation is still ongoing, preliminary results show the syndicate would purchase the bladders in Mexico and transport them to China in suitcases.

“For many years China was not aware of the illegal trade in totoaba bladders,” said Peter Knights, CEO of the non-governmental organization WildAid. “But when alerted, they stopped open trade and now they are taking down smuggling rings. Let’s hope their decisive action can help the remaining vaquita porpoises that are literally on the brink of extinction.”

The totoaba is a fish endemic to the upper Gulf of California and has been considered critically endangered since 1996. The totoaba shares the same habitat with the vaquita. Decades of destructive fishing practices and the rampant use of illegal gillnets to poach the totoaba have decimated the vaquita population, with now fewer than 20 individuals estimated to remain.

Earlier this month, an international group of scientists asked the Mexican government to issue a ban on possessing gillnets in the upper Gulf of California, a stronger measure than those introduced until now to save the vaquita porpoise.

Mexico News Daily

Have something to say? Paid Subscribers get all access to make & read comments.
Passengers wait in the crowded Cancún airport during the global Microsoft IT meltdown in Mexico.

Airport chaos and border bedlam: How the Microsoft IT meltdown is affecting Mexico

The IT outage that swamped Microsoft Windows computers around the world hit just as hard in Mexico, frustrating travelers of all stripes.
A man in a rain jacket points down at a channelized river below a bridge, full after recent rains.

Drought relents and reservoirs start to recover across rainy Mexico

As of July 15, the area of the country suffering from drought was down to almost 50%.
AMLOAMLO and Donald Trump walk down a red carpet in an elegant hallway. and Donald Trump walk down a red carpet in a long corridor.

In response to Trump speech, AMLO plans to send his ‘friend Donald’ a letter

"I think they're not informing him well about the migration issue and also about the importance of maintaining economic integration between the United States, Mexico and Canada," AMLO said Friday morning.