Monday, August 11, 2014

Mexican Drug Cartels Are Selling Black Market Fish Bladders

Instead of drugs, Mexican cartels have turned to poaching the endangered totoaba for its prized bladder and selling them to Asia.

Mexican drug cartels are usually associated with selling marijuana and cocaine. Now, they're getting their hands on another lucrative business: selling prized fish bladders to Asia.

These bladders belong to the totoaba, and can sell from $7,000 to $14,000 on the black market.

The totoaba's bladder controls its buoyancy. It's considered a delicacy in China, where one bowl of soup made with it can go for $25, 000.

The fish can grow to be up to seven feet long and weigh over 200 pounds.

It's classified as an endangered species in the United States, due to poaching and the diversion of water in the Colorado River, affecting its natural spawning environment.

The fish bladders are dried and generally smuggled from Mexico through the United States before being sent to Asia.

And it's not just the cartels, American smugglers are known to transport the fish as well.

While arrests have been made in both the U.S. and Mexico for those caught harvesting or trafficking the fish organs, the business continues.

The totoaba isn't the only aquatic wildlife being poached in Mexico, sea horses and sea cucumbers are both also harvested and sold.

Thank you GeoBeats!

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