Our friends over in China are freaking out, reason being shortages of a certain fish swim bladder. They say it’s due to overfishing and the species that produces this delicacy – known as the totoaba (a giant Mexican fish) – is going extinct. The prices ranges from $2,500 to nearly $10,000 per bladder which has resulted in a not so flattering nickname “Aquatic cocaine”.
In the craze of making some decent money another species is in even greater danger as they get caught up in the nets (known as gillnets) used to catch totoaba. The all so adorable vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise, is almost certain to go extinct as wildlife researches only managed to detect 97 of them in recent years, in contrast to 567 only a decade ago.
No proof of any health benefits when consumed
Why the Chinese is so crazed about this fish is hard for westerners to fathom. According to local culture they claim that the swim bladder help cure a variety of alignments. Something that scientists have yet to find any proof of even though thoroughly research has been done.
Meanwhile they continue their hunt for the last remaining specimens of totoaba. For them (read fishermen) it’s all worth it as pulling a totoaba is like hitting the jackpot.
For the rest of us – and future generations – it’s a tragedy showing the lengths in which the lower class citizens on this planet will go to earn a living. Hunting and killing endangered animals should have a hefty price tag, making it exclusive for the wealthy.
It’s not always about the money
For us, a mere $10,000 is more or less what we spend on StarBucks every year, and normally we wouldn’t care if some animal is about to vanish (only makes it more exclusive to hunt!). However, these little creatures (the vaquita) are so adorable it melts our hearts (yes, all you peasants out there; we do actually have hearts).
Therefore, we’re hoping that the international convention on endangered species, that’s taking place in Geneva this week, will find a way to avoid extinction for the little dolphin cousins.
Otherwise, we’ll have to overbid the “Aquatic cocaine” market and find a safe haven for these creatures, and maybe harvest some totoaba swim bladders while we’re at it. Then we wont have to attend any charity event for years – sound like a good deal.