MEXICO CITY, Mexico, Fri. July 27, 2018– Reports coming out of Mexico are that a Belizean man was caught trafficking marine life through the international airport of Mexico City. He was attempting to board a flight to China when he was caught.
Mexico News Today reported the story, but did not mention the man’s name. However, they did mention that he was at the airport when police detected the smell of fish. When they inspected the man’s suitcase, they found 88 dried seahorses, two bags of sea cucumbers, and two bags of fish bladders.
A quick Google search led to several articles that reveal that Mexican crime groups are now profiting from trafficking fish bladders to Asia. These articles have highlighted that the bladder of a protected species known as the totoaba fish has been, over the years, highly sought after in Asia because of its alleged health benefits with regards to circulatory and skin problems. The bladders are also believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
Fishing for totoaba, which is only found in the gulf of California, has been banned since the 1970’s, not only in order to protect that species, but also for the protection of the vaquita, which is a type of porpoise that is often killed by the types of nets used in totoaba fishing.
Although the report from Mexico News Today did not confirm that the bladders were indeed those of the totoaba fish, it does seem plausible.
Sea cucumbers are also considered a delicacy in China, and also are believed to have therapeutic and aphrodisiac properties.
The same can be said for seahorses in Asia, where they are also used in the preparation of medicines and as aphrodisiacs. They are endangered internationally, and in Mexico, they are a protected species.
The Belizean man was charged with crimes against biodiversity. He was remanded until his trial.