ALERT: China's traffickers operate in the Gulf of California

A report published on the Asia Times site, points out that the Chinese mafia controls illegal fishing in the area known as the Upper Gulf of California, which keeps the U.S. government on the lookout for what is happening in that unstable area.

Chinese fishermen are also working with Mexican drug cartels to fish for totoaba, a critically endangered species of fish native to the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) between Baja California and the Mexican mainland, according to reports. It has been illegal to catch totoaba since 1975, but that means nothing to the cartels.

The swim bladder of the totoaba is used in Chinese traditional medicine. The Mexican cartels call it “the cocaine of the sea.” Fishermen under their control drop thousands of gill nets, aiming for totoaba but also trapping and killing other fish, turtles and the vaquita, the world’s smallest whale. 

The vaquita, which lives only in the Sea of Cortez, is also on the verge of extinction. The story is told in the film Sea of Shadows, directed by Richard Ladkani, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio also helped make saving the vaquita a priority of the Mexican government.

The Center for International Maritime Security, a non-profit think tank incorporated in Maryland, reports that Mexico, Peru and Chile have all stepped up patrols to control Chinese and other illegal fishing along their Pacific coasts.


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