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Monday, 05 March 2018 11:00

Sea battle against 'swim bladder' poachers in Gulf of Mexico

sea shepherdPoachers are targeting the critically endangered totoaba fish to sell its swim bladder on the black market in China and Hong Kong for unproven medicinal properties. One swim bladder can collect more than $20,000. For that reason, the fish is commonly referred to as "aquatic cocaine."

Poachers may set these gillnets to catch one species, but the nets don't discriminate, catching all that swims in these waters including the most endangered marine mammal in the world - the vaquita porpoise.

Despite gunshots being fired at its drone again, conservation group Sea Shepherd, together with the Mexican Navy, drove poachers off the protected vaquita refuge and saved the life of an endangered totoaba fish from their illegal nets.
This was the second shoot out, and the first in daylight, directed at Sea Shepherd in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico, in less than one week.