Mexican Startup Illegally Selling Endangered Totoaba Fish Health Drinks
Environmental groups, including Cetacean Action Treasury and a coalition comprising The Center for Biological Diversity, National Resources Defense Council, and Animal Welfare Institute, filed a complaint to CITES, raising concerns about potential illegal fishing practices and questioning the sustainability claims made by The Blue Formula. Additionally, amid the heightened scrutiny of eco-friendly practices, a disturbing revelation has surfaced: a Mexican startup is illegally selling Endangered Totoaba Fish health drinks. This shocking accusation adds a layer of complexity to the ongoing investigation into The Blue Formula’s operations, suggesting a potential threat to the endangered Totoaba fish population.
In a startling revelation, environmental watchdogs have levelled accusations against Mexican startup The Blue Formula for allegedly violating international trade laws by selling a health supplement derived from the endangered totoaba fish. The product, touted as “nature’s best-kept secret,” consists of a sachet of powder containing collagen extracted from the totoaba fish, designed to be mixed into a drink.
Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), totoaba fish export is deemed illegal unless bred in captivity with a specific permit. The Blue Formula is accused of flouting these regulations by exporting the product to various countries, including the U.S. and China.
The company contends that it operates “100% sustainably” by sourcing totoaba from Cygnus Ocean, a farm with alleged breeding permits. However, environmental groups argue that Cygnus Ocean lacks commercial export permits. Critics, including Alejandro Olivera from the Center for Biological Diversity, expressed apprehensions that the operation could be a front for laundering wild totoaba.
Illegal gillnet fishing for totoaba severely threatens the critically endangered vaquita porpoise, with less than a dozen believed to exist in the wild. Totoaba bladders command exorbitant prices in China, driving illegal trade and endangering both species. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently seized over $1 million worth of totoaba bladders in Arizona, highlighting the international dimensions of this illicit trade. The accusations against the Mexican startup illegally selling Endangered Totoaba Fish health drinks underscore the ongoing challenges in enforcing regulations and combating the illegal wildlife trade.
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