The government of Mexico got approval to trade internationally the totoabaan endangered fish, reported this Friday Earth Ocean Farms (EOF), a farm that will allow the species to be cultivated without putting it at risk.
Mexico reached the majority of votes of the Permanent Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), who supported the proposal of register the first aquaculture farmi.e. EOF, headquartered in Peace Baja California Sur.
“Aquaculture is a method to ensure the non-extinction of the totoaba. At EOF we have complied with all the requirements requested by the Convention. The decision of Cites allows to consolidate the regional economy of the Baja California peninsula”, stated Pablo Konietzko, director of EOF.
“After four years of constructive dialogue, we are proud to be part of the solution and contribute to the construction of a legal alternative to international trade, promoting the conservation of the species”
The totoaba crop, native to the Gulf of California, in northwestern Mexico, is highly appreciated in the Asian market especially in China, where healing and aphrodisiac capacities are attributed to its swimming belly.
totoaba fishing It is forbidden but its great value on the Chinese black market means that this fish, up to two meters long and weighing 150 kilos, be a victim of poaching.
For this reason, the Cites resolution will allow “promoting an important international market with a sustainable approach and, in addition, it opens the door to other Wildlife Conservation Units (UMA) that meet the requested requirements,” Konietzko said.
“EOF is part of the solution for the conservation of the species. We support their repopulation and we have released about 150,000 juvenile totoabas in the Sea of Cortez and studies have proven that the released individuals have managed to survive,” he said.
Members of the Committee, such as Brazil, Canada, Indonesia and Kuwait, considered that EOF resolved the requirements and observations.
While other representatives conceded that the problem of the illegal trade of totoaba maw and the legal trade of meat from aquaculture farms should be evaluated independently.
“The approval is interpreted as an important step for Mexico, strengthening the conservation strategy through the cultivation of marine species”considered EOF.
Fishing contributed 2.5% of Mexico’s agricultural GDP with more than 240 thousand workers in 24 of the 32 states of the country before the pandemic, according to official figures from the National Commission for Aquaculture and Fisheries (Conapesca).
But the insufficiency of measures to protect endangered species, such as the vaquita porpoisehas raised concern in the United States, which in February called for environmental consultations on this issue as part of the T-MEC trade agreement.
Totoaba exploitation dates back to the 1920sand has not only put this species in serious danger of extinction but also the vaquita marina, an aquatic mammal with which it shares geographical space.
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