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Song Shen Zhen was sentenced to a year in custody and told to pay $120,500 to the Mexican environmental protection agency today (Aug. 11).

Last year, Zhen had been caught smuggling dried Totoaba bladders — a delicacy in Asia — into the U.S. in his car. The totoaba is an endangered, protected species of fish.

Border agents found that he had more than 200 bladders in his home in Calexico, worth more than $1 million in the U.S.

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Comments

Visduh Aug. 12, 2014 @ 8:43 a.m.

Here we are in the 21st century, and we still have spots in the world that have desires for all sorts of strange nostrums or "delicacies." Rhino horn, bear gall bladder and now this. A million dollars worth of fish guts? Yep, that seems to be the story. As these species become more endangered, or go extinct, the desire for this sort of offal will just increase.

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Don Bauder Aug. 12, 2014 @ 12:30 p.m.

Visduh: So true. Tragically, endangered species attract daredevils. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Aug. 12, 2014 @ 1:19 p.m.

Some wildlife watch-groups are worried that the African Elephant will be extinct (in the wild) by 2020. That is 6 years from now. This is because of the insatiable demand for ivory chopsticks and other trinkets. The poachers sometimes chain saw the tusks while the elephant is still alive.

On the subject of the Totoaba bladders, I wonder how it became a delicacy in Asia. Totoaba is native to the Sea of Cortez. Although endangered, they also aqua-farm them. Somehow an export market was created by making this species a folk medicine by spreading a myth about mystic powers.

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Don Bauder Aug. 12, 2014 @ 3:45 p.m.

Ponzi: Totoaba fish are only found in the Sea of Cortez. In Asia, the bladders are used for a specialty soup, for therapeutic and medicinal purposes, and for complexion improvement. Best, Don Bauder

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