Endangered Fish in Health Supplement? Startup Company in Mexico Accused of Violating Trade Laws

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The company, The Blue Formula, sells a powder that contains totoaba fish extract, which it calls “nature’s best-kept secret.” The powder, which costs about $115 for 200 grams, is supposed to be mixed with a drink and provide daily support.

However, environmental groups accuse the company of breaking international trade laws by selling the product in various countries, according to Knewz.com. The totoaba fish is endangered and protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1979 and by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which both the U.S. and Mexico have signed. The totoaba fish’s swim bladder is highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine and as a delicacy in Asia, as reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

On December 7, a coalition of environmental groups, including The Center for Biological Diversity, National Resources Defense Council, and Animal Welfare Institute, filed a formal complaint against The Blue Formula with CITES.

The company claims to source its fish from Cygnus Ocean, a fish farm, but environmentalists doubt its legality. They told The Associated Press that Cygnus Ocean did not have a permit to export their fish commercially. Alejandro Olivera, a representative of the Center for Biological Diversity in Mexico, told CBS News that he suspected the company and the farm were involved in illegal activities.

“It could be easily used to launder wild totoaba, because there is no good enforcement of the traceability of totoaba in Mexico,” Olivera said.

The Blue Formula did not respond to the AP’s request for comment, the outlet said.

The totoaba fishing also threatens the survival of the vaquita porpoise, a critically endangered species that gets trapped and dies in the nets, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The organization estimated that there were only 10 vaquitas left in the wild.

Source: Knewz