News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 9 to 10 a.m.

CA authorities catch multimillion-dollar fish bladder smuggling ring




This March 2013 image provided by the U.S. attorney's Office shows Totoaba bladders  displayed at a U.S. border crossing in downtown Calexico, Mexico.  Seven people have been charged in a scheme to sell the bladders of an endangered Mexican fish considered a delicacy for use in Chinese soup, U.S. prosecutors said Wednesday.
This March 2013 image provided by the U.S. attorney's Office shows Totoaba bladders displayed at a U.S. border crossing in downtown Calexico, Mexico. Seven people have been charged in a scheme to sell the bladders of an endangered Mexican fish considered a delicacy for use in Chinese soup, U.S. prosecutors said Wednesday.
HOPD/AP

Listen to story

05:29
Download this story 2.0MB

We've heard of poachers hunting rhinos for their horns and elephants for their tusks, but now in southern California, they're going after a fish called the totoaba for their bladders.

Last week, federal agents seized over 200 of these bladders from a home in Calexico. On the black market, they could have fetched as much as $3.6 milllion.

We called up Jill Birchell from the office of Law Enforcement with US Fish and Wildlife Service to find out what this fish is and why it's in such high demand.