Taipei Customs (TPC) collaborated with Criminal Inspection Bureau (CIB) and seized the dried totoaba swim bladders from Mexico, which were 16 pieces and weighed 4 kilograms on July 28, 2020. TPC immediately turned over the pertinent items and documentation to CIB for further investigation. In August, 2020, TPC had intercepted 3 more cases, total in 127 pieces and 12 kilograms.
Totoaba macdonaldi is endemic to the Gulf of California of Mexico. Its price is much higher than cocaine and even it is given the nickname ‘aquatic cocaine’. Totoaba macdonaldi is in the Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and also protected under Wildlife Conservation Act. Importing or exporting of Totoaba macdonaldi or its products should obey Regulations on Import and Export of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna, Flora and Related Products. Importers should truthfully declare and provide CITES documentation signed by the departure country and the permit from Ocean Conservation Administration.
Importing endangered species of wild fauna, flora and related products without lawful documentation is illegal. Moreover, violators shall be fined not less than NTD.30,000 and not more than NTD.300,000 according to Foreign Trade Act and shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than 6 months and not more than 5 years, and/or a fine of not less than NTD.300,000 and not more than NTD.1,500,000 under Wildlife Conservation Act.
TPC collaborated with CIB and successfully seized the illegal transaction. It proved that every government entity worked together to fight against crime. TPC is always a faithful team member and will keep a sharp eye on any unfaithful declaration or smuggling.