Utne Blogs > Environment

Illegal Shark Hunting on the U.S.-Mexican Border

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: Environment, Politics, sharks, fishing, overfishing, biodiversity, Texas Observer,

Shark FishingJust south of the U.S. Mexican Border, a small town called Playa Bagdad has become a hotbed for the worldwide illegal shark fishing industry, according to the Texas Observer. Demand is rising for shark-fin soup, which can sell for $100 a bowl, and the tiny fishing village on the Gulf of Mexico is stepping up—and illegally crossing the border—to satisfy the world’s appetite. Kevin Seiff reports that “Playa Bagdad has no electricity, no running water, and no regulatory enforcement. You can catch, kill, and sell anything that lands in your hull—a scourge to the few environmentalists who know the beach exists.”

Playa Bagdad’s illegal shark fishing was one of the only reliable sources of income for Andres Hernandez, profiled by Kevin Sieff. Then Hernandez’s boat capsized, killing his fellow shipman and nearly killing him. “The demand for shark fishermen is unceasing,” Seiff writes. “The job is so dangerous and so uncomfortable that few are willing to do it.” Unfortunately for the environment, there are still enough people willing to brave the waters and the authorities, and seriously threaten the biodiversity of the entire region.

Source: Texas Observer 

Image by the SuperStar, licensed under Creative Commons.