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#34 Totoaba

Critically Endangered

I touched on what is going on with this fish with yesterday's painting. I didn't feel that I could paint the Vaquita and not paint the Totoaba as well because their status is so intertwined. They live in the same area of the Gulf of California that the Vaquita does. The Totoaba swim bladder can sell for up to $20,000, so poaching is unlikely to stop any time soon, and the poaching of the Totoaba is why the Vaquita is endangered. This fish lives about 30 years and is slow growing, but can grow to be a little over 6 ½ feet long. Sadly the desire in China for the swim bladder has apparently increased. That is thought to be due to the Cchinese fish that used to supply the swim bladders is dying out. The bladder is dried and used in soup supposedly increasing fertility. In fact, pound per pound, the bladder is worth more than cocaine, however much that is worth. The fish is being farmed, but because it takes so long for them to get big enough, it may help keep the species alive in captivity, it does nothing to help the wild population really, and certainly doesn't help the Vaquita.

After painting this I broke down and bought a gold and silver watercolour pencil. I didn't feel that this painting did the fish justice. It was too late for this painting but future fishy paintings can have a little sparkle to them. I have always said I'm a fru-fru tomboy. I have gotten a lot more fru-fru as I've gotten older because I am surrounded by males. I try to add bits of pink into the decorations but because I also love antique cameras, crows, and octopuses the decorating style in our home is close to an accidental steampunk style than anything really feminine. The boys are all grateful because they know how attracted to pink, sparkly, and fluffy things I am, and the house could look like a ballet company exploded inside.

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