After reading about how the Totoaba fish is poached for it’s swim bladder Jacha was inspired to create a sculpture of the fish and the Vaquita dolphin to raise awareness of what is happening to them.
Totoaba Macdonaldi is the largest member of the drum family and is indigenous to the Gulf of California in Mexico. A serious threat to the Totoaba is human poaching, the swim bladder is a valuable commodity, fetching high prices. 200 swim bladders may be sold for up to $3.6 million (2013 prices) as it is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine and is believed by many Chinese to be a treatment for fertility, circulatory and skin problems. The Chinese species of the same fish was eaten to extinction which is why suppliers are turning to the U.S population. Often fish are simply stripped of their bladders and left on the beach, meat and all, since the traders don’t care about the meat, and being caught with it would be a liability. Very often Vaquita’s (the world’s smallest cetacean.) get caught up in the gill nets and die, there is thought to be only 30 vaquitas left in the world.
You can see Jacha’s Totoaba and Vaquita sculptures on display at the Platform Galeri in Betws-y-Coed, North Wales.