HomeNewsMexico's Geoduck Clams Latest Casualty of Asian Demand
NEWS

Mexico's Geoduck Clams Latest Casualty of Asian Demand

CHINA AND CRIME / 29 SEP 2021 BY SCOTT MISTLER-FERGUSON EN

Mexican geoduck clam populations are suffering as legal harvests are threatened by rampant poaching, which has driven the species onto the endangered species list.

The legal geoduck clam industry is steadily being pushed out by poachers who operate with little fear of repercussion, according to La Jornada, quoting Mexico’s chamber of commerce for fisheries (Canainpesca). At the same time, Mexican fishing authorities assert that the clam’s status as a luxury seafood dish in Asian markets is fueling a perhaps irreversible decline.

SEE ALSO: Latin America's Bustling Trade in Seahorses to China

Sergio Guevara Escamilla, Canainpesca’s representative in the northwestern state of Baja California, blamed “a network of corruption” threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of families to fuel the demand for this seafood dish in Asian markets.

To curb exploitation, the Mexican government announced temporary moratoriums on fishing the clams every year. These ran from April 16-30, 2021, and will take place from January 25 to April 30 in the years to come.

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing has ravaged northwestern Mexico, making the clam one of the most threatened marine species in the region.

InSight Crime Analysis

While numerous other marine species in Mexico have been threatened, the speed at which the geoduck clam has been overexploited is alarming. First discovered in the Gulf of California in the 1990s, the clam’s harvesting regulation has only been in place since 2007.

Its price in Mexico can reach $40 a kilogram and a single geoduck clam can fetch as high as $300 in high-end restaurants in China, according to the BBC. It is also legally produced in the United States and China, with 90 percent of clams going to China.

SEE ALSO: Coronavirus Has Not Slowed Looting of Latin America’s Maritime Species

The same goes for Mexico. “More than 90 percent of the production is exported to Asia, where introducers have no qualms about receiving the illegal product, especially at a price lower than the market price,” Guevara Escamilla told La Jornada.  

The Mexican navy has worked to stem the flow of illegally sourced clams to international markets, making regular seizures of geoduck clams alongside sea cucumbers, lobsters, abalone and other seafood.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 15 SEP 2011

The number of immigrants arrested on the U.S. border with Mexico has reached a 40 year low, with only 305,000…

JALISCO CARTEL / 28 MAY 2018

Authorities in Mexico have arrested the wife of the leader of the CJNG on charges she helped the group manage…

MEXICO / 9 MAY 2019

The president of Mexico’s has recently declared victory over the country’s fuel thieves, and while authorities have made some progress,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…