About the SA Blog Network

Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world
Extinction Countdown Home

Downcast: Critically endangered bahaba caught and sold for $500,000

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Email   PrintPrint

Bahaba taipingensisA critically endangered fish whose swim bladder is believed to cure illnesses has been caught and sold for more than $500,000 in China.

The 135-kilogram Chinese bahaba (Bahaba taipingensis), the first fish of its species caught in at least a year, was thought to be more than 50 years old. A fishery in Guangdong Zhanjiang purchased the fish for 3.45 million yuan.

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Bahaba’s swim bladder "is highly appreciated for its medicinal properties and as a general tonic for health." Its use in traditional Chinese medicine resulted in the species being heavily overfished, to the point where any catch is widely reported in China’s media.

Bahaba are endemic to the East China and South China seas. According to the IUCN, no spawning populations of the fish are known, and "there are likely to be few or no refuges remaining for recovery."

Bahaba taipingensis, via


Rights & Permissions

Comments 6 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. Takuan 4:24 pm 02/16/2010

    I have long maintained the only true sovereign remedy for cancer, impotence and old age can be found in the dried and powdered brains of a traditional Chinese herbalist.

    Link to this
  2. 2. krabcat 12:25 am 02/17/2010

    brains are difficult to powder

    Link to this
  3. 3. Soccerdad 11:10 am 02/17/2010

    That just means you need to collect a lot of them. Not really a bad thing.

    Link to this
  4. 4. CNunneley 1:14 pm 02/17/2010

    At $500k each, might be a good candidate for cloning.

    Link to this
  5. 5. chubbee 7:41 pm 02/17/2010

    Since brains are mostly fat, you could cook out the oil and rub it on your abadaba to cure arthritis, impotence and don’t forget my all time fav….anal seepage.

    Link to this
  6. 6. Bertie Fox 7:54 am 02/19/2010

    This is assuming that the Chinese herbalist HAS a brain! Evidently, he does not, judging from his behaviour in driving animals to extinction and exhausting his supply of materials.

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Email this Article