Viking Vessel sunk off in Indonesia
Fig.1 The Viking sunk off by Indonesian authority. EPA

In the early 1990s, toothfish became a popular alternative to cod, as the fish was easy to cook and stocks around Chile and Argentina were abundant. However, the drastic increase in catch, from just 1.000 tons in 1992 to 30.000 tons in 1993, devastated local toothfish stocks and soon prompted illegal fishing operations for wild Antarctic toothfish in the South Ocean. The fish was marketed as Chilean seabass and the business was so lucrative that poachers refer to it as "white gold".

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