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Bahaba Fish Worth $473,000 Caught, Sold In China

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An endangered fish known in Chinese medicine for its healing properties was caught off the coast of the Fujian province of China last week and fetched a stunning $473,000, Business Insider reports.

The fisherman has not yet been identified, but according to a Fujian news outlet, he is reportedly an older man who had little money and plans to use the profits from the fish to buy a bigger boat.

The fisherman told the news outlet that he saw the bahaba -- which weighed 80kg, or about 175 pounds -- floating near the surface and was able to simply pick it up. When the man brought his catch back to shore, fishmongers started bidding on it immediately.

The bahaba fish, also known as the giant yellow croaker, is valued for its swim bladder, which is thought to help cure heart and lung ailments. As a result, the fish has been sold for large sums of money throughout the years.

In 2008, a group of anglers caught a nearly 6-foot bahaba and sold it to a local fisherman for about $2,500, Reuters reports. However, they were unaware of how just valuable their fish was. The man they sold the fish to turned around and re-sold it to a seafood restaurant for even more, and that restaurant subsequently sold it for $126,000.

In 2010, a bahaba fish believed to be 50 years old was caught and sold for about $500,000, Scientific American notes.

According to the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, the bahaba fish is close to extinction and is considered critically endangered. The bahaba was discovered by scientists in the 1930s and became a popular target of fishermen by the '50s and '60s.

Though bahabas are protected in mainland China, there are no regulations in Hong Kong. The bahaba is still fished and sold illegally despite the species's low numbers because of how valuable it can be.

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