CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard cutter crews caught four Mexican nationals illegally fishing in U.S. Waters off Texas Wednesday.
Tuesday at 10:53 p.m., the Coast Guard Cutter Amberjack’s crew sighted a potential lancha, or Mexican fishing boat, approximately 15 nautical miles north of the U.S./Mexican maritime border.
The lancha was tracked north until the crew stopped to set their fishing gear. The Coast Guard Cutters Cypress and Amberjack’s small boat crews interdicted the lancha and the four men approximately 18 miles north of the maritime border and 33 miles offshore.
The men were transferred to South Padre Island for processing. Approximately 2 miles of illegal longline fishing gear was recovered along with 32 red snapper (19 alive) and 16 sharks (8 alive). All catch was released back to the sea.
“We have been very successful in discouraging lanchas from entering the Exclusive Economic Zone this year,” said Master Chief Petty Officer David Allen, the officer in charge of the Amberjack. “Today’s operation is an outstanding example of teamwork between several Coast Guard units for another successful interdiction.
Since Oct. 1, 2014, there have been 210 exclusive economic zone incursions; 1174 fish and 343 sharks seized and 89,450 yards of illegal fishing line recovered.
“This illegal activity depletes precious natural resources and has a huge negative impact on our fish stocks,” said Capt. Tony Hahn, the commanding officer of Sector Corpus Christi. “The Coast Guard is fully dedicated to pursuing these criminals.”
If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s “Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-GAME (4263). For all suspicious or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-6393.