Coast Guard forces illegal Mexican fishermen back across border

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A patrolling Coast Guard aircrew spotted, pursued and compelled a lancha across the U.S./Mexican border, Thursday, after the lancha was spotted poaching in U.S waters.

At approximately 10 a.m., a Coast Guard aircrew aboard an HU-25 Falcon aircraft spotted the 25-foot lancha fishing approximately 38 miles offshore and 3 miles north of the U.S./Mexican border.

The aircrew immediately notified Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi, and pursued the vessel south, forcing it across the border. Coast Guard Station South Padre Island dispatched a boatcrew on a 33-foot small boat to the original position of the fishing vessel, where they found three sets of long-line gear measuring approximately 185 yards each. One red snapper and one amberjack were found on one of the long lines and were released at sea. All lines were recovered before more fish could be poached.

This poaching, also known as Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing is a global problem battled by law enforcement and regulatory agencies throughout the world.

“The illegal poaching taking place daily on the maritime border with Mexico here in Texas is a prime example of IUU,” said Cmdr. Daniel Deptula, response officer at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi. “This has long been a problem in South Texas waters, the Coast Guard and our partner agencies will continue patrolling for illegal fishing in order to stop the fishermen before they can steal our fish.”

If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact Texas Parks & Wildlife Department “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 United States Coast Guard at 361-939-6393.

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