Coast Guard interdicts another Mexican fishing crew poaching in the Gulf of Mexico

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Coast Guard interdicted a Mexican fishing crew poaching red snapper in the waters off South Texas late Tuesday night.

At approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard Cutter Steelhead’s crew was on a patrol and sighted a Mexican fishing boat, also known as a lancha, on radar in U.S. waters. The Steelhead launched a law enforcement team from their small boat who confirmed and interdicted the lancha without pursuit, 40 miles offshore and 12 miles north of the maritime border.

The lancha had 50 red snapper weighing 196 pounds, four people, and fishing gear aboard the vessel when it was stopped. The Steelhead towed the lancha to Coast Guard Station South Padre Island. All persons were turned over to Customs and Border Protection.

Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have detected 93 lanchas, all of which were suspected of poaching in U.S. waters. The Coast Guard has interdicted 11 of them.

“It is dangerous for our law enforcement personnel to chase after lanchas illegally fishing in U.S. waters,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Allen, chief of law enforcement for Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi. “The master of the lancha made a wise decision by complying with the Steelhead’s directions to stop.”

If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact Texas Parks and Wildlife “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.

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