Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing in U.S.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted a Mexican lancha boatcrew engaged in illegally fishing in federal waters Saturday morning off southern Texas.

Coast Guard crews stopped one lancha with a total of five Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing. The lancha, with fishing gear onboard, was seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing.

“The lancha fishermen have continued to poach our natural resources and violate our sovereignty,” said Cmdr. Keith Pierre, the chief of response at Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “Stopping this and other illegal activity along the U.S./Mexico maritime border is one of our top priorities.”

A lancha is a Mexican fishing boat that is approximately 20-30 feet long with a slender profile, typically has one outboard motor, is capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 mph, and is frequently used to fish illegally in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone near the U.S./Mexico border in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi has detected 18 lanchas, six of which were interdicted, that were north of the U.S./Mexico Maritime Border since Oct. 1, 2017.

If you witness suspicious activity 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 activity or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.

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