Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing in US waters

A lancha and fishing gear were seized and brought back to shore after being stopped Thursday afternoon on Jun. 15 by U.S. Coast Guard crews in southern Texas. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Edward J.Wargo

A lancha and fishing gear were seized and brought back to shore after being stopped Thursday afternoon on Jun. 15 by U.S. Coast Guard crews in southern Texas. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Edward J.Wargo

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted a Mexican lancha boat crew off the coast of southern Texas, Thursday.

Coast Guard crews stopped the lancha with four Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing Thursday afternoon. The lancha and fishing gear were seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing.

“We take the mission of protecting our living marine resources very seriously,” said Cmdr. Keith Pierre, the chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi. “We will continue to deter illegal fishing and other illicit activity that occurs [in U.S. waters.]”

A lancha is a Mexican fishing boat that is approximately 20-30 feet long with a slender profile, typically with one outboard motor, is capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 miles per hour, 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 Corpus Christi has interdicted 27 and has seen 96 lanchas north of the U.S./Mexican Maritime Border in 2017.

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.

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