Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing US waters

Coast Guard law enforcement crews moor an interdicted Mexican lancha whose boat crew was engaged in illegally fishing in federal waters off southern Texas on Feb. 4, 2018 in South Padre Island, Texas. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Station South Padre Island.

Coast Guard law enforcement crews moor an interdicted Mexican lancha whose boat crew was engaged in illegally fishing in federal waters off southern Texas on Feb. 4, 2018 in South Padre Island, Texas.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Station South Padre Island.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted a Mexican lancha boat crew engaged in illegally fishing in federal waters off southern Texas, Sunday afternoon.

Coast Guard crews stopped one lancha with a total of four Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing. The lancha, five sharks and 94 red snapper fish were seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing.

“The protection of our natural resources is of the utmost importance,” said Cmdr. Keith Pierre, chief of response for Sector Corpus Christi. “We will remain dedicated and disciplined in our fight to protect our natural resources along the U.S.-Mexico maritime boundary line.”

A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20-30 feet long with a slender profile, typically has one outboard motor, and is capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 mph. Lanchas are frequently used to transport illegal narcotics to the U.S. and 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 47 lanchas, 17 of which were interdicted, that were north of the U.S.-Mexico Maritime Border since Sept. 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 361-939-6393.

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