Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing US waters

Coast Guard law enforcement crews interdict Mexican lancha boat crews engaged in illegal fishing in federal waters off southern Texas Jan. 11, 2017. 187 red snapper fish, 24 sharks, and 9 eel totaling 2,345 lbs along with the lancha and fishing gear onboard were seized. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard law enforcement crews interdict Mexican lancha boat crews engaged in illegal fishing in federal waters off southern Texas Jan. 11, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

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,Thursday morning.

Coast Guard crews stopped one lancha with four Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing. 187 red snapper fish, 24 sharks, and 9 eel totaling 2,345 lbs, along with the lancha and fishing gear onboard, were seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing.

“Our crews do some amazing work in some very hard conditions ensuring this devastating illegal poaching by Mexican lancha crews does not go unchallenged,” said Capt. Tony Hahn, Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi commander. “The Coast Guard will continue to challenge and interdict all the detrimental poaching on our waters to stem the critical depletion of our scarce fishery stocks.”

A lancha is a Mexican fishing boat 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 22 lanchas, 15 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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