Coast Guard interdicts lancha crews illegally fishing US waters

A lancha boat used for illegal fishing floats by a pier in southern Texas waters after its seizure by Coast Guard law enforcement crews on Mar. 13, 2018. 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. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A lancha boat used for illegal fishing floats by a pier in southern Texas waters after its seizure by Coast Guard law enforcement crews on Mar. 13, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted four Mexican lancha boat crews engaged in illegal fishing of federal waters near southern Texas March 11, 2018 through Tuesday.

Coast Guard crews stopped four lanchas with 20 Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing. Four lancha boats, 100 red snapper and fishing gear were seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing.

“Our crews do 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 commanding officer. “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 78 lanchas, 28 of which were interdicted, that were north of the U.S./Mexico Maritime Border since October 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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