Coast Guard seizes 3 foreign flagged fishing vessels in Gulf of Mexico

USCG File Photo

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Coast Guard seized three lanchas Friday and Saturday that were reportedly fishing illegally in U.S. waters in the vicinity of Corpus Christi and South Padre Island, Texas.

At approximately 9:40 a.m., Friday, a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HU-25 Falcon jet and crew was on a routine patrol when the crew spotted a lancha, approximately 20 miles north of South Padre Island and within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Falcon crew alerted Coast Guard Station South Padre Island, requesting assistance. Station South Padre Island launched a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boat and crew to the location of the lancha. The SPC-LE crew seized the vessel, which had snapper and shark onboard. The lancha crew was turned over to Customs and Border Protection agents. The catch was released at sea.

In a separate incident Friday, at approximately 11:30 p.m., Air Station Corpus Christi launched an HU-25 Falcon jet and crew to respond to another report of lanchas fishing in the EEZ. The Falcon jet crew spotted two lanchas approximately 40 miles south of Corpus Christi and approximately 20 miles off shore. The Falcon jet crew radioed law enforcement crews from Station South Padre Island and directed them to the location of the lanchas. At approximately 2 a.m., Saturday, a SPC-LE boat and crew from Station South Padre Island interdicted the two lanchas who were actively engaged in fishing. The lanchas seized also had snapper and shark onboard. The fishermen were apprehended by Coast Guard law enforcement crews and turned over to Customs and Border Protection agents. The catch was released at sea.

“This is about protecting and safeguarding our natural resources,” said Lt. Cmdr. Darren Melanson, a Coast Guard law enforcement officer. “The Coast Guard consistently patrols U.S. waters in an effort to maintain security and safety at sea,” he said.

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