Coast Guard seizes 4 miles of illegal gill net off South Padre Island, Texas

A Station South Padre Island 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew seizes illegal gill net, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015 near the U.S. and Mexico border.  Coast Guard photo.

A Station South Padre Island 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew seizes illegal gill net, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015 near the U.S. and Mexico border. Coast Guard photo.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard seized 4 miles of illegal gill net about 1,000 yards off South Padre Island, Sunday.

At 11:49 p.m., a good Samaritan on Boca Chica Beach called watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi to report that he saw a small open-top boat deploy fishnet and then depart the area, leaving an orange buoy and flag.

The watchstanders immediately launched a Coast Guard Station South Padre Island 45-foot response boat crew to investigate the area.

The boat crew seized the gill net just 2 miles north of the U.S. and Mexico border.

Seven black-tipped sharks were recovered from the net, three of which were dead. Various other types of fish were also recovered from the net.

“We routinely catch Mexican fisherman illegally fishing in the U.S. waters in vessels that match the description given to us by this beachcomber,” said Capt. Tony Hahn, the commanding officer of Sector Corpus Christi. “We rarely see them using gill nets and fishing so close to the U.S. shoreline. I applaud this person for reporting this to the Coast Guard and helping us protect our vital resources.”

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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