Coast Guard seizes Mexican fishing boat and miles of illegally set long line fishing gear

Coast Guard crews in South Padre Island seized a Mexican fishing boat and miles of illegally set long line fishing gear in the waters off South Texas waters March 23, 2014. In addition to the 40 red snapper on that seizure, the Coast Guard Cutter Heron recovered 4 miles of illegally set long line fishing gear with 19 red snapper, 23 shark, three eel, one stingray and one cobia the same morning. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard crews in South Padre Island seized a Mexican fishing boat and miles of illegally set long line fishing gear in the waters off South Texas waters March 23, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard seized a Mexican fishing boat and miles of illegally set long line fishing gear in the waters off South Texas waters Monday morning.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., the Coast Guard Cutter Heron spotted a Mexican fishing boat, also known as a lancha, approximately 5.5 miles north of the U.S./Mexico maritime border and 30 miles offshore.

Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders launched a Coast Guard Station South Padre Island 33-foot law enforcement boat to assist with the interdiction. The crew of five Mexican nationals admitted to fishing illegally in U.S. waters and had possession of five sets of illegal long line fishing gear aboard, with 40 red snapper.

Later, at approximately 9 a.m., the Heron recovered 4 miles of illegally set long line fishing gear with 19 red snapper, 23 shark, three eel, one stingray and one cobia 29 miles offshore and 14 miles north of the maritime border.

In the last week, there have been eight lanchas intercepted, three seized and approximately 10 miles of recovered illegally set long line fishing gear.

“The eleven missions assigned by our Congress to the U.S. Coast Guard can be summed up by how we respond to security threats on the seas, how we save those in danger upon the seas and how we protect the sea itself. The Mexican lancha threat on the southwest maritime border cuts across all three of these mission areas and it is why we are concentrating our efforts to stop it,” said Cmdr. Daniel Deptula, the response officer at Sector Corpus Christi.

If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact Texas Parks and Wildlife “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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