Coast Guard seizes more than 3,000 pounds of shark, snapper from multiple lanchas in Gulf of Mexico

This is a panoramic photo of Station South Padre Island and local cutters near sharks and red snapper seized from illegal fishermen in Gulf Coast waters, Jan. 8, 2016. A total of 44 sharks and 99 red snapper weighing 3,249 pounds were taken off of three lanchas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Station South Padre Island)

This is a panoramic photo of Station South Padre Island and local cutters near sharks and red snapper seized from illegal fishermen in Gulf Coast waters, Jan. 8, 2016.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Station South Padre Island)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard seized 3,249 pounds of illegal catch from three Mexican fishing boats poaching in waters off South Padre Island early Friday morning.

At approximately 12:50 a.m., Coast Guard boat crews sighted three Mexican fishing boats, two about 35 miles north of the maritime boundary line and one off the South Padre Island jetties.

The lanchas were stopped and the confiscated catch totaled 44 sharks and 99 red snapper. Two of the lanchas had four Mexican Nationals on each boat and the other had three.

“Fishermen are coming into U.S. waters and depleting our natural resources by illegally fishing. Using gillnets and long-line fishing gear, they are stealing tons of fish out from under law abiding recreational and commercial fishermen,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Bell, the commanding officer of Station South Padre Island.

The 11 Mexican nationals were transferred to Coast Guard Station South Padre Island for processing.

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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