3 miles of illegal long line seized by South Texas Coast Guard crews

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard crews seized a total of approximately 3 miles of long line fishing gear set by multiple Mexican fishermen operating illegally in U.S. waters over the past twenty-four hours.

Friday night, Coast Guard Cutter Amberjack sighted multiple vessels moving at a high rate of speed southwards the maritime border. Unable to interdict the vessels, Amberjack returned to the vicinity of initial sighting, where crewmembers removed 700 yards of long line gear and recovered an additional 4,400 yards Saturday morning. The majority of the gear was found approximately 35 miles off the coast of South Texas.

Each mile of long line has scores of baited hooks and is capable of catching hundreds of fish per mile set. The seized lines contained 175 red snapper, 16 sharks, 3 stingrays and several other reef fish. Approximately 170 of these fish were found alive and released at sea.

“The quick actions by the Amberjack crew insured the live release of over 1400 pounds of red snapper and other species.” said Cmdr. Daniel Deptula, response officer at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi. “Continued Mexican lancha vessel incursions constitute a direct and persistent challenge to our sensitive natural resources, carefully calculated fisheries management efforts, our local commercial fisherman’s livelihood and the recreational fishing communities of South Texas.”

The Coast Guard estimates over 1,100 annual incursions into US waters by the lanchas, poaching upwards of 760,000 pounds of red snapper each year.

The Coast Guard partners with several federal and state agencies to combat illegal fishing in South Texas. If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to nine miles offshore), please contact Texas Parks & 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 United States Coast Guard at 361-939-6393.

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