Coast Guard intercepts Mexicans poaching South Texas waters

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Coast Guard interdicted a Mexican fishing crew poaching in South Texas Monday morning.

At approximately 10 a.m. Monday, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi sighted a Mexican fishing boat, also known as a lancha, 29 miles offshore of South Padre Island and 1 mile north of the United States/Mexico maritime border with fishing gear and bait fish on board.

The aircrew notified Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders, who diverted a Coast Guard Station South Padre Island boatcrew aboard a 33-foot law enforcement boat. After a 9-mile pursuit, the boatcrew stopped the lancha with four people, baitfish and longline gear aboard. All persons and confiscated gear were turned over to Customs and Border Protection.

Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have detected 78 lanchas, all of which were suspected of poaching in U.S. waters. The Coast Guard has interdicted eight of them.

“All of our state and federal boats and aircraft work in a coordinated effort to combat illegal fishing along the United States/Mexico maritime border,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Allen, chief of law enforcement for 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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