Coast Guard interdicts 5 lancha crews illegally fishing US waters

The Coast Guard Daniel Tarr at Sector Field Office Galveston, Texas. U.S. Coast Guard file photo by Sector Houston-Galveston Drone Team.

The Coast Guard Daniel Tarr at Sector Field Office Galveston, Texas. U.S. Coast Guard file photo by Sector Houston-Galveston Drone Team.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Multiple Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted five Mexican lancha boat crews engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities in federal waters off the coast of southern Texas, Dec. 23, 2021.

Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi aircrews in coordination with crews from Coast Guard Cutter Daniel Tarr and Station South Padre Island located and stopped five lanchas approximately three miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line. A total of 23 lanchamen were suspected of engaging in illegal fishing. Twelve miles of longline gear, illegal fishing equipment and five lanchas were seized.

“Thanks to the incredible coordination between multiple Coast Guard units, we are able to continue working towards safeguarding our country’s critical marine resources,” said Lt. Alexis Williams, Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi command duty officer.

A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20-30 feet long with a slender profile, has one outboard motor, and is capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 mph. Lanchas are frequently used to transport illegal narcotics to the U.S. and illegally fish in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone near the U.S./Mexico border in the Gulf of Mexico.

If you witness suspicious activity 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 activity or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.

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