Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing in US

Coast Guard law enforcement crews interdicts a Mexican lancha boat crew engaged in illegal fishing in federal waters off southern Texas, Dec. 19, 2017. The lancha, with 357 red snapper and 7 grouper totaling 1,977 lbs, and fishing gear onboard, was seized. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard law enforcement crews interdicts a Mexican lancha boat crew engaged in illegal fishing in federal waters off southern Texas, Dec. 19, 2017.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted a lancha boat crew engaged in illegally fishing in federal waters off southern Texas, Thursday evening.

Coast Guard crews stopped one lancha with a total of four Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing. The lancha, with 357 red snapper and 7 grouper totaling 1,977 lbs, and fishing gear onboard, was seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing.

“The sheer amount of red snapper and other fish populations being poached from U.S. waters is having a devastating environmental and economic impact,” said Cmdr. Keith Pierre, the chief of response at Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “We will continue to staunchly protect our natural resources and sovereignty.”

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

Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi crews have detected 143 lanchas, 31 of which were interdicted, that were north of the U.S./Mexico Maritime Border in 2017.

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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