Coast Guard interdicts lancha crews illegally fishing US waters

A launch crew is escorted by Coast Guard law enforcement crews after being interdicted while engaged in illegal fishing in federal waters off the coast of southern Texas April 6, 2020. Twelve miles of longline gear, illegal fishing equipment, as well as 2,020 lbs of illegally-caught Red Snapper were seized. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A launch crew is escorted by Coast Guard law enforcement crews after being interdicted while engaged in illegal fishing in federal waters off the coast of southern Texas April 6, 2020.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Multiple Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted three Mexican lancha boat crews engaged in illegal fishing in federal waters off the coast of southern Texas Monday.

Coast Guard crews consisting of air support, a small boat crew, and a cutter stopped three lanchas approximately 50 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line where a total of thirteen lanchamen were engaged in illegal fishing. Twelve miles of longline gear, illegal fishing equipment, as well as 2,020 lbs of illegally-caught Red Snapper were seized.

“The Coast Guard’s continued commitment to protecting wildlife and deterring illegal fishing is highlighted in this case,” said Chief Warrant Officer Homar Barrera, Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi command duty officer. “The teamwork between the command center and assets on scene resulted in the flawless execution of multiple interdictions.”

A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20-30 feet long with a slender profile, having 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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