Coast Guard interdicts lancha crews illegally fishing US waters

33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement file photo

33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement file photo

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

Coast Guard crews consisting of air support, a small boat crew, and two cutters stopped the lanchas approximately 20 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line. A total of 15 lanchamen were engaged in illegal fishing. Four miles of longline gear, illegal fishing equipment, as well as 800 lbs of illegally-caught Red Snapper were seized.

“The recent uptick in illegal fishing has been met by our vigilant Coast Guard crews on land, sea, and air,” said Lt. Kurtis Mees, Coast Guard Station South Padre Island commanding officer. “A continued priority of ours is the interdiction and deterrence of illegal fishing.”

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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