Coast Guard interdicts lancha crews illegally fishing US waters

Coast Guard Cutter Jacob Poroo file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lexie Preston.

Coast Guard Cutter Jacob Poroo file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lexie Preston.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — 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 Jan. 14.

Coast Guard crews consisting of air support, two small boat crews, and the Coast Guard Cutter Jacob Poroo crew stopped three lanchas approximately 13 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line with 12 fishermen engaged in illegal fishing and seized approximately 1,200 pounds of Red Snapper and shark as well as illegal fishing equipment.

“These successful interdictions demonstrated our air, boat, and cutter crews’ outstanding ability to coordinate an effective response to this affront on our maritime sovereignty,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joe Prado, the enforcement officer for Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “Fortunately, we were able to stop these vessels before they returned to Mexico and were able to profit from more than a thousand pounds of illegal catch.”

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 board 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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