Coast Guard interdicts lancha crews illegally fishing US waters

Coast Guard Station South Padre Island 33-Foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement file photo by PA2 Adam Eggers.

Coast Guard Station South Padre Island 33-Foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement file photo by PA2 Adam Eggers.

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 Wednesday.

Coast Guard crews, consisting of air support and two boat crews, stopped three lanchas approximately 50 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line with 12 fishermen engaged in illegal fishing and seized approximately 1,550 pounds of Red Snapper and a shark, as well as illegal fishing equipment.

“These interdictions are a great demonstration of the collective team efforts between the Coast Guard and our Texas Parks and Wildlife partners to protect our marine resources,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dan Ippolito, Station South Padre Island commanding officer. “We remain committed to defending against illegal poaching in our waters.”

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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