Coast Guard seizes two boats illegally fishing near Corpus Christi

USCG File Photo

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard seized two Mexican boats believed to be illegally fishing in U.S. waters Sunday.

A watchstander at Coast Guard Station South Padre Island received a call from a good samaritan working on an offshore rig late Sunday evening, reporting three small vessels actively fishing approximately 50 yards from the rig.

The Coast Guard launched two 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement boats and crews from Station South Padre Island and a HU-25 Falcon jet from Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi. The Falcon spotted the vessels and directed the Coast Guard small boats to the fishing boats. One of the three boats made it back into Mexican waters, while the remaining two were intercepted by the Coast Guard small boats. Additionally, Customs and Border Protection launched an asset and crew.

Both fishing boats had several fish and sharks onboard. The Coast Guard apprehended eight crewmembers from the boats, who were handed over to Border Patrol officers at approximately 1 a.m., Monday.

“Historically, in January we see an increase of border activity, but we have already seen almost double this month than we had this time last year,” said LCDR Darren Melanson, a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Officer. “Tips from good samaritans are so helpful because it increases our awareness of what is out there.”

The fishermen who were apprehended abandoned their lines after spotting Coast Guard assets, and Coast Guard would like to remind boaters of the thousands of feet of abandoned fishing lines and the potential hazard it presents.

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