Coast Guard Interdicts Lancha Crews Illegally Fishing US Waters
This past weekend, the Coast Guard law enforcement crews picked up 5 Mexican lancha boats fishing illegally in federal waters just off the coast of Corpus Christi, TX.
The lancha boats contained 22 Mexican fishermen, fishing gear and an estimated 6,186 pounds of illegal fish. All were seized by Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrews, Coast Guard Station South Padre boat crews, Customs & Border Protection Agency Air and Marine Operations and Homeland Security Investigations personnel. The fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing.
“We protect our at-risk fish populations every day of the year to ensure they are sustainable,” said Lt. Karl Alejandre, a pilot at Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “Illegal fishing was stopped today as a direct result of the dedication and teamwork of Coast Guard surface, air, and shore personnel, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”
Lanchas are the fishing boats used by Mexican fishermen that are approximately 20-30 feet long. These boats are skinny with one outboard motor and are capable of traveling 30+ mph. These boats are frequently used to transport illegal drugs 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. Since the beginning of October, the Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi has intercepted 22 lanchas and interdicted 15 lanchas north of the U.S./Mexico Maritime Border.
Next time you see a member of the Coast Guard, give them a firm handshake and thank them for protecting the fish we love to catch and/or buy them a beer.
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.