Coast Guard Stops Illegal Fishing Near Texas

US Coast Guard crews spotted five lanchas with 22 Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing near Texas.
Coast Guard boat catches up to lancha
The Coast Guard recently stopped five lanchas with 22 Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing near Texas. Courtesy US Coast Guard

The Coast Guard recently detained 22 Mexican citizens for allegedly poaching nearly 600 pounds of red snapper and sharks near the Texas coast.

Boat crews, air crews and the Cutter Jacob Poroo caught the group in five lanchas—speedy, open boats the Coast Guard says are often used for fishing and smuggling—south of Corpus Christi on December 29. Video released by the Coast Guard appears to show one lancha making a run for it, unsuccessfully. Aboard the lanchas were 590 pounds of red snapper and three sharks, along with fishing gear, radios, GPS devices and high flyers.

The Mexican nationals were allegedly fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 miles beyond the 12-mile territorial sea of the United States. Coasties “detained the Mexican fishermen and transferred them to border enforcement agents for processing,” the Coast Guard said in a news release.

“Through our great collective efforts, we continue to detect and deter illegal fishing occurring in southern Texas waters,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Ortega, search and rescue coordinator, Sector Corpus Christi. “Our crews are always ready to protect U.S. waters from foreign intrusion and enforce domestic living marine resource laws.”

Lanchas can run up to 30 mph and “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,” the Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard boat stops lancha
Crews from Station South Padre Island, Sector Corpus Christi, and CG Air Station Corpus Christi were involved in the operation. Courtesy US Coast Guard