Editor's Note: Click on images to download high-resolution version.
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard interdicted two lancha crews and seized 480 pounds of illegally caught fish in federal waters off southern Texas, Thursday.
Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi command center watchstanders received a notification from a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrew of lancha crews engaged in illegal fishing approximately 6 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line.
A Coast Guard Station South Padre Island 33-foot Special Purpose Craft–Law Enforcement crew launched while the Coast Guard Cutter Edgar Culbertson crew diverted to intercept the lanchas. The SPC–LE crew and a 26-foot over-the-horizon cutter boatcrew from the Culbertson arrived on scene and subsequently seized two lanchas with fishing gear, a GPS and a combined 480 pounds of red snapper onboard.
The Coast Guard crews detained the nine Mexican fishermen and transferred them to border enforcement agents for processing.
"The Coast Guard serves a critical role in protecting the nation's natural resources,” said Lt. Derek Petty, commanding officer of the cutter Edgar Culbertson. "With robust partnerships between Station South Padre Island, Air Station Corpus Christi, and other partner agencies, we are able to effectivity enforce and prevent illegal fishing in U.S. 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 border in the Gulf of Mexico.
If you witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing out to 200 miles offshore, please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.
For more information follow us on Facebook and Twitter.