HOUSTON — Crews from three boats turned their total catch of 16,431 pounds of shrimp over to the Coast Guard early Tuesday. The Coast Guard Cutter Heron observed the vessels actively shrimping in closed waters approximately 90 miles from Galveston.
The Coast Guard transferred the catch over to officials from the National Marine Fisheries Service in Port Arthur, Wednesday. NMFS, which is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, sold the catch at a fair market value of approximately $47,322.00. The NMFS holds the proceeds from the sale in an escrow account until final adjudication of the case.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department closes Gulf Coast shrimping each year in state waters to allow the shrimp to grow to a more valuable size and to protect overfishing of the species. NMFS extends the Texas closure beyond state waters and out to 200 nautical miles.
"Working with our partners, like the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the Coast Guard will continue to enforce laws that protect and support the fishing industry," Said Capt. Ed Cubanski, incident management branch chief for the 8th Coast Guard District. "This $24 billion industry is one of our nation's largest natural resources and vital to our economy."
The Coast Guard forwarded the evidence package for this seizure to NMFS who will formally investigate to determine whether the vessels violated the shrimping closure.
The Heron is an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat homeported in Sabine Pass, Texas.