Coast Guard cutter catches 2 more shrimping in closed waters
HOUSTON — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heron seized the catch of two more boats Monday, from people shrimping in closed waters off the Texas coast.
Wednesday the Heron's crew observed crews aboard three boats shrimping in the closed area. Along with the National Marine Fisheries Service, they seized most of the catch Wednesday, which brought in a fair market value of more than $47,000. Monday's seizure of nearly 15,000 pounds of shrimp, bringing in an additional $22,000, makes a total of more than $69,000 seized in the last week.
NMFS, which is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, sells the catch at a fair market value and 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.
"Again, working alongside the National Marine Fisheries Service, we were able to enforce the Texas shrimp closure area designed to prevent over fishing and depletion of resource stocks," said Cmdr. Richard Howes, chief response officer for Sector Houston-Galveston. "The Coast Guard will continue to enforce the protection of our nation's natural resources from those who would brazenly violate in place laws and regulations."
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.
See the previous release: Coast Guard seizes shrimp caught in closed shrimping area