Coast Guard boatcrews seize 2 lanchas, 700 pounds of catch
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Boatcrews from Coast Guard Station South Padre Island seized two lanchas and detained eight Mexican nationals caught illegally fishing in U.S. waters, Thursday, in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.
The captain of a charter fishing boat contacted Station South Padre at 7 a.m., to report that a lancha was spotted retrieving fishing gear from the water 10 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border. Station South Padre launched a boatcrew aboard a 33-foot Law Enforcement Special Purpose Craft to confirm the report.
Once on scene, the crew was able to determine that the four Mexican nationals onboard had been fishing illegally, having caught approximately 250 pounds of snapper and 300 pounds of shark.
Another charter fishing crew spotted and reported that a second lancha was seen illegally fishing at 12 p.m. Station Padre Island launched another boatcrew and detained another three Mexican nationals and seized 150 pounds of snapper.
The seven Mexican nationals were turned over to Customs and Border Protection agents for repatriation, the vessels were seized and the catch was disposed of at sea.
"Unfortunately, illegal fishing incursions are not uncommon to our area of responsibility," said Lt. Joshua Sagers, commanding officer of Station South Padre. "However, we are committed to protecting the marine resources of the U.S. in the offshore region, along the international border."
"We greatly appreciate the cooperation from the commercial fishing fleets for calling the Coast Guard today," said Cmdr. Daniel Deptula, chief of response for Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi. "That initial call allowed us to get on scene quickly and respond to these incursions. This was a joint effort. Together we can protect the fish that America depends on."