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Coast Guard interdicts lancha crews illegally fishing in US

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted two lancha boats with Mexican crews engaged in illegal fishing in federal waters off southern Texas over the past two weeks. 

Coast Guard crews stopped one lancha with a total of four Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing Dec. 30, 2017. The lancha, with fishing gear onboard, was seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing. 

Coast Guard crews stopped one lancha with a total of four Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing Jan. 4, 2018. The lancha, three sharks, 10 red snapper fish and fishing gear was seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing. 

“Our crews did some amazing work in some very hard conditions, ensuring this devastating illegal poaching by Mexican Lancha crews does not go unchallenged,” said Capt. Tony Hahn, Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi commander. “The Coast Guard will continue to challenge and interdict all the detrimental poaching on our waters to stem the critical depletion of our already scarce fishery stocks.”

A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20-30 ft long with a slender profile, typically has 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 fish illegally in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone near the U.S./Mexico border in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi has detected 21 lanchas, 14 of which were interdicted, that were north of the U.S./Mexico Maritime Border since Sept. 1, 2017.

If you witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s “Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-GAME (4263). For all suspicious activity or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-6393.

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