Five Unauthorized Fishing Vessels Intercepted Near Texas

Boat with US Coast Guard painted on hull
Updated Published

In an exceptional demonstration of vigilance, the U.S. Coast Guard, in collaboration with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), achieved a significant feat off the Texas coastline. The operation on Saturday resulted in the interception of five Mexican lanchas fishing unlawfully in U.S. territorial waters. The operation culminated in the seizure of over a ton of illegally caught fish.

Addressing the severity of the issue, Coast Guard Capt. Hans Govertsen, commander at Air Station Corpus Christi, stated, “Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing depletes our precious natural resources, disrupts our economy and threatens the marine environment.” He highlighted the essential role of cooperation among local, state, federal, and international agencies in curbing these unlawful activities.

The operation unfolded when Coast Guard units from Station South Padre Island apprehended four lanchas with 16 crew members just beyond the U.S. exclusive economic zone's boundary. Following their detention, the crew and their catch were turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Concurrently, an aircrew from Air Station Corpus Christi, in coordination with the Coast Guard team, identified an additional illegal fishing operation. This led to the capture of the fifth vessel by a TPWD boat crew.

Together, the game wardens and the Coast Guard managed to seize a total of 2,640 pounds of illegally caught red snapper.

The lanchas, generally about 30 feet in length with a single outboard motor and a speed capability of around 25 knots, are often used for dual purposes, including narcotics smuggling. It is believed that their operations are funded by the Gulf Cartel, which has the resources to offset the costs associated with the seizure of boats and equipment.