CORPUS CHRISTI–The Coast Guard reports seizing three boats called lanchas from Mexico illegally fishing on the United States side of the border in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Friday night around 9:30 pm, a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HU-25 Falcon jet and when the crew spotted a lancha about 20 miles north of South Padre Island.
The Falcon crew alerted Coast Guard Station South Padre Island, requesting help. Station South Padre Island sent a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boat and crew to the location of the lancha.
The crew seized the vessel, which had snapper and shark onboard. The lancha crew was turned over to Customs and Border Protection agents. The catch was released at sea.
In a different incident Friday around 11:30 p.m., Air Station Corpus Christi launched a Falcon jet and crew to respond to another report of lanchas fishing. The Falcon jet crew spotted two lanchas about 40 miles south of Corpus Christi.
The Falcon jet crew called law enforcement crews from Station South Padre Island and directed them to the location of the lanchas. At 2 a.m., Saturday, the crew stopped the two lanchas who were fishing.
The lanchas seized also had snapper and shark onboard. The fishermen were caught by Coast Guard law enforcement crews and turned over to Customs and Border Protection agents. The catch was released at sea.
“This is about protecting and safeguarding our natural resources,” said Lt. Cmdr. Darren Melanson, a Coast Guard law enforcement officer. “The Coast Guard consistently patrols U.S. waters in an effort to maintain security and safety at sea,” he said
The Coast Guard reports illegal fishing is up dramatically compared to the same time last year in the Gulf Mexico, but they don’t why.
For video of these incidents, check it out on this website http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media///main.php?g2_itemId=1102763
–South Texas Tribune, email@example.com