More red snapper poachers — Estimates put illegal catch at 760,000 pounds annually

Written by U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard interdicted a Mexican fishing crew in the waters off South Texas with approximately 475 pounds of illegally caught red snapper, Sunday afternoon.

While on a routine patrol, a Coast Guard Station South Padre Island 33-foot law enforcement boatcrew sighted a Mexican fishing boat, also known as a lancha, approximately two miles north of the U.S./Mexico maritime border and 16 miles from shore.

The crew of four Mexican nationals admitted to fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. The crew’s catch consisted of 133 red snapper.

The Coast Guard estimates over 1,100 annual lancha incursions into U.S. regulated waters, taking upwards of 760,000 pounds of red snapper each year.

The boatcrew towed the lancha to Coast Guard Station South Padre Island. All persons were turned over to Customs and Border Protection.

“Poaching within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone harms our natural resources and negatively impacts the U.S. commercial fishing industry, as well as recreational fisherman,” said Lt. Mike Bell, commanding officer, Station South Padre Island. “One of our missions along the border is to stop illegal poaching activities. That mission is essential in protecting our natural resources and the sovereignty of the U.S.”