Error message

Deprecated function: Array and string offset access syntax with curly braces is deprecated in include_once() (line 14 of /homepages/36/d901120085/htdocs/

Coast Guard engages multiple lanchas in several high-speed pursuits

March 15, 2015
Air Station Corpus Christi and Station South Padre Island chase down a lancha fishing illegally in U.S. waters March 13, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard video by Air Station Corpus Christi.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard crews pursued four separate Mexican fishing crews in the waters off South Texas for more than 3 hours Friday morning.

At approximately 9 a.m., an Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew alerted Sector Corpus Christiwatchstanders of a Mexican fishing boat, also known as a lancha, poaching fish approximately 5 miles north of the U.S./Mexico maritime border and 33 miles from shore. The helicopter pursued the lancha north for 38 minutes and directed a boatcrew aboard a Station South Padre Island 45-foot small boat to interdict it. After a short pursuit by the boatcrew, the lancha stopped. The crew of four Mexican nationals admitted to fishing illegally in U.S. waters.

“There was significant illicit activity along the U.S./Mexico maritime border today," said Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Allen, the chief of enforcement at Sector Corpus Christi. "We are committed to protecting our living marine resources in U.S. waters from this organized network."

Between midnight and 7 a.m., the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Manatee engaged in three other high speed pursuits with poaching lanchas. All three cases involved the coordination of assets from Station South Padre Island, Air Station Corpus Christi and the Manatee. In each instance, the lanchas were sighted illegally fishing in U.S. waters and managed to slip away across the maritime border after lengthy chases. 

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

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