Texas Game Wardens, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Intercept Lanchas, Seize Illegally-Caught Fish

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CORPUS CHRISTI –Texas Game Wardens, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations intercepted four lancha crews and seized about 1,250 pounds of illegally caught red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico on March 5. A lancha is a motorboat not registered with any country that is about 20-30 feet long with a low profile, an outboard motor and capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 mph.

Boat crews from Coast Guard Station-South Padre Island, CBP Air and Marine Operations and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in coordination with Coast Guard Air Station-Corpus Christi aircrews, located and stopped a total of 19 Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing aboard lanchas north of the U.S. boundary.

"Texas Game Wardens are proud of the partnerships we have with agencies like the USCG and CBP Air and Marine Operations," said Texas Game Warden Captain Chris Dowdy. "Working together as agencies is what makes wins like this possible. We appreciate the help of our local, state and national partners in conserving Texas’ natural resources. The department and our partners are more committed than ever to doing our part in prohibiting the unlawful harvesting and depletion of state resources.”

Game wardens intercepted a lancha containing five people with more than 185 red snapper aboard weighing about 1,000 pounds. This is a violation of the Parks and Wildlife Code that states no unlicensed foreign vessel may take or attempt to take by any means or possess any natural resource of the coastal water of Texas. Additionally, the crew was in U.S. waters without permission and intentionally evaded wardens, resulting in additional federal and state violations.

"Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is crucial to safeguarding our valuable resources and protecting the delicate marine environment," said Chief Petty Officer Glenn Jimenez, command duty officer at Sector Corpus Christi. "We will continue to collaborate closely with our local, state, federal and international partners to ensure the sustainability of our waters and put a stop to these illicit activities."

If you witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing in Texas state waters (from land to 9 miles offshore), please contact Operation Game Thief (OGT) 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 361-939-0450.

The original press release can be viewed here.