Mexican Fishing Crew
U.S. Coast Guard Heartland

Coast Guard Seizes 590 Pounds of Red Snapper From Mexican Fishing Crews

The U.S. Coast Guard finished out 2022 with a major fish poaching bust of five lancha boat crews caught illegally harvesting fish in Texas waters near Corpus Christi. The Coast Guard announced the arrests of 22 people from Mexico in a news release.

The busts were part of a group effort on Dec. 22. The Coast Guard says the crew from the cutter named The Jacob Poroo participated in the operation. They were also supported by watchstanders in Corpus Christi and the Corpus Christi air crews. Authorities also released thermal imaging video taken of at least one of the boats, which authorities say harvested at least three sharks and 590 pounds of red snapper, all of which was seized by the Coast Guard. All of the boats had been fishing in waters that are part of the United States' Exclusive Economic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Lancha boats are small crafts, usually 20-30 feet long, that use a single outboard motor and are frequently used for fishing in Mexico. Authorities promptly arrested the 22 fishermen who crewed the boats and turned them over to the border patrol.

Along with the seized fish and boats, authorities confiscated other fishing gear, radios, and GPS units from the lancha boats. Authorities say these types of vessels sometimes are also used to smuggle narcotics into the United States.

Busts of Mexican fishing crews illegally taking red snapper are a somewhat common occurrence for Coast Guard crews in the area, although this bust confiscated slightly more fish than usual. Authorities are publicizing this incident as a reminder to citizens to look out for illegal fishing activity in Texas waters.

"Through our collective efforts, we continue to detect and deter illegal fishing occurring in southern Texas waters," Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Ortega said in the news release. "Our crews are always ready to protect U.S. waters from foreign intrusion and enforce domestic living marine resource laws."

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram. For original videos, check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels