Coast Guard keeping busy stopping illegal fishing
POSTED: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 7:03pm
UPDATED: Monday, March 4, 2013 - 4:31pm
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TX (NEWS CENTER 23) — Mexican fisherman illegally fishing in US waters is a major problem for the US Coast Guard and for the Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Tuesday night the US Coast Guard made a bust and Wednesday morning at the Coast Guard Station on South Padre Island we saw the Texas Game Wardens bringing in Mexican fishing boats.
On board these boats were three Mexican fishermen.
Game Warden Sergeant James Dunks is with the Texas Parks and Wildlife. He says this is something they deal with constantly.
"These boats were from La Playa Baghdad, a fishing community just south of here." said Dunks.
"These are just some of the things that were on the fishing boat as you can see there is a shark and plenty of fish."
"Besides the fish, they had two to three miles of long line which is an illegal fishing device in the Gulf here."
Since the fisherman were in federal waters the case is turned over to the US Coast Guard.
"If we didn't work with the Coast Guard on these the jobs, it would not be done efficiently, our partnership with them and our efforts seems to help out in this matter."
We jumped on board with the Coast Guard to see where these Mexican fishing boats were coming from.
On each mission the Coast Guard crews are always armed for their protection.
"The launchers not only do illegal fishing, they use the boats to run drugs also, it can be either case so we never know what we are going to run into when we are out." said Boatswain's Mate Percival Moore.
We continued our ride and headed several miles offshore.
"Right now we are about six miles south of South Padre Island we are about a mile from Boca Chica Beach right along the Mexico-US border, the US Coast Guard says this is where the Mexican fishing boats come in."
Boatswain's Mate Percival Moore says the fisherman use long lines and gill nets to catch the fish.
"We have pulled up 17 miles up gill net before, 20 miles of long line, they have caught 100 sharks in one set of gill net before anytime they can have 1 fish or they can have 1,000 fish in it, it depends are the day and where the fish are swimming at." said Moore.
The Coast Guard says when they apprehend the fishermen they are questioned and then turned over to Border Patrol.
The Coast Guard says they will keep patrolling and doing their best to keep illegal fishing from happening in US waters.