A patrolling Coast Guard aircrew spotted, pursued and compelled a lancha across the U.S./Mexican border, Friday, after the lancha was spotted poaching in U.S waters.
At 2:30 p.m., a Coast Guard aircrew aboard an HU-25 Falcon aircraft spotted the 25-foot lancha fishing 45 miles offshore of Port Isabel and 7 miles north of the U.S./Mexican border.
The aircrew immediately notified Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi, and pursued the vessel south, forcing it across the border. The Coast Guard Cutter Cobia, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat, also pursued the lancha, but was unable to intercept it. The Cobia is currently searching for any longline gear the lancha may have laid.
The Coast Guard is continuing its efforts in conjunction with Operation Sea Serpent. Operation Sea Serpent is a joint law enforcement operation aimed at stopping Transnational Criminal Organizations from using maritime routes for illicit activity and to protect our living marine resources national assets from exploitation.
The Coast Guard has seized 25 lanchas suspected of illegally poaching in U.S. waters and compelled another 31 lanchas back south across the U.S./Mexican border since Oct. 1, 2013.
If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact Texas Parks & 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 United States Coast Guard at 361-939-6393.