CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (WVUE) - The U.S. Coast Guard announced that members of a patrol in the Gulf of Mexico freed 50 living sharks and two tripletail on Tuesday from an illegal longline gear and gill net that was found about 400 yards offshore.
Five dead sharks were also caught in the illegal fishing gear near South Padre Island, Texas.
At 10:10 a.m., a Station South Padre Island patrol boat crew spotted four Mexican fishing boats 800 yards north of the U.S.-Mexico maritime boundary line.
Upon the Coast Guard's approach, investigators say they fled south of the maritime boundary line and the crew located the fishing gear left behind.
"The Coast Guard is absolutely invested and engaged daily in combating the intense illegal fishing by Mexican fisherman in U.S. waters," said Capt. Tony Hahn, the commander of Sector Corpus Christi. "This requires our personnel to spend countless hours at sea to stop this indiscriminate violation of fisheries law and U.S. sovereignty. We sincerely appreciate any reports or information that can lead to stopping this criminal activity."
If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's "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.