(WVUE) - U.S. Coast Guard officials say guards caught a Mexican fishing crew in the waters off South Texas with about 475 pounds of illegally caught red snapper on Sunday.
According to a press release, a 33-foot law enforcement boat crew saw the fishing boat about 2 miles north of the U.S./Mexico maritime border and about 16 miles from shore. The four Mexican nationals reportedly admitted to fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. They had caught 133 red snapper. Coast Guard agents towed the boat to the Coast Guard Station South Padre Island, and handed the four Mexican nationals to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Lt. Mike Bell, commanding officer at Station South Padre Island says poaching within U.S. waters has a negative impact on the U.S. commercial fishing industry.
"One of our missions along the border is to stop illegal poaching activities," said Bell. "That mission is essential in protecting our natural resources and the sovereignty of the U.S."
The Coast Guard estimates more than 1,100 Mexican fishing boats snatch up to 760,000 pounds of red snapper each year.