CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Illegal fishing is a big problem in South Texas waters and stopping it is a big mission for the U.S. Coast Guard.
So far this year, Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi has recorded 78 interdictions of illegal fishing boats from Mexico known as lanchas.
The Coast Guard seized 15,484 pounds of catch and detained 208 fishermen.
A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20 to 30 feet long and a slender profile.
They typically have one outboard motor and are capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 mph.
Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Ippolito says, "You don't often think of the Coast Guard and illegal fishing but this is a big part of our mission down here and it's something that we take very seriously both at the air station here, the sector here, and the station. It's important to ensure no one is coming in poaching our resources here."
Lanchas have a history of being used to smuggle people or drugs into the U.S.
These poachers are also said to endanger marine life such as dolphins and protected sea turtles that get caught in their nets.