Almost a month after 19 fishermen from Mexico were caught with over 1250 pounds of red snapper and detained by federal officials, the U.S. Coast Guard seized approximately 400 pounds of illegally caught red snapper from four Mexican fishermen on April 4.

In the Coast Guard news release, they stated that a crew of a boat from South Padre Island and air crews from Corpus Christi stopped the men fishing aboard a low-profile 45’ motorboat called a lancha, just 15 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line.

The Coast Guard also seized fishing gear and highflyers before turning the crew over to border enforcement agents for processing.

“Our success countering illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing stems directly from effective teamwork between Air Station Corpus Christi and South Padre Island,” stated Lt. Shane Gunderson in the release. “We will continue working together to eradicate this threat.”

According to NOAA Fisheries, commercial landings of red snapper totaled approximately 7.3 million pounds in 2022 and were valued at $35 million. Commercial fishermen typically harvest the species using hook-and-line gear, but sometimes, longlines and spears are used in the Gulf of Mexico. Some regulations prohibit fishing in certain areas of the Gulf to protect populations and other marine habitats.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing can significantly harm the marine environment. In the March seizure of illegally caught snapper, Chief Petty Officer Glenn Jimenez of Texas Parks and Wildlife stated, “Combating illegal, unregulated fishing is crucial to safeguarding our valuable resources and protecting the delicate marine environment.”

Wild-caught red snapper has been considered a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed under rebuilding plans that allow the U.S. to harvest in limited quantities. To protect the fishery and natural resources, law enforcement will continue to investigate illegal harvests and monitor the waters bordering Mexico.  

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Carli is a Content Specialist for National Fisherman. She comes from a fourth-generation fishing family off the coast of Maine. Her background consists of growing her own business within the marine community. She resides on one of the islands off the coast of Maine while also supporting the lobster community she grew up in.

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