Fisherman Says Illegal Fishing a Problem Off Gulf Coast
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND--The U.S Coast Guard caught a lancha, also known as a Mexican fishing boat, with a group of Mexican fishing poachers onboard Saturday night.
Local fishermen said this is nothing new.
"Whenever you go due east, you can always see a couple of them going," said Patrick Murphy.
Patrick Murphy is one of the captains of the Captain Murphy Isla tours and fishing charters.
He said the proximity to Mexico makes it easy for these Mexican fishing poachers to come into our waters.
"You've got Playa Baghdad, which is just 15 miles down the beach and 200 boats out of there. So we see them come across the border quite often," said Murphy.
A lancha fishing boat is usually 20-30 feet long, with one motor, that is capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 miles per hour. It is frequently used to fish illegally in the U.S waters.
The Coast Guard says four Mexican fishermen were on the lancha.
Those four men were detained and taken to border patrol for processing.
The lancha and the equipment onboard were seized.
"We've seen these guys come across all my life, and I've been here 30 years, so it's been an ongoing issue," Murphy said.
Murphy said the Mexican fishing poachers do not obey any rules when it comes to size or amounts of fish they catch.
"They catch whatever they catch. No matter how big, no matter how small, they keep everything," said Murphy.
He said that affects the fishermen here in the U.S.
"Over here, we're trying to preserve our fish and they're over here stealing it all. It's just ridiculous," said Murphy.
"They're actually taking not only our money, but our fish and our whole season. So it's really a big downfall for us," said Murphy.
It's a problem he sees year-round.
Captain Murphy said he knows the Coast Guard is doing everything they can to stop the lanchas.
The Coast Guard has detected 144 lanchas, and caught 31 of those since October of last year.
You can report illegal fishing by calling the Coast Guard at 361-939-6393.