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U.S. and Mexican coast guard reports increase in illegal fishing on both sides of the border

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Mexican Navy Captain Carlos Ruiz oversees fishing rights on Mexican waters. 

Ruiz says all fishermen in Mexico should have registered boats and a fishing license, but he’s noticed a problem in the last few years.

“There were delays in trying to get fishing permits,” Ruiz explained. “We would come across fishermen that had an expired license.” 

It's something the U.S. Coast Guard say they’ve also noticed. 

U.S. Coast Guard Captain James Bruce said his team trained dozens of inspectors in Mexico on illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries — which they call IUUF.

“IUUF fishing really has replaced piracy as the leading global maritime security threat,” Bruce said. 

Coast guard data shows an uptick in detected illegal fishing boats during the pandemic.

In 2019, 200 illegal fishing boats were reported.

That number jumped to 329 in 2020.

Detections don't always lead to fishermen being caught.

When they are caught, the boats and what they caught are seized and the fishermen are deported.

Watch the video above for the full story.

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