Coast Guard searches for poachers from Mexico stealing fish from U.S. – Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee 2022-05-21 10:35:07 –

At Hooked on Seafood, you can buy red sea bream at a premium price. For fishermen, the delicious fruits of the Gulf of Mexico are like impressive gold.

“Red sea bream is the most popular product in the United States here on this border,” said seafood owner Chris Johnson.

However, its high demand attracts poacher schools across national borders.

“They take our money out of our water and sell it back to us right away, and we pay to do it every day,” Johnson continued.

He is a fish store and fisherman on South Padre Island, Texas. He has been mourning for decades. Illegal fishing from Mexico passes through border waters poaching thousands of red sea breams, sharks and shrimp.

“What’s happening is that more and more sea bream poachers are coming from Baghdad Beach and working in our area … they’ll catch them all the way to Corpus Christi,” Johnson said. rice field.

The United States Coast Guard traverses waters near the border in search of unwelcome visitors in “illegal fishing grounds.”

Launcher, the Spanish word for boats, is a 20-30 foot boat known for being lean, stealth and witty.

“It’s always good to know where your fish are coming from,” said United States Coast Guard Lieutenant Dan Ipporito. “I don’t want to get involved in illegal activities, and that’s another reason I’m trying to stop it here.”

Since October, the Coast Guard patrols in southern Texas have stopped 60 launchers, winding up 58 of them. Over the last three years, they have seized hundreds of people.

Various state and federal agencies have instructed Newsylanchas to connect with drug cartels.

“The boats used to carry drugs are also tied to other cartels,” said Lieutenant Corris Brown of the United States Coast Guard. “Therefore, it is very likely that you will run the drug on the same boat they are using for fishing.”

The seized ship will eventually arrive at the station’s Launcher Cemetery. If not claimed by the Mexican authorities, it will be destroyed.

“The color is white and the interior is blue,” said Ipporito. “Because it melts into the ocean, it’s very difficult to detect on the water. From above, it’s hard to see that it’s melting into the waves.”

The lower boat requires an aerial patrol to turn up.

The mission system operator uses a camera mounted on the plane to call it when he sees an illegal fishery.

“When we take off here, we detect them with radar and then use other systems like cameras to identify them,” said Blair Doten, US Coast Guard Senior Sergeant. Told.

Finding a launcher can be frustrating, as the fishermen are deported and often return to the water quickly when the Coast Guard or state game guards catch the launcher.

“We get the criminal repeatedly in multiple accusations, previous accusations. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see someone who has done this 6 or 7 times been caught 6 or 7 times. How many times did you do it without being caught? ”Daudi continued.

Launchers not only steal and deplete US fish stocks, but also use destructive and illegal gill nets and long line hooks to drag everything.

“Sea turtles were caught in the net and I saw a lot of sharks and red breams. I found a dolphin before. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I rescued a dolphin that was all tied to the net. “Ipporito said.

“It’s not fair to any of us, and our industry suffers the most,” said Andrea Hans of the Texas Shrimp Association.

In February, the federal government gave Mexican fisheries executives a negative designation. It prohibits legitimate Mexican fishing activities from docking in US ports.

“And obviously, in terms of commerce, it affects our port at the port of Brownsville, because they come in and spend a lot of money on fuel, supplies, etc.,” Hans said. Said.

According to law enforcement and environmental advocates, it hurts, but the cost of doing nothing is too high.

“These types of gear are not available in the state because they are known to mean overfishing to the point of depopulation,” said Gary Glick and Friends of Rio Grande Reef.

Often, the same fish are poached from the Texas coastal waters, brought to Mexico, reimported and sold to the US market. The federal government counts millions of pounds of sea bream imported from Mexico each year. It ranks things like Chris Johnson.

“The worst thing that happened to them was that they were just sent back, got another launcher, and they tried it again, so they don’t care if they get caught,” Johnson said. rice field.

The faint light of hope in all this is the effort of a group called Friends of the Rio Grande Reef. Over the last six years, they have raised funds and built artificial reefs in the area. In many cases, concrete recycling and abandoned fishing vessels are used.

A truly destructive part of poaching destroys natural reef habitats, and deep-sea hooks culling the spawning age. Adult red sea bream is very large and valuable.

Artificial reefs act as an alternative, and fish evacuating to artificial reefs can breed as long as they do not attract poachers.

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