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Mexican fishermen detained after illegally catching 40 sharks off coast of Texas

Border Protection officers alerted the Coast Guard that the four men were catching sharks in U.S. federal waters near Corpus.
Credit: KHOU 11

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — U.S. Coast Guard crews say they busted four men for illegally fishing for sharks in federal waters Tuesday. 

They seized 40 sharks the boat crew had already caught. Coast Guard crews also confiscated their illegal fishing equipment before turning the four Mexican fishermen over to Border Protection agents.

The Coast Guard said they think the suspects were going to chop off their fins and sell them to people for shark fin soup. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents alerted the Coast Guard when they spotted the boat about seven miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line.

They were in a lancha boat, which is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that can travel at speeds over 30 mph.

Lanchas are often used to transport illegal narcotics to the U.S. and illegally fish in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone near the U.S./Mexico border in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Coast Guard.

If you witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing in state waters -- up to nine miles offshore -- contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s “Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-GAME (4263). 

For all suspicious activity or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters -- out to 200 miles offshore -- please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.

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