Coast Guard chases illegal Mexican fishers in the Gulf, failure to fund port state treaty hurts response
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SCOM] August 28, 2014
The first week in August, Coast Guard crews out of Corpus Chrisi, Texas intercepted and seized a Mexican boat and crew illegally fishing in U.S. waters, gathered approximately 17 miles of long line and seized more than 500 fish, and participated in several risky high-speed chases of vessels trying to evade Coast Guard crews.
To address growing IUU fishing in the Gulf by Mexican vessels on US waters, a meeting was held in Galveston August 18th, hosted by the Gulf Coast Leadership Conference.
U.S. Representative Randy Weber (R-TX) said foreign illegal fishing in the Gulf “is an extremely important topic. Those who don’t play by the rules…take advantage of our fishing industry. ” Weber added that more can – and should – be done to “level that playing field and shut down all these illegal activities. ”
Aside from the theft of the fish, so-called pirate fishers show stark disregard for the marine environment, often by setting miles-long nets or lines that indiscriminately kill marine life, including endangered turtles and other imperiled species.
Will Ward, CEO of Captain’s Finest Seafood in Clearwater, Fla., and a member of the Board of Directors for the Gulf Fishermen’s Association, said, “I have visited extensively with business owners, recreational and commercial fisherman, and concerned citizens in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Everyone that I have spoken to is deeply troubled by the ongoing and chronic problem of foreign vessels engaging in illegal fishing. It is hard to grasp the impact this has had on our communities and our economy in the Gulf,..Full Story »