Anyone who fishes on a regular basis in Texas, or in East Texas, knows you have to make sure your fishing license is up to date. If not, the game warden will write you a ticket. Yes, it's frustrating to have to do it but it has to be done. If you want to do some fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, you have to have a fishing license to do so that include designations for saltwater fishing. There are also limits on what can be caught.

Illegal Fishing in the Gulf

The United States Coast Guard recently arrested four Mexican nationals and seized 440 pounds of illegally caught fish while in federal waters. The fishermen were in a lancha, a 20-30 foot long boat with a single outboard motor that is used for fishing but also for drug smuggling. The Coast Guard was able to seize 440 pounds of red snapper, one shark, fishing gear and high flyers that were all on board the lancha. The fishermen were brought ashore and transferred to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for further processing.

United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard

A Coast Guard Station South Padre Island boat crew worked with Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrews to locate and stop the illegal fishing. The four men were fishing about 12 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line. When the Coast Guard crew caught up to the lancha, it began rapidly taking on water. The fishermen were removed from the lancha to ensure their safety.

The Coast Guard, along with our Department of Homeland Security, state and local partners, is dedicated to protecting the natural resources in our sovereign waters. All partners have been working in concert to identify, track and interdict illegal fishing ventures that originate in Mexico with the support of transnational criminal organizations. If it were not for the dedicated women and men of Station South Padre Island, Air and Marine Operations, and Texas Parks and Wildlife, we would not be able to protect our precious natural resources from these illegal fishermen. - Capt. Hans Govertsen, commanding officer, Air Station Corpus Christi.

United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard

Ongoing Problem

This has become an ongoing problem for the United States Coast Guard. If you are in the gulf and witness what appears to be illegal fishing, or any other suspicious activity in federal waters, within 200 miles of the shore, please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.

Read the full press from the United States Coast Guard HERE and learn more about the license needed and restrictions for saltwater fishing at

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