U.S. Coast Guard officials have intercepted a group of Mexican fishermen and seized a haul of 16 sharks and 45 snapper after a 40 minute chase in 4 foot seas off South Padre Island.

The boat was one of five spotted fishing illegally in U.S. waters north of the Mexican border, the Coast Guard said. Four others escaped.

An Ocean Sentry airplane first spotted two boats near the U.S./Mexico maritime border 30 miles from shore. Three further fishing vessels were sighted 42 miles from South Padre Island.

A Coast Guard Cutter Amberjack patrol boat was deployed with helicopter support.  After a 40-minute chase crews succeeded in boarding one vessel.  The crew admitted illegal fishing according to a Coast Guard news release.

Over 500 pounds of fish were seized; 16 small sharks weighing 231 pounds and 45 snapper weighing 378 pounds.