OCTOBER 05, 2016
CHANNEL 5 NEWS
A recent study by the U.S. Coast Guard states hundreds of thousands of pounds of red snapper is taken illegally out of the waters by Mexican fishermen. U.S. fisherman Stephen Murphy said he knows they are after the red snapper.
“You’re out there fishing and you look a mile away… It’s pretty obvious there’s a Mexican in a commercial boat out there with their long lines and gill nets bringing in thousands of pounds of fish,” he said. Murphy said the fishermen also use illegal catching nets. He said there needs to be more done to protect the fish. “There’s nobody out there patrolling… They can go out and fish for one night and get a thousand pounds of snapper,” he said. “(They’re) selling it for almost eight thousand dollars.”
The U.S. Coast Guard said they patrol by boat and air to stop the loss of red snapper. They said the Mexican fishermen’s actions can hurt the economy and local fishermen. South Padre Island U.S. Coast Guard’s Lt. Commander Michael Bell, who also coordinates the affective patrolling, said around 215 pounds of red snapper were caught on-board a captured vessel this past Sunday. Bell said there was a slight uptick in vessel seizures this past fiscal year. He said 42 Mexican vessels were seized in 2016 and 35 in 2015.
“Those fishermen are taking out more fish than what commercial fisheries and recreational fisheries take out of the Gulf,” said Lt. Commander Bell. Murphy said it’s frustrating to see it happening. “I think the U.S. should do more to beef up the borders and give us back some of our fishing, like we used to fish,” he said. Murphy said he wants to see those days of having plenty of fish to catch.