The Coast Guard intercepted a Mexican vessel illegally fishing in U.S. waters and seized 40 captured sharks.
A Coast Guard command center in Corpus Christi, Texas, received a report this week from U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel of four Mexican nationals fishing seven miles north of the maritime boundary line.
The Mexican crew was using a slender boat called the lancha, which is capable of going over 30 miles per hour.
These boats are often used to smuggle illegal narcotics into the U.S, as well as for fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
Once the Coast Guard crew was dispatched, they quickly apprehended the fishermen, confiscating illegal fishing equipment and 40 sharks captured in American waters. The fishermen were turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Sharks are often a prized catch, thanks to the lucrative delicacy shark fin soup.
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Shark fishing, the selling of shark fins, and shark fin soup are all illegal in Texas. Finning, which involves separating the fin and discarding the remainder of the shark, is illegal in the U.S.
In April, Texas Game Wardens raided a San Antonio restaurant, seizing “381 whole shark fins and an additional 29.2 lbs of frozen shark fins” as evidence, according to a Facebook post by the agency.