Four Fisherman Arrested Off Coast of Texas After Illegally Catching 40 Sharks

by Emily Morgan

Authorities busted four anglers off the coast of Texas while they were illegally fishing for sharks, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

On Tuesday, the Coast Guard received a tip from Customs and Border Protection that a Mexican vessel was illegally fishing near Corpus Christi.

Once the Coast Guard crew arrived on the scene, the boat was about 7 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line. Once U.S. Coast Guard sailors boarded the boat, they found what they had been fishing for: shark fins.

Fishing for sharks is illegal in the Lone Star state. Once on board, the sailors located 40 sharks in their possession. Later, the Coast Guard turned over the fishermen to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Authorities have not yet stated what the men intended to do with the 40 shark fins. Most shark fins are known to be a delicacy and served in fin soup. However, they are illegal to serve in the state due to the inhumane treatment of the fish.

According to the Coast Guard, the boat they were operating a vessel known as a lancha. These vessels “frequently transport illegal narcotics to the U.S. and illegally fish in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone.”

Game Wardens discover wild number of shark fins at Texas restaurant

In a similar instance, Texas Game Wardens found more than 400 shark fins in a San Antonio restaurant in April. Unfortunately, they found more than fins. They also discovered whole sharks in the San Antonio restaurant after the agency raided the eatery.

During the fishy discovery, game wardens, with the assistance of a K-9 team, inspected an unnamed restaurant. Later, they took all of the fins into custody as evidence.

“Because a business is involved, we have to gather all the facts and see who is actually involved,” Texas Game Warden Kevin Winters said. “Sometimes, the District Attorney will request that we file against the business itself.”

Finning has been outlawed in Texas since 2015 with the passage of H.B. 1579 into law.

“What they do is, they catch the sharks, they take the fins off, they throw them back in the ocean, ultimately leaving the sharks to die,” Winters told outlets.

“Multiple states throughout the United States have been jumping on board to protect the species because every year there’s anywhere between 70 to 100 million shark fins that are taken from waters across the world.”

According to Shark Stewards, finning kills an estimated 100 million or more sharks yearly. In addition, tens of millions more sharks and rays are killed each year, primarily through illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing.

Moreso, 181 of the species are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).