CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard rescued three sea turtles caught in
200-yards of illegal fishing gear approximately a quarter mile north of the
mouth of the Rio Grande River, near Brownsville, Texas, Sunday.
Coast Guard Station South Padre Island crews spotted the illegal gill net
fishing gear with five blacktip sharks and eight sea turtles entangled. Of the
wildlife recovered, three green sea turtles were alive and released back to
"This incident is yet another example of the negative impacts of
illegal fishing gear being set in U.S. waters,” said Lt. Kurtis Mees, Station
South Padre Island commanding officer. “Not only does it impact this
endangered species, but the entire ecosystem as a whole. Fortunately, we were
able to free three live green sea turtles and remove this gill net before it
trapped and killed any additional marine life."
Gill net is a form of fishing gear consisting of a wall of netting with mesh
sizes designed to allow fish to trap their heads and is illegal to use in Texas
waters. Gill net has been a major source of mortality for all sea turtle
species due to their susceptibility to become entangled in the net.
If you witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing in state waters (out
to 9 miles offshore), please contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s
“Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-GAME (4263). For all suspicious activity or
illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please
contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.