The U.S. Coast Guard reported Wednesday that 345 sharks were found in a five mile long net by a crew about four miles off the coast of South Padre Island and or 17 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday.
“Gill nets indiscriminately kill any fish or marine mammal it snares across miles of ocean, often leaving much of the catch spoiled by the time it is hauled in,” according to Coast Guard Cmdr. Daniel Deptula.
Among the species of dead sharks found were 225 black tip, 109 bonnet and 11 bull sharks.
Deptula said that Mexican fisheries have been depleted by such fishing methods, which has led to more illegal fishing in U.S. waters. Mexican fishermen often kill the sharks just for their fins.
Gill nets are illegal throughout Texas and are considered devastating to the marine environment.
The Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi has seized more than 49 miles of gill net from illegal fishing activities this year.
“We hope our efforts continue to disrupt and dissuade this illegal enterprise along our South Texas shores,” said Deptula.
The Coast Guard works closely alongside the Texas Parks and Wildlife agency, the Department of State, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to enforce domestic fisheries laws and protect the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone from foreign encroachment.