The illegal gill net set in U.S. waters by Mexican fishermen has killed at least 3,000 juvenile sharks along the South Texas Gulf Coast, Texas authorities said.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens discovered at least 3,000 dead sharks that were knotted in approximately three miles of illegal fishing nets off South Padre Island, KGBT-TV reported Tuesday.
It will take several hours to disentangle the sharks from the net.
Department spokesman Steve Lightfoot said the sharks were discovered on Sept. 20.
This is by far the most sharks I have ever gotten in one load, Sgt. James Dunks told KGBT-TV. Myself and my deck hand have been working on this boat for 15 years and have never seen this many sharks in one net.
At least one-third of all sharks worldwide are being targeted by overfishing since there is a huge demand for shark meat and fins for shark fin soup.
We have here probably two to three miles of gill net that was placed in our waters about four miles north of the Mexico border right off the beach, Dunks said. Unbelievable amount of sharks, anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 black tips, bonnet heads and sharp nose shark in here right now.
Along with migrating red fish, tarpon and many other species, the Gulf of Mexico surf zone is crowded with thousands of sharks during this time of the year.
The Mexican fishermen who set the illegal net were not detained.
It is all we can do, Dunks said. They get over here in a matter of two minutes and be back in Mexico in a matter of two minutes. … The guys we have caught in the past have flat told us that there are no more fish over there and that is why they are coming over here.
Mexican fishermen continue to place illegal nets in U.S. waters despites regular security checks by the Texas parks and wildlife and the Coast Guard.