SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The United States Coast Guard rescued a dolphin along with other marine life trapped and entangled in an illegal net on South Padre Island.
On Wednesday, a charter boat reported a trapped dolphin near Laguna Madre to the U.S. Coast Guard.
A Station South Padre Island 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water boat crew responded to the report, according to a press release.
Upon arrival, the crew cut the dolphin free from the net and released it back into its habitat.
The illegal gillnet fishing gear had entangled 10 bonnethead sharks, one blacktip shark, 20 catfish, one redfish, and a bottlenose dolphin, according to the release.
Designed to trap a fish’s head, the gillnet that trapped the dolphins and other marine life is illegal in Texas waters.
The U.S. Coast Guard stated that the gillnet has been a major source of mortality for many marine animals due to their susceptibility to becoming entangled in the net.
This incident clearly exemplifies the negative impacts of illegal fishing gear used in U.S. waters… Not only does it impact marine life, but the entire ecosystem as a whole. Thankfully, we were able to free the dolphin and remove the gillnet before it trapped and killed any additional marine life.Petty Officer 3rd Class Drew Ferguson, a Station South Padre Island boarding officer
Additionally, the agency shared photos from the rescue.
Individuals who witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore) are asked to contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s “Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-4263.
Illegal fishing or suspicious activity out of the 200 miles offshore can be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.