82 / 65
      84 / 67
      84 / 70

      Nature Report: Illegal Netting

      As the Rio Grande snakes its way towards the Gulf of Mexico, Texas Parks and Wildlife Game wardens patrol the winding river for illegal Mexican fishermen who stretch their nets across the river into the United States like this boat that is clearly on the Texas side.

      Game Warden Dan Cantu said, "We are patrolling the Rio Grande River looking for illegal fishing gear, crab traps or gill net."

      On this day the warden's confiscated several dozen-crab traps and some 300 feet of gill net.

      "We cut it at the halfway mark. They can fish up to the halfway mark of the river. We usually leave their half on their side, and we confiscate the illegal net on our side," said Jarret Barker, Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden.

      Each year, Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens working out of Cameron County, the state's southernmost county, confiscate some 10 to 15 miles of illegal gill net from the Rio Grande and Gulf of Mexico.

      The fishermen usually manage to slip back across the imaginary line that separates the Mexican waters from the U.S. to avoid apprehension, but they often abandon their illegal gear in their haste.

      "It is a cat and mouse game, but we try and catch them," said Cantu.

      And the work the wardens do to protect our marine resources is appreciate by local fishermen.

      Fisherman David Murillo said, "If they don't stop the netting, then later on in a few years we might not have any more reds because the migration pattern got messed up because of those nets."