The largest seizure of sharks ever confiscated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens was recently unloaded at South Padre Island after wardens pulled in approximately three miles of illegal gill net just offshore from South Padre Island.
Entangled in the deadly net set in state waters by Mexican fishermen were between two and three thousand juvenile sharks.
It will take several hours to dispose of the net and rotting sharks.
TPWD Sgt. James Dunks spoke to the Nature Report about the incident.
"This is by far the most sharks I have ever gotten in one load. Myself and my deck hand have been working on this boat for 15 years and have never seen this many sharks in one net," Sgt. Dunks said.
Worldwide, at least a third of all sharks are threatened by overfishing. Sharks are being increasingly targeted to supply a 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," Sgt. Dunks said. "Unbelievable amount of sharks anywhere between two and three thousand black tips, bonnet heads and sharp nose shark in here right now."
This time of year the Gulf of Mexico, the surf zone along the lower Texas coast is teeming with thousands of juvenile and adult sharks along with migrating red fish, tarpon and many other species, but the seized net contained almost exclusively sharks.
The Mexican nationals that set the illegal net in Texas waters were not captured.
"It is all we can do," Sgt. 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."
Despite regular patrols by the Coast Guard and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, desperate Mexican fishermen continue to set net in Texas waters taking a serious toll on fish shared by both countries.