Illegal fishing is a surging problem in the Gulf

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GALVESTON, TX -- Things are a little fishy in the Gulf of Mexico.  As in, it is the Coast Guard that's coming up with some of the biggest catches these days, and their prize: illegal fishermen!

Take earlier this month, on August 4th, one seized a Mexican boat and crew that had over 150 sharks. That's about 1500 pounds of shark meat!

The Coast Guard also recently, reportedly, picked up about 17 miles worth of illegal long-line with hundreds of baited hooks. More than 200 fish (many still alive) were stuck.

A meeting in Galveston on Monday morning August 18 reviewed the issue. Local fisherman and community leaders are trying to navigate with public awareness and pressure on Washington.

“Those who don't play the rules....not only will they take advantage of our fishing industry, but they also engage in human trafficking we've discovered,” said Congressman Randy Weber.

The Gulf Coast Leadership Conference says illegal fishing doesn't just economically whack the region, but also threatens the sustainability of marine life, which is already hurting.