Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mexicans Poaching American Sharks

An interesting article in the Post about how Mexican fishermen are sneaking into American waters off the Texas coast to catch sharks.  Having all but eliminated the sharks in their own waters by overfishing, they are finding it pays to run north into American territory, where sharks are much more abundant, largely because of restrictions on the fishing.
“When we fish here, we catch next to nothing. Little fish. And barely any of them,” said Carlos Guerra, a Mexican citizen, who started working on the beach in December, days after being deported from Chicago. “When we cross the border, we catch so much. We make a lot of money.”

His reasoning, shared by other fishermen, is that American regulations have left its shark population mostly intact while the lack of Mexican enforcement has caused years of overfishing. Fishermen endure long nights and rough seas to fish in U.S. waters — hauling in sharks they dub “gringos.”
Even the prospect of having their boat confiscated is not sufficient to keep them out:
“It’s the same game every day. They chase us, sometimes seizing our boats. And the next day we do it again,” said Eric Carillo, whose family runs a small shark fishing business just south of the border in Playa Bagdad, bringing in $5,000 to $10,000 a month. Most of their profits come from fins, but fishermen also sell shark meat to Mexico City markets.

Each year, the Coast Guard apprehends dozens, seizing thousands of dollars in gear. But the fishermen spend less than 24 hours in U.S. custody, and then they are sent back across the border.
I have enormous sympathy for the Mexican fishermen here, but we simply have to do better on the enforcement.  If an American company were to violate Mexican sovereignty in a similar manner, you can be sure the US government would not be in such a hurry to bring them home.  Mexico is almost  a failed state, and the rule of law down there is extremely weak, and very corrupt.  Bay permitting this to go on largely unhindered, we allow them to steal from the American public, and further encourage the lawlessness on our southern border.

Maybe we need a new security agency,,,