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Mexican Fishing Licenses and Boat Permit
As of January 2008 only fishing permits are required, boat permits are no longer required.
The Mexico Federal Law requires a fishing license anytime you cross into Mexican waters. Everyone fishing from a boat, regardless of age or nationality, must have a Mexican fishing license. This is the case even if they are not fishing, as long as there is fishing equipment on board, or fish, or fish parts. The licenses are easy to get, but you should make an effort to secure one ahead of your visit.
Applications for Mexican Sport Fishing Licenses can be obtained at the Mexico Department of Fisheries office CONAPESCA (Comision Nacional de Acuacultura y Pesca) in San Diego; however, most people purchase them through their local fishing and tackle store. You will need a copy of your valid boat registration for a boat permit.
Fishing Permit Prices
Fishing license pricing:
- One Week: $22.90
- One Month: $32.80
- One Year: $42.70
Only money orders or cashiers' checks in the exact amount are accepted. Make the payment out to Oficina de Pesca.
Mexican Sport fishing Regulations
- In order to operate a boat that carries fishing equipment in Mexican waters, it is necessary to hold a valid boat permit and personal fishing licenses for everybody aboard the boat, regardless of age and whether fishing or not. A fishing license is not required when fishing from land.
- Only one rod or line with hook is permitted in the water, per person, but there is no restriction regarding the number of replacement items.
- This fishing license allows to capture only finfish. It does not allow to capture any mollusks or crustaceans, and their capture by anyone is strictly prohibited. Totuava, turtles and marine mammals are under protection of the Ministry and may not be captured at any time.
- To capture bottom fish, up to four hooks on a vertical line may be used.
- The use of electric reels is restricted to disabled fisherman only, after written authorization from the Ministry before use.
Daily Bag Limits and Other Regulations
Each fisherman is permitted to catch up to ten (10) fish per day, with no more than five (5) fish of any one species. In addition, anglers are subject to the following limits: No more than one (1) billfish. No more than two (2) tarpon, dorado or roosterfish. Fish that are in the one fish or two fish categories count as five fish of the total ten fish daily bag limit. The maximum daily bag limit for underwater marine or freshwater fishing is five (5) fish. In fresh waters, anglers are permitted to take up to five (5) fish per day.
- Limit on inland bodies of water (rivers, lakes, dams, etc.) is five fish per day, whether of a single species or in combination.
- Underwater fishing is limited to five fish per day, using rubber band or spring type harpoons, and only while skin diving.
- There is not limit to the practice of "catch and release" as long as the fish that exceed the bag limit be returned to their environment in good survival condition.
- Where sport fishing is conducted from boats out at sea for longer that three days, the bag limit will be the equivalent of three times the amounts mentioned above.
- Mexican law prohibits the taking of abalone, lobster, shrimp, pismo clams, cabrilla, totuava, oysters, and sea turtles. Anyone wishing to purchase any of these species to take into the United States must first obtain a form from the Mexican Government Fish Commission; only the Oficinas de Pesca located within Mexico provides this form. All purchases of these species must be made at designated public markets or fishing cooperatives.
Mexico Fishing Violations
- It is illegal to capture and maintain alive any fish for ornamental purposes.
- It is prohibited to receive any financial gain from the product obtained through sport fishing.
- It is prohibited to dump trash, litter or substances that harm the aquatic flora or fauna, whether on lakes, riverbanks, shores or oceanic waters.
- It is prohibited to collect shells, corals, sea anemones and snails, or to disturb the original ecosystem environment.
- It is prohibited to practice sport fishing 250 meters or less from swimmers. It is prohibited to use artificial lighting to attract large quantities of fish.
- It is prohibited to discharge firearms in Mexican waters.
- Fish caught under a sport fishing license may not be filleted aboard the vessel from which it was caught. It is requested that all unusual activities, occurrences or record catches to be reported to the nearest Oficina de Pesca, or to its representation in San Diego, CA., in order to ensure the preservation of natural resources for the continued enjoyment of all fisherman.
US Customs Fishing Regulations
- Sport fishermen may bring into the United States only fish for personal consumption.
US Customs requires that the fish catch must be accompanied by a California
- Declaration of Entry form, obtainable at California Fish and Game offices and at the US Border ports of entry.
- The number of fish must not exceed the Mexican bag limit.
- Fish transported across the boarder can be eviscerated but must be identifiable; usually the head, tail, or patch of skin left intact will suffice.
- Anyone bringing fish into the United States will be asked by Customs officials to present a valid Mexican fishing license or a Mexico Department of Fisheries form covering the purchase of the fish.
Note: Different regulations may apply if you live in a state other than California; for information regarding your state's regulations, contact your local Department of Fish and Game or your local US Customs office.
For more information:
California Department of Fish and Game
- 1350 Front Street San Diego, 92101
- Tel: (619) 237-7311
CONAPESCA Oficina de Pesca
- 2550 Fifth Avenue Suite 101
- San Diego, CA 92103
- Telephone: 619.233.6956
- Fax: 619.233.0344