1999 - 2000 Sportfishing Regulations

Available from Barnard R. Thompson at MIRA Associates

$10.00 USD

Checks payable to

Barnard Thompson
MIRA Associates
PO Box 33782
San Diego, CA 92163-3782

Everyone, regardless of age or nationality, must possess (and carry with them) a valid Mexican sportfishing license when fishing in Mexican waters, with the sole exception of those who fish only from land. This license covers all types of fishing and is valid anywhere in Mexico. Everyone aboard private boats in Mexican waters must have a fishing license if there is fishing gear of any kind, or fish or fish parts, on board. Licenses for people fishing on commercial passenger-carrying sportfishing boats are normally provided by the boat operators. A fishing license is also required for underwater fishing.

Fishing licenses are issued for periods of one week, one month, and one year, effective at 12:01 am on the starting date specified on the license application. The prices for Mexican fishing licenses are as follows (as of December 6, 1999):

Weekly License - $19.90
Monthly License - $28.50
Annual License - $37.15

All prices are in US Dollars, and subject to periodic change (based on mandated fee adjustments and/or peso exchange rate fluctuations). These licenses are not transferable, and each license must include the person's full legal name, home address, and telephone number.

Boat permits are required for any type of boat sailing into Mexican waters, or trailered to Mexico, that carries or will carry fishing gear. In addition to the compulsory "boat fishing permit" data, when applicable a copy of the boat’s current registration, or Certificate of Documentation showing that the vessel is for pleasure use only, is needed.

Applications for Mexican sportfishing and sportfishing boat licenses can be obtained at Mexico’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP) office, aka as the Mexico Department of Fisheries, in San Diego, however most people purchase them through their local fishing and tackle store or Mexican Insurance dealer. If you receive your application from the SEMARNAP office, upon completion applications should be submitted to:

Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries
2550 5th Avenue, Suite 101
San Diego, CA 92103

Tel: 619-233-6956 • Fax: 619-233-0344

The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, for licenses and to answer any questions.

Applications sent to this address must be accompanied by a cashier's check or money order for the exact amount due, and made payable to Oficina Recaudadora de Pesca; personal checks and cash are NOT accepted. For mail orders, be sure to include a stamped self-addressed return envelope.

The SEMARNAP also has offices in Mexico (Oficina de Pesca), but it is advisable to obtain fishing licenses before crossing the border.

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.

Except when skin diving, fish must be taken by angling with a hand-held line or a line attached to a rod. The use of nets (except handling nets), traps, poisons, or explosives is strictly prohibited. Skin divers may only fish with hand-held spears, or band- or spring-powered spearguns. Underwater spearfishing is allowed only while skin diving (breath-hold diving), but not when using scuba equipment. It is illegal to sell, trade, or exchange the fish caught. Fish can be eviscerated but not filleted aboard the boat.

The taking of abalone, lobster, shrimp, pismo clams, cabrilla, totuava, oysters, and sea turtles is prohibited by Mexican law. 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.

US Customs Regulations: Sportfishermen 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. (Note that 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) The number of fish must not exceed the Mexican bag limit. Fish transported across the border 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 SEMARNAP form covering the purchase of the fish.

For more information:

California Department of Fish and Game
1350 Front Street
San Diego, 92101
Tel: (619) 237-7311

Baja Life Online
P.O. Box 4917
Laguna Beach, CA 92652
tel (949) 376-2252 • fax (949) 376-7575
email: fishmaster@bajafishing.com

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