Fishing License Information
Boat Permit Prices
Daily Bag Limits and other Regulations
US Customs Regulations
Fishing License Information
Any non-resident alien 16 years or older must possess a valid Mexican Sportfishing License before fishing in Mexican waters. 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.
For people fishing on charter sportfishing boats, the law was changed in 1998. No longer will the charters have one (1) license that covers everyone fishing on the charter. Each person must have in their possession a fishing license issued my the Mexican Fisheries Department. You can get that from the Mexico Fisheries office in the city you are fishing at. A fishing license is also required for underwater spearfishing.
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 - (they change frequently, often without notice):
Daily License - $8.00 Average in Mexico
Weekly License - $19.60
Monthly License - $28.05
Annual License - $36.60
All prices are in US Dollars. These licenses are not transferable, and each license must include the person's full legal name, home address, and telephone number.
Applications for Mexican Sportfishing Licenses can be obtained at the Mexico Department of Fisheries office 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 Department of Fisheries office, upon completion, applications should be submitted to:
Mexico Department of Fisheries
2550 5th Avenue, Suite 101
San Diego, CA 92103
The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm to answer any questions. The phone number is (619) 233-6956.
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 are not accepted. For mail orders, be sure to include a stamped self-addressed return envelope.
The Mexico Department of Fisheries also has offices in Mexico (Oficina de Pesca), but it is advisable to obtain fishing licenses before crossing the border.
Boat Permit Prices:
Under 23-feet - $27.90
23' to 29'11" - $55.70
30-feet or more - $81.35
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) full-grown Marlin
No more than two (2) Dorado, Tarpon, Halibut, or Sailfish
In brackish waters, anglers are permitted to take up to twenty (20) Perch and twenty (20) Carp per day.
Except when skin or scuba 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 and scuba divers may only fish with hand-held spears or band-powered spearguns. Under water fishing is limited to five fish per day, using rubber band or spring type harpoons, and only while skin diving. There is no 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 Sportfishing is conducted from a boat out at sea for longer than three days, the bag limit will be the equivalent of three times the amount mentioned above.
It is illegal to sell, trade, or exchange the fish caught. Fish can be eviscerated and filleted, but a patch of skin must be left to permit identification.
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.
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 Sportfishing.
It is prohibited to dump trash, litter or substances that harm the aquatic flora or fauna, whether on lakes, rivers, banks, 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 sportfishing 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.
It is requested that all unusual activities, occurrences or record catches be reported to the nearest office of the Ministry of the Environment-Natural Resources and Fisheries, or to its representation in San Diego, California, in order to ensure the preservation of natural resources for the continued enjoyment of all fisherman.
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 boarder can be eviscerated but must be identifiable; usually the head, tail, or patch of skin left intact. Anyone bringing fish into the United States may or will be asked by Customs officials to present a valid Mexican fishing license or a Mexico Department of Fisheries form covering the purchase or sportfishing of the fish.
For more information, contact:
California Department of Fish and Game
1350 Front Street
San Diego, CA 92101