Visitors must comply with documentation requirements on both sides of the border when bringing fish from Mexico into the United States. Please take your time to carefully review the following information and visit the links below to stay updated with regulation changes prior to your fishing trip.
Mexico reinforces regulations through inspections conducted by the Mexican Navy, CONAPESCA, CONANP, and PROFEPA. Always welcome them aboard and have documentation ready for their review.
Tuna pen aquaculture is the farming of fish by enclosing tuna in man-made pens. These pens are cages that consist of large diameter flotation pipes that hold heavy-duty nets. There are over 60 tuna pens located in northern Baja waters.
It has been discovered that the tuna pens often attract wild tuna. Although this appears to be a good opportunity for anglers to take catch tuna, CONAPESCA reminds all captains, anglers, and vessel owners that Mexico's Sport Fishing Norm (NOM-017-PESC-1994) prohibits any recreational fishing activities within 250 meters (820 feet) from commercial fishing vessels, and fixed or floating fishing tackle in Mexican waters. This does include tuna pens. Violations will result in legal action taken against the vessel.
Click here to visit FONMAR's website with information on other regulations and requirements.
California Sportfishing Regulations
Fishing Licenses are required for anglers 16 years and older. The Department of Fish and Wildlife is the enforcement agency for protecting California's marine resources.
California Marine Protected Areas
California recently enacted a series of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). It is important that anglers know their current location as well as relevant regulations and restrictions. For current maps and information regarding how to properly visit a Marine Protected Area in California, click the buttons below.
Fishing Licenses are required by all persons aboard a vessel fishing in Mexican waters regardless of age. The Mexican Navy is in charge of enforcing regulations by randomly boarding vessels. A copy of the inspection report will be provided to captains upon request.
Inspections also enforce immigration requirements. Visit our "FMM Instructions" section and follow instructions in order to properly process a migratory form for each individual onboard. For questions, please contact the corresponding government office.
For a detailed PDF manual and a quick guide on the requirements to fish in Mexico, click on the button below to visit the Mexican Secretary of Tourism's website.
Vessels must be imported when visiting Mexican territory. Below is a link to the process for a 10-year importation permit. The estimated cost is $80 - this varies on the value of the peso at the time.
*Click "English" on the top right, click on the "begin new application" button, and select "boat/vessel" to start the process.
Is a passport needed to enter Mexican waters?
Visitors must present a valid U.S. passport book or passport card in order to enter Mexico. Although documents may not be routinely checked by Mexican authorities, regular inspections are conducted and require valid travel documents. Visit the website below to get information on where to apply for a passport book or passport card, what information is needed, and how to get an expedited passport for an upcoming trip.
Appointments may be scheduled at any passport agency by calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. Please note that there is a $60 expedited fee in addition to application fees in order to receive your passport within less than 5 business days, and proof of travel is required at some agencies.
FAQ: What paperwork is required when returning to the U.S. by sea with fish caught in Mexico?
California requires anglers to complete a "Fish Declaration" form when returning with fish from Mexico.