Mexico’s National Immigration Institute has informed San Diego based sportfishing operations that all anglers fishing in Mexican waters must possess a passport, effective immediately. The requirement affects all anglers fishing within Mexico’s territorial waters, everything within 12 nautical miles of it’s coastline, which includes the popular Coronado Islands.
Technically, this isn’t a new requirement, as this regulation has been on the books for several years. But landings had been allowed to issue visas (FMMs) for their passengers without requiring a passport as form of proper ID. The immigration office of Baja is now only allowing those required visas to be obtained with the ID in the form of a valid passport.
So if you do not have a valid passport, it is time to start the application process, you do not want to be left at the dock in what might be the best sportfishing season of your lifetime as El Niño conditions have the water several degrees warmer than usual. The yellowtail fishing is fantastic around the Coronado Islands, and you can bet yellowfin and dorado will be here soon!
You can apply for a passport through certain United States Post Offices, and the typical process takes 4-6 weeks. The cost for a first-time adult applicant is $135 ($105 for minors under 16), and a renewal cost is $110.
Expedited service is available for an additional $60 fee and takes approximately 3 weeks. If you need a passport even sooner, you can get one in a single day, but you are required to apply in person at a US Department of State Passport Agency. That service requires the $60 expedited fee as well and a scheduled appointment. The nearest Passport Agency is located in downtown San Diego. For more information on the San Diego Passport Agency and the process of obtaining a passport in a crunch, visit their website here.
Any trips entirely outside of the 12 mile territorial waters boundary, but within 50 miles of the coast only require a valid Mexican Sportfishing License for each angler.
Mexico maintains a website at sportfishinginmexico.com that outlines requirements for fishing within their waters, whether you’re entering aboard a sportfishing boat from the local fleet, or your buddy’s private skiff.