How to apply for a Mexican fishing license

Are you planning to go fishing in Mexico? Aside from the usual fishing equipment and tackle box, you have to get a fishing license.  Anyone fishing on a boat and even passengers who have no intention of fishing, who is 16 years old and above is required to have a valid Sport Fishing License when fishing in Mexican waters. This fishing license may be applied to all types of fishing and is valid anywhere in Mexico including Cabo San Lucas.

Mexican fishing license

Some of you might ask, why is it necessary to get a fishing license?  Purchasing a license goes beyond giving an individual a legal permission to fish in a particular state.  By paying for fishing licenses, boat operators and anglers have the opportunity to give back to their favorite fishing location.  For instance, part of the fishing license funds goes to the maintenance of public marinas, boat ramps, and piers for the benefit of locals and tourists alike. A portion of the revenue is also allocated to promote awareness campaigns for the protection and conservation of Mexican marine resources including artificial reefs.  State agencies also launch hatchery programs in areas with low fish species population to give anglers improved fisheries. Some of the funds are allotted to help enforce fishing regulations in different Mexican states and push the development of sport fishing at local, national, and even international levels. When you purchase a fishing license, you also contribute to fisheries research.

Applying for a fishing license

Some fishing charters in Cabo provide fishing licenses as part of their fishing package so it’s best to check first with the boat operator. Don’t worry, if the fishing license is not inclusive in your fishing trip, here are some guidelines to help you apply for one:

In person application – You can get your application for Mexican sport fishing license at the Mexico Department of Fisheries office in San Diego which is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.

2550 Fifth Ave, Suite 15, San Diego, CA 92103

Online application – Fill out an online Mexican fishing license application form. After completing the form and paying the corresponding fee, you can conveniently print the fishing license and bring it with you on your fishing trip.

By mail – You also have the option to purchase your license through the mail.  Begin by filling out the Fishing License Application (available online), then proceed by mailing the completed form to the San Diego office. Enclose a money order or cashier’s check in the exact amount, along with a self-addressed and stamped envelope. The fishing license is usually processed on the same day that the application is received.. It is recommended that you follow-up the status of your license by calling their office.

Others – You can also get your fishing license at some local tackle shops.

Fishing License rates

Take note of the following fishing license rates based on duration or validity.

  • One day license $11.55 USD per person
  • One week license $22.62 USD per person
  • One month license $31.85 USD per person
  • One Year license $41.08 USD per person

Limits and rules

Fishing in Mexico

Getting a fishing license gives you permission to fish in Mexican waters provided that you abide by the following rules and regulations. Keep in mind that each licensed angler may fish up to 10 points per day. A fisherman is not allowed to catch more than 5 points of the same species on a single day.  The limit for inland bodies of water (rivers, lakes, etc.) is five fish per day (single species or in combination).

  1. Billfish (e.g. marlin, swordfish, sailfish) – 5 points each
  2. Dorado and roosterfish – 2.5 points each
  3. Other species – 1 point for each species

A fisherman may bring back one marlin and two dorado, tarpon, halibut, and sailfish per Cabo fishing charter.

Catch-and-release is encouraged in Cabo and there is no limit to this practice as long as the fish that exceeds the bag limit be returned to the ocean in good survival condition.

The fishing license is only applicable to the capture of fin fish.  An angler is prohibited from capturing or collecting sea turtles, lobster, shrimp, shells, snails, corals, sea anemones, oysters, Pismo clams, cabrilla, abalone, and totuava. Anyone who wants to purchase any of the said species and bring it back into the United States must first get a form from the Mexican Government Fish Commission.

Fishing violations

The following are against Mexican law and anyone caught doing so will have to face legal consequences.

  • Capturing any fish in Mexican waters and maintaining it alive for ornamental purposes
  • Selling (profiting from the fish obtained through sport fishing), trading or exchanging your catch
  • Throwing trash and substances in the ocean and other bodies of water that may endanger aquatic flora or fauna
  • Upsetting the original ecosystem environment
  • Engaging in sport fishing 250 meters or less from swimmers
  • Using artificial lighting to attract large volume of fish
  • Using nets, traps, firearms, explosives, or poisons of any type in Mexican waters

A fishing license in accordance with rules and regulations help keep fish and other marine creature populations healthy and productive.  A thriving ocean benefits not only local folks but tourists as well. Local economies are sustained by rich marine resources and provide more fishing opportunities for beginners and serious anglers.

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