The Gallilean out of San Diego was fishing about 20 miles south of the Mexican American border Saturday at South Coronado Island when they were boarded by the Mexican Navy. Gallilean Sportfishing wrote the following in a Facebook post.
“Today at south Coronado island we got boarded by Mexican navy. It was a routine inspection and also wanted to see passports for passengers/crew. In the choppy weather, their steel boat met up with my wood boat.”
A recent Sportfishing of California (SAC) newsletter had indicated that passports on passenger carrying sportfishers would only be necessary if they were to venture south of Ensenada.
Gallilean Sportfishing added this Facebook post:
“Guess the Mexican navy doesn’t read the SAC newsletter.....lol"
The Horizon, Royal Polaris and at least one other vessel were boarded by the Mexican Navy at Cedros Island earlier this week where passengers asked for proof of citizenship.
“Three vessels were boarded on routine inspections,” wrote Michelle Gandola from SAC. “They were asked for passports. Some passengers didn’t have passports. It created a situation but in the end all vessels were allowed to continue their fishing activities.”
The story that Mexico was going to start boarding US sportfishing vessels broke on Patch in early July. Arturo Martinez from the Baja California Norte State Tourism office said that you must have a passport to enter Mexican waters. "Yes absolutely, they are entering Mexican waters or territory and are required to comply with the immigration laws of Mexico.”
Martinez went on to say that even anglers on 3/4 trips to the Coronado Islands should carry a US Passport. "It's advisable because they (passengers) are in Mexican waters and it's an official form of Identification."
Alex Masumoto owns the Rusty Hook Tackle store in San Pedro and posted the following on Facebook:
“It's their country and we have to follow their rules. Everyone should just quit whining and get their passport. I don't feel the Mexican Government did a good job of informing us. There should have been a definitive memorandum sent to San Diego Landings with requirements and a start date. Now they are forcing people to "expedite" the process costing hundreds of dollars.”
This all comes at a time when Mexico is having a terrible time getting American tourists to cross the border and spend dollars there. Steve Herckt from Orange said “just fish in US waters.”
Chris Dunn who is the chief meteorologist at KPHO-TV in Phoenix, Arizona posted the following on Facebook:
I don't think it's the policy itself a lot of people have a problem with, it's the apparent sudden, dramatic shift in requirements that seemed to have changed overnight with very little warning that has those wanting to fish in Mexican waters a little frustrated. For now if you don't have a passport, there's always Catalina Island!
For the time being, it appears that the most prudent course of action is to simply bring a passport along with you if you are going to be fishing in Mexican waters.
“We recommend that all passengers who have a booked trip aboard a SAC fishing vessel contact their vessel’s office for information regarding their trip. The Sportfishing companies can direct them to the best course of action and requirements to fish in Mexico,” said Gandola. “For all private yachters, contact the CONAPESCA office.”