The next time you go off chasing an albacore or bluefin tuna in Mexican waters, you may want to add a US Passport to your tackle box. The Mexican Navy has been boarding vessels in Mexican waters and asking for proof of citizenship.
Arturo Martinez from the Baja California Norte State Tourism office says 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 said that boaters in Mexican waters are required to accredit their legal stay in Mexico with a passport and that the Navy can request your passport and fishing permit when they perform a routine inspection.
That can be a problem for tuna fishermen as the fish move between Mexican and US waters frequently. The bite may start in US waters and then stray into Mexican waters. Just be sure if you cross over in to Mexico, you are subject to their laws including a strict prohibition of carrying firearms or any ammunition.
Martinez said the Navy will be doing more inspections than ever as they attempt to put a stop to illicit drugs entering the United States by boat.
Sportboat passengers too
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."
Reaction in the US amongst fishermen ran the gamut.
In a facebook post, Will Ebersman said the following. "Doesn't seem unreasonable. Some citizens in the U.S. get all bent out of shape over "illegal aliens" being in-country so why should we get upset if the Mexican people require that we carry some paperwork proving who we are when we're in their country? I'm just hoping it doesn't cut into my already scarce fishing time."
Patrick Norton from Garden Grove was upset: "Another reason I will not go down south now ."
"We are requesting an urgent meeting with the Admiral in charge of the Mexican Navy in Baja California for next week so we can address this important issue and the protocols of engagement so they can be as friendly as possible to our honored and distinguished guests," said Martinez.