Like to fish in Mexico? Need to have a proctology exam? Just go to Mexico and get both things done simultaneously. And you get to pay for the privilege. Gives a new meaning to multi-tasking.
In what I can only describe as a move designed to shut down US citizens fishing in the country of Mexico, some Mexican bureaucrat has enacted legislation that charges a US citizen anywhere from $33 to $250 for the right to fish in Mexican waters.
That doesn’t include the $11 for the Mexican fishing license fee or the handling fee. Depending on the value of the peso each month, the cost of the visa will change. Depending where and how you buy the visa, you’ll pay different amounts.
For a country that has seen a 70% drop in US tourists heading into the country, this statute can only be described as stupid. Other words come to mind but they’re not likely to get published.
Similar to the recent enforcement of the passport requirement, this act was dropped on the American fishing public with little warning. I guess that the Mexican government’s current view is that visitors to Mexico are walking ATM machines. Punch in the right ‘legislative PIN number’ and the tourists pay off faster than a loose slot machine in Vegas. Step right up and play, “Screw the Gringo”.
Let’s add up some numbers. Take the fee for a ¾ day trip to fish the Coronado Islands, say $65. Add $33 or more for the “visa”, $11 for the one-day Mexican fishing license, parking fee, galley tab, fish cleaning, crew tip and galley tip. I’m thinking that you’re looking at $140-150.
How about the $125 a San Diego boat typically charges for an overnight run to Colnett? Add $33 for the “visa” and the handling charge. Add $11 for the Mexican fishing license, a parking fee, crew tip, fish cleaning, food, and galley tip. How many of you are going to do an overnight trip for $230-240?
The math gets even scarier for a multi-day trip. Work your own numbers so you know I’m not exaggerating. Remember the Law of Supply and Demand? Fewer anglers means higher costs per person. How high is too much? After a while, even the most motivated fisherman will get tired of be the Human Pinata.
Try and guess how many San Diego sportfishing boats are likely to go out of business. How many landings can survive a hit like this? Say goodbye to some of your favorite tackle stores and restaurants. Make sure you have your favorite deckhand’s e-mail or cell phone number so you can stay in touch. The odds are good you won’t be doing it on a fishing boat.
I get the fact that Mexico needs dollars to improve their economy. I know that the US economy sucks and that there are not a whole lot of trickle-down dollars being sent to Mexico. So does it make any sense at all to cripple a significant part of the US tourism cash flow by enacting a law like this? Sorry, I don’t think so.
Remember the Erik based out of San Felipe? The boat sank July, 2011 in a bad windstorm. Seven U.S. anglers are still missing. The investigation promised by the Mexican government still hasn’t been issued. Still ongoing, no doubt. Maybe some of the dollars coming out of the U.S. tourist pocket can be spent for mandatory inspection and enforcement of some minimum safety items.
Please note, the fisherman gets nothing for the additional fees he pays. Let’s ask for something reasonable in return. How about a Mexican state-run inspection program for all boats that carry anglers for pay? Let’s ask for lifejackets, working Epirbs, safety flares, and maybe a good first aid kit on board. Hell, how about a inspection of the engines, drive shaft and other essential mechanical parts?
Here’s a prediction. I’ll bet in ten years a lot of your favorite San Diego-based boats will be running out of Ensenada. They ‘re not likely to make a living running from the U.S. If this is a plan to get U.S. anglers to spend money in Mexico, it might work. Hotels, restaurants, fuel sales, jobs. Some boats are likely to be owned by Mexican businessmen. It’s a potentially good way to bring tourism money into the country. The problem is that U.S. tourists aren’t likely to be on them. Oops!
I like Mexico. I travel by car to Baja Norte and South several times a year. The people are friendly. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten has been served up by the side of the road in open-air restaurants. I fish up and down the coasts from pangas to 48’ foot top of the line cruisers. I just won’t be able to afford to do it as often as I used to. Tell me, Senor Legislator, how will that benefit the citizens and businesses of your country?
I’ll be waiting for your answer. But probably not with a fishing rod in one hand and a cold Modelo in the other.