Fish On: Mexico Sportfishing Rules and Regulations
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May 30, 2016


When operating a boat that carries fishing equipment in Mexican waters, it is necessary to hold a valid fishing license for everybody aboard the boat, regardless of age and whether fishing or not. A fishing license is not required when fishing from land.

Only one rod or line with hook is permitted in the water, per person, but there is no restriction regarding the number of replacement items.

A fishing license allows to capture fin fish only. It does not allow to capture any crustaceans or mollusks, with the exception of squid, and their capture by anyone is strictly prohibited. Totuaba, turtles and marine mammals are under protection of the Ministry and may not be captured at any time.

To capture bottom fish, up to four hooks on a vertical line may be used.

The use of electric reels is restricted to disabled fishermen only, after written authorization for the Ministry before use.

Bag and Possession Limits

In ocean waters and estuaries the limit is a total of ten fish per person per day, with no more than 5 catches of a single specie, except of the species of the “Billfishes”, Shark and Giant Seabass (Stereolepis gigas), of which only one specimen from this group is allowed per day, and which counts a five toward the overall 10 fish limit, or Dorado, Roosterfish, Shad or Tarpon, Gulf Grouper (Mycyteroperca jordani) and Blue Fin Tuna (Thunnus orientals), of which only two samples from this group are allowed, and which count as five toward the overall 10 fish limit. In the case of squid, the capture limit will be 5 samples per fisherman per day.

• Limit on inland bodies of water (rivers, lakes, dams, etc.) is five fish per day, whether of a single specie or in combination.

• Underwater fishing is limited to a total of five fish and/or squid per day, using rubber band, spring or pneumatic harpoons, and only while skin diving.

• There is no limit to the practice of “catch and release”, as long as the fish that exceed the bag limit be returned to their environment in good survival condition.

• Where sport fishing is conducted from boats out at sea for longer than three days, the bag limit will be the equivalent of three times the amounts mentioned above.


• It is illegal to capture and maintain alive any fish for ornamental purposes.

• It is prohibited to receive any financial gain from the product obtained through sportfishing.

• It is prohibited to dump trash, litter or substances that harm the aquatic flora or fauna, whether on lakes, river banks, shores or oceanic waters.

• It is prohibited to collect shells, corals, sea anemones and snails, or to disturb the original ecosystem environment.

• It is prohibited to practice sportfishing 250 meters or less from swimmers.

• It is prohibited to use artificial lighting to attract large quantities of fish.

• It is prohibited to possess firearms in Mexican waters.

• Fish caught under a sportfishing license may not be filleted aboard the vessel from which it was caught.

• It is requested that all unusual activities, occurrences or record catches be reported to the nearest office of the Oficina de Pesca, or to its representation in San Diego, CA. in order to ensure the preservation of natural resources for the continued enjoyment of all fishermen. Noncompliance with Mexican laws and provisions which apply to sport fishing are punishable and may include fines, confiscation of fishing tackle and/or equipment and even the vessel itself.

Learn more at Conapesca website

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