Letter to the Editor: A Visa to Fish in Mexico: What’s the Big Deal?

Byline: James Martinsen

A lot of people are making a lot of noise about Mexico’s new immigration law decision that all U.S. anglers who boat into the country must have a visa to fish in Mexican territorial waters.

I’ve heard my fellow boaters say everything from “How dare they? Don’t they know how important American tourists are to Mexico’s economy right now?” to “What do they want from us?! I’ll never go there again.”

All of this indignant outrage is over something that adds only about $35 to the cost of an across-the-border-by-boat day of fishing. (Heck, my neighborhood gas station has already increased the cost of a day of fishing in local waters aboard my trailerboat by more than that.)

And people are getting themselves needlessly worked up over a “new requirement” that is already an “old requirement” for just about anyone who takes a plane trip to a foreign country.

So, you think Mexico is making it unreasonably hard on Americans to go fishing in their territorial waters? Ask yourself what would happen if a citizen of Mexico decided he wanted to go fishing in U.S. waters and brought his panga north to fish off San Diego or Orange County.

I can guarantee you that unless he cruised in with no navigation lights in the middle of the night, this tourist’s fishing trip would come to a quick and unfriendly end, courtesy of our Homeland Security patrols. Our stateside version of the Federales would be looking for a lot more than a visa — and good luck trying to purchase a nonresident fishing license for this expedition.

James Martinsen
Seal Beach

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