U.S. and Mexico collaborate on bluefin tuna placards

BAJA CALIFORNIA — Southern California anglers who plan to travel south of the border to fish for bluefin tuna might find a sponsored poster plastered on sportfishing vessels to inform them of daily allowances and other legal restrictions governing catches of the highly migratory species.

The poster created and distributed by two Mexican government agencies — CONAPESCA and SAGARPA — was introduced aboard a sportfishing vessel in San Diego on Nov. 20. Representatives from CONAPESCA joined the Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) aboard Old Glory to christen the poster on an American vessel.

“We highly encourage all anglers visiting Mexico to carefully review the new placards so they understand the bag limits before they start fishing,” said SAC President Ken Franke. “Both countries are appropriately protecting the valuable resource of bluefin tuna while also ensuring public access.”

The Mexican governed announced last month it lifted a ban on bluefin tuna fishing within its coastal borders. Anglers were permitted to fish for bluefin tuna so long as they remained within international limits.

The CONAPESCA poster clearly defines individual daily maximum allowances for anglers fishing in Mexico waters. Anglers are limited to 10 total fish and five of a single species each day. The daily bag limit for bluefin tuna, shad, dorado, rooster fish or Gulf grouper is two, while anglers are limited to just one billfish, giant seabass or shark per day.

Catching limits of bluefin, billfish, dorado, grouper, rooster fish, seabass, shad or shark counts as five fish in the 10-fish-per-day count.

The poster also includes reminders of other regulations governing sportfishing in Mexico, such as possessing a valid fishing permit, bag limits for trips longer than three days, filleting restrictions, and potential penalties.

Officials hope the return of bluefin fishing in Mexico could spark an increase in sportfishing tourism south of the border. Franke said he traveled up and down the Mexican coast in recent years and noticed local communities going to great lengths to foster sportfishing tourism.

“It is important to note the entire [Mexico-U.S.] region … benefits from sportfishing tourism,” Franke said. “From our perspective CONAPESCA has been a leader in improving marine related tourism in Mexico and providing accurate information to the public. Their community outreach in the form of assisting in placing the new fish limit placards on all of the charter boats is an example of this leadership and one which is welcome to visitors.”

More information about sportfishing in Mexico is available online at SportfishinginMexico.com.

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