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Fishing Mexico – Latest on FMM Visas

Mexico Fishing FMM

On Tuesday, October 10th the Port of San Diego and Sport Fishing Association of California held a meeting in San Diego to view and make comments on the new FMM process the Mexican Immigration Department has designed. In attendance were marina representatives, fishing boat owners, yachting event coordinators, the Port Tenants Association and recreational fishermen. The purpose was to get feedback from these parties to present to the Mexican Government before the official roll out on October 17, 2013.

On Thursday, October 3rd the Mexican Navy began kicking both big boats and little boats out of the Coronados telling them once again they needed a Visa and/or Boat Permit. Since last years “Visa” fiasco (when the first attempt was made to impose an online FMM system), anglers and captains are both very weary and confused about the “actual” visa process.

To remedy this unclear Visa situation, the Mexican Immigration department has come up with an online solution to sell Visas to US boaters fishing in Mexican waters INSIDE 12 miles of the Baja coast. The new Visa issued by the government will cost $295 MX Pesos or about $23 USD and is good for up to 180 consecutive days.

The new official process goes like this:

1. Go to either of the following web address’ and pay for each person’s Visa: https://www.banjercito.com.mx/registroEmbarques/ (gave my browser a security warning)

http://www.inm.gob.mx/index.php/page/Pesca_Deportiva_Turismo_Nautico (click English in the upper right hand column)

2. Generate a manifest using an Excel spreadsheet template provided at the addresses above.

3. The Captain or vessel owner will need to submit proof of payment and the spreadsheet manifest to [email protected] . This must match the names and number of passengers on board the boat.

4. WAIT for email confirmation of your Visa approval BEFORE you leave the dock.

Failure to comply with all these steps will result in you being asked to leave Mexican waters by either heading north of the border line or going west until you are more than 12 miles offshore.

After the group reviewed the new web based process, comments and concerns from the group were compiled and sent to the Mexican Government. Nearly every representative had at least one issue with the new process and/or its requirements. These issues will be compiled and presented to the Mexican Government for their consideration before they officially present the new program on Oct. 17.

Some of the major issues raised were:

1. The landings need a “real time” solution as their manifests change right up until the boat leaves the dock. Anglers don’t show, some fill their spots, etc.

2. Currently the program states there is an 18-year minimum age to apply for a VISA.

3. Each passenger is required to carry a passport and not government issues photo ID.

So what’s my take away on the whole deal?

It’s pretty clear that this process is some adaptation of what they require from cruise ships. Could it work for our purposes? Probably. Is it a pain? Kind of.

The biggest issue I have with this process (and you boaters should have too) is the fact that technically this process applies to ANYONE entering Mexico by ANY means. This would include the 35,000 people that enter at the Tijuana border crossing every day.

Is the Mexican Immigration Department going to selectively enforce this new process on boaters only? Absolutely.

This entire issue is clearly about money. Mexican Government knows that boaters have it and they haven designed a program to help alleviate us of some of our hard earned cash.

I personally have no issue with paying a fair amount to enter Mexican waters and I think most private boaters would agree. I honestly feel that $23 is a pretty steep for just a single day of fishing.

Many suggested a $5 per day up to $25 option or something similar. Also, to make any program like this work you can’t rely on an email back from the government BEFORE you go. The issue is money, you should be able to pay and go on your way.

Another MAJOR flaw I see with this program is charging the ¾ day fleet $23 per passenger, per day. This is about 25% of the fare for the trip and will most certainly put a considerable dent in their business.

I believe the best solution to the issue would be to offer one day Visa at a rate of $5 – $10 and an annual Visa in the $50 range. While I doubt this will happen, it would be an agreeable rate for most.

In the meantime, you are welcome to try the process for yourself using the links and info above. Hopefully by the 17th the Mexican Government will take some of the feedback to heart and streamline the process.

Stay tuned and we will keep you updated as the process unfolds.

Here is the full list of recommendations from the meeting:

Comments:

1. The introduction translated on the INM website states that this process is for a foreigner that wishes to enter Mexico, but it should clarify that this process is only for those who are responsible for the vessel.

2. Real-time process- We respectfully recommend that our vessels be able to submit payment and information in the same hour of departure. We often do not have the complete list of passengers until minutes before our vessels depart.

3. Site, examples, spreadsheets, directory, and instructions in English

4. No age limit for passengers

5. Is this process required within the 0-12 mile territorial waters of Mexico?

6. Contingency plan- is there a process or plan in place in case of power failure, emergency, or website failure?

Inconsistencies:

1. On the consulate of San Diego website, the price is listed at $295 pesos, but on the INM website it is priced at $259 pesos. Could you please clarify the price of the permit?

2. On the Consulate of San Diego website the after you click the button that says “Sportfishing and other Recreations Activities” the screen that pops up which is titled “Sportfishing Association of California” and at the bottom page there is a link that says “Request for payment Sportfishing Association of CA” We respectfully request that you remove the name of our association on your website.

3. We bring to your attention that the San Diego Consulate website does not mention the need for the process of sending the designated manifest called the “Electronic list of Passengers” to immigration before every trip.

Reporting on the Manifest:

1. Define “Agencia consignataria”? We do not use Brokers/Agentes. We recommend taking out this field or a dropdown box with acceptable options.

2. What is a “Libreta de Mar”? Our Captain has a license number. Is this what is needed?

3. Clarify which Port we list if we don’t plan on making landfall. Ensenada?

4. Itinerario-Should we leave this blank if we do not plan on making landfall?

5. Passaporte-Can we please provide a government issued ID number in place of a passport? (E.g.HEre Drivers license) This allowance will greatly increase the amount of visitors that can use this process.

Below is a pictorial of the online process:

Fishing Mexico – Latest on FMM Visas

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Ali Hussainy caught his first fish, a trout, with his grandfather at the age of three, and that sparked a fire in him as he chased the next bite all over the sierras. When he caught his first bonito from the San Diego bait barge, his life changed again. Trout never had the same luster — he was on to larger fish. He now chases saltwater fish wherever they swim. His passion for fishing led to the creation of the fishing forum www.Bloodydecks.com, which he co-founded with Jason Hayashi in 2003. In the wintertime you can usually find Ali in the field or a duck blind, pursuing big game or waterfowl. Ali is president of BD Outdoors. To contact Ali send an email to [email protected]