Recently a former member of the local government found himself in hot water for showing off his dinner through a social media post.
The dinner in question was a set of turtles prepared over a fire with a variety of different ingredients inside the dead animal’s former shell.
The picture sparked outrage amongst the local community, and it even led to environmentalist groups filing a complaint with relevant authorities to have this former public official tried for his crimes.
As it turns out hunting turtles or even damaging them or their eggs in any way is banned under Mexican law.
Sea lions and dolphins are other marine creatures that are heavily protected under local laws. Similarly, when it comes to fishing for Marlin and other species, you have to get a special permit for the activity.
This last situation is the one that gets most tourists in Cabo in trouble.
What Are The Consequences For Eating Turtle Meat In Cabo?
The fine for capturing, killing, collecting, or storing any type of turtle, dolphin, sea lion or any marine mammal sits at about 7 million pesos.
At the current exchange rate, that’s over 400 thousand dollars. This fine can also be accompanied by up to 9 years in jail.
If you didn’t notice, there’s a loophole in the law that could save this former public official and even tourists who come to Cabo and eat delicacies like turtle meat or dolphin meat — if they can find it served at a very shady restaurant.
Basically, just eating the food is not part of the list of crimes involving this type of animal meat.
The environmentalist groups that are going after this former public official need to prove that he was directly involved in these turtles’ hunting or storage process to have a case.
Apart from turtles, one thing tourists should be aware of is that some fish are also regulated in the area and are not ok for capture and consumption without proper permits.
Tourists can also run into problems when trying to import meat to their home country. This can be a problem even for people who come here and do legal fishing.
Not all of the fish that you catch in Cabo is going to be able to make the trip back with you, even if you’ve caught the fish in Cabo with the appropriate license to do so.
Controversial Dishes Like Shark Fin Soup May Be Available In Cabo
One of the more controversial dishes that is still served across the world, shark fin soup, may be available in Cabo and is actually legal to consume.
There have been suspensions of shark hunting for certain seasons. There’s yet to be a full national ban on the practice.
A lot like with the turtle meat example that we’ve previously explained, fishing may be sometimes banned, but consuming the meat is not.
Not long ago, shark fin soup was actually a popular local delicacy in Baja California. With the current stigma around that type of meat for obvious reasons, its sale has drastically diminished.
There are still some rumors out there which indicate that these types of dishes are currently being sold at local restaurants.
You’d have to go a bit off the grid though to find some of these places. Currently, most of the high-end, particularly seafood dining options in Cabo play it safe and tend to serve less controversial dishes.
Why It Doesn’t Make Sense To Risk Trying These Delicacies
In spite of the potential fines, there may be something else that curious eaters will want to take into account before trying some of these delicacies if they are offered to them in Los Cabos.
Since the storing of these animals is part of the list of crimes that can put you in very serious trouble most of the time if you can find this type of meat it’s not going to be stored in the best facilities.
This can considerably impact the quality of the meat by the time it reaches your plate. Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid the potential fines, you may not be able to avoid the stomach issues that could be coming your way after eating poorly stored meat.
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