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Mar 25th, 2012
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Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica #7234592
07/24/18 10:21 PM
07/24/18 10:21 PM
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deewayne2003 Offline OP
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For those of you that have flown into the country with fish/game taken abroad, I could use some input on an upcoming trip.

Myself and some buddies are looking at going Marlin fishing in Costa Rica in November and if possible would like to bring back some fish and was wondering if any of you guys had experience with this?

Besides catch and release Marlin fishing, I'd like to bring back some Dorado & yellow fin tuna fillets and have been told that as long as I declare it with customs and have it packed correctly that it shouldn't be a problem.

Plan being to take the fillets and freeze them in ziplock bags, line the yeti(two 40 soft) with a heavy mil plastic bag, fill the yeti up with ziplocks full of frozen fillets, seal it with a zip-tie and check it as luggage for the 6.5hrs worth of flights home.

I've been fishing in Costa Rica before and I'm looking forward to the trip, this is just my first time attempting to fly back with fish and I'm weary of dealing with customs without doing my homework first, so any advice from those who have done it would be appreciated.

FYI I also posted this on TFF, but it seems hit or miss with advise sometimes.

Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7234626
07/24/18 10:58 PM
07/24/18 10:58 PM
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Midland, TX
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Fitzwho Offline
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When I flew back from Alberta with moose meat it wasn’t that big of a deal dealing with customs coming back into the states, in a yeti hopper checked as baggage. I’ve carried frozen fish on a plane in a yeti hopper back from New Orleans with no issues as well.

Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7235162
07/25/18 02:55 PM
07/25/18 02:55 PM
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No problem, just be sure to follow the game laws for export and how fish has to be marked/identified. Some countries require portion of skin/tale to be left on fillet and clearly mark with name on each package if more than one fisher person so bag limits can be identified in case you are checked by game authorities. Usually not a problem as larger fish will be cut up in steaks. Personally I would not bring back any Marlin. It is good smoked for tacos but not worth bring home. Dorado, tuna or others is what I'd bring back. I've brought back fillets in soft sided coolers as carry on and also in hard cooler as checked baggage. If carry container full of frozen fillets then not much room for dry ice. I recently flew home with two bear head/hides simply frozen and placed in plastic bags and in a canvas duffle bag and then meat frozen in zip locks in hard cooler full. No issues.
Good luck

Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7235185
07/25/18 03:22 PM
07/25/18 03:22 PM
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HuntnFly67 Offline
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A buddy and I brought back two rolling Igloo coolers full of fish (dorado, yellowfin, and marlin) on American Airlines coming back from Cabo. We bought the coolers in Mexico and checked them as bags.

We ended up having to tape/seal them up with 'customs tape' at the airport.

Somehow, the coolers weighed 49#s each at the hotel and 53#s when we went through customs. We 'tipped' the customs guys in meat for their help and to get below the 50# max weight - fortunately the marlin was on top and we didn't lose the good stuff.

Last edited by HuntnFly67; 07/25/18 03:23 PM.

meh
Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7235237
07/25/18 04:26 PM
07/25/18 04:26 PM
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deewayne2003 Offline OP
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Well I don't have to worry about bringing back any Marlin since they do not keep any bill fish species in Costa Rican waters, and I really don't care to keep any Marlin either.

HuntnFly67 - When you checked the coolers as baggage, did you have to declare or mark them in any way other than the customs tape?

Last edited by deewayne2003; 07/25/18 04:27 PM.
Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7235256
07/25/18 04:52 PM
07/25/18 04:52 PM
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HuntnFly67 Offline
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Originally Posted By: deewayne2003
Well I don't have to worry about bringing back any Marlin since they do not keep any bill fish species in Costa Rican waters, and I really don't care to keep any Marlin either.

HuntnFly67 - When you checked the coolers as baggage, did you have to declare or mark them in any way other than the customs tape?


I believe we declared that it was fish, and that was about it; we had them on dry ice, too. I remember thinking to myself, "That's it?!?!...really?!?" I sure didn't say anything out loud about how simple the process seemed.

Last edited by HuntnFly67; 07/25/18 04:53 PM.

meh
Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7235759
07/26/18 02:05 AM
07/26/18 02:05 AM
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I just stuck in my bag frozen claimed it and they didnt even check the bag just told us to go through, if your going to Los Suenos go to the Jimmy T provisions at the marina he will vaccumm seal and freeze it foe you.

Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7236782
07/27/18 12:51 AM
07/27/18 12:51 AM
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We are fishing out of Quepos… I'll have to check and see if the marina there offers vacuum sealing and sells dry ice.

Did the airlines give you any issue, charge you extra or make you mark your cooler as "dry ice"?

Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7237059
07/27/18 12:07 PM
07/27/18 12:07 PM
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I tried to bring Dorado back from Cabo , called and checked , got ok'ed , followed the rules . At the Cabo airport a custom's guy told me it was illegal and took it all .

Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7237082
07/27/18 12:26 PM
07/27/18 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted By: deewayne2003
We are fishing out of Quepos… I'll have to check and see if the marina there offers vacuum sealing and sells dry ice.

Did the airlines give you any issue, charge you extra or make you mark your cooler as "dry ice"?


Fished out of Quepos twice. Which guide are you using?


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Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: deewayne2003] #7237294
07/27/18 03:38 PM
07/27/18 03:38 PM
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I've done it a number of times. If you use dry ice (which I do) you MUST build a vent into your cooler or they'll remove it and you're screwed. CO2 build up at altitude can turn your cooler into a mini-bomb.

On a cooler with a drain, they will usually let you by with simply leaving the cap open as long as it's not directly blocked by anything in the cooler. On cheap coolers without a drain, you'll have to drill a hole in the top or wedge something into the lid so it will stay slightly cracked. Once it's past security at the airport duct tape the hell out of your lid and don't trust the latches.

Note of caution... I used to buy heavy duty "airline approved" Styrofoam coolers (3 inch sides), and drill a hole and insert a "straw" as a vent. That way I wast worried about baggage handlers screwing up a nice cooler. Stopped doing that on my last trip to Cabo after I watched styrofoam chunks and bag after bag of half thawed dorado come rolling down the baggage carousel at DFW. realmad



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Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: TXHOGSLAYER] #7239678
07/30/18 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted By: TXHOGSLAYER
Originally Posted By: deewayne2003
We are fishing out of Quepos… I'll have to check and see if the marina there offers vacuum sealing and sells dry ice.

Did the airlines give you any issue, charge you extra or make you mark your cooler as "dry ice"?


Fished out of Quepos twice. Which guide are you using?


TXHOGSLAYER - In the past we have used Captain John @ "Quepos Fish Adventure", Capt John is originally from Texas and he runs a good operation http://www.queposfishadventure.com/OurBoat.html For day trips inshore and offshore he's 2md to none is that area and has been operating & living down there year round for 10+ years I believe.

Capt John doesn't offer the sea mount/ multiday on boat trips so he referred me to Justin DeBoom of Caribsea - https://caribseasportfishing.com/

diablodog - If there is one thing that 20years in the construction industry has taught me is that documentation makes or breaks an argument- Especially when dealing with inspectors, customs agents, TSA, Ect…..

That's why I always bring documentation with me when ever I travel with certain items; I have confirmation emails clarifying the legality of bringing back seafood from the USDA, FWS, CBP and Untied Airlines. That way when a customs, TSA, CBP or other "Agent" tells me I cant do it - I simply hand them the printed rules from their own website and then the clarification email from their own agency.

dkershen - United Airlines flat out will not accept any Styrofoam coolers period and since its an international flight they charge $200 "hazmat" charge for simply allowing you to bring up to 5.5lbs of dry ice on their plane. Also they will NOT allow "wet ice"(regular frozen water) in packed coolers on their planes either.

So the plan is to bring my yeti Two40 with me and load it up with the frozen fish and add 4 - 10x14" gel freezer packs inside the yeti with the fish and head to the airport.

Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: diablodog] #7239998
07/30/18 07:46 PM
07/30/18 07:46 PM
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Red River Co.
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Originally Posted By: diablodog
I tried to bring Dorado back from Cabo , called and checked , got ok'ed , followed the rules . At the Cabo airport a custom's guy told me it was illegal and took it all .


I brought Tuna back from Cabo. Did it as a checked bag. Didn't have any problems.

Re: Flying Back Fish/Game from out of the country - Fish from Costa Rica [Re: diablodog] #7240880
07/31/18 05:53 PM
07/31/18 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted By: diablodog
I tried to bring Dorado back from Cabo , called and checked , got ok'ed , followed the rules . At the Cabo airport a custom's guy told me it was illegal and took it all .


I've brought Dorado back from Cabo several times a year. new law or just the questionable customs agent?
Headed back there in Oct

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