Bahamas Moves to Protect Fly Fishing Industry

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Fish&Fly
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Source: The Bahamas Weekly by Travis Cartwright Carroll

Nassau, Bahamas — For the first time The Bahamas’ fly fishing industry will have regulations to help sustain one of the country’s most popular sports.

The regulations, which come into effect on January 9, 2017, will establish a regulated fly fishing industry in The Bahamas.

It was the culmination of months of work between the Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism with public consultation.

Deputy Director General in the Ministry of Tourism Ellison ‘Tommy’ Thompson said “both the public and private sectors collaborated extensively on the new legislation with the aim of sustainable development of the fly fishing sector”.

“Our aim was to make the industry sustainable for those working in the sector and for those enjoying the natural environment and sporting activities of The Bahamas.”

The regulations will require anglers ..."

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moucheur2003

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This is actually a very controversial and perhaps unwise move, and a very superficial piece of journalism. If the aim is to support a more prosperous bonefishing industry, it may well have exactly the opposite effect. Even before the legislation passed, it was provoking anglers to avoid the Bahamas in favor of other bonefishing destinations. My guide last March told me his bookings were down 30%.

Moreover, as a practical matter, the government has not yet figured out how to sell the required fishing licenses or police the vast areas of regulated water. What if you get there in a month or two and there still is no place on your island to buy a license? Your guide can't take you out. What if you team up with a few buddies to rent a place on an out island for a few days of inexpensive DIY, only to find out that they really mean it when they say that any boat with more than one person in it must have a licensed guide? What if that island has no licensed guides?

Here's a more cynical take on the new regulations:

Bahamas Regulations – Done Deal | Bonefish on the Brain
 
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trout trekker

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We decided to take a pass on our plans for a Bahamas trip this year. I'm at the point in life where I don't do "iffy" when real money is involved. If and when they get a better grip on license availability, ( 24/7 airport kiosk, internet licensing, etc. ) and come to their senses about visiting private parties, families and friends fishing together, unguided from a watercraft, we'll put them back on the list.
The dollars allotted for that trip will be going to another ( lesser discussed ) destination...

Here's to seeing them get it all sorted out soon,
Dave
 

labradorguy

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A group of us used to take private boats across to Andros, Bimini, Grand Bahama, etc... whenever the urge hit. We would camp on the beach, wade the flats, and just enjoy the remoteness of it all. Before we headed back, we always stopped at some out of the way tiki bar and spent a lot of USD in a Hemingwayesque fashion. I guess those days are over....
 

flyminded

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The way these changes were "implemented" as a revision to existing laws as opposed to a new law would appear to have circumvented normal protocol and discussion in the Bahamian Parliament requiring them to be voted on by the members.

The locals, at least on Abaco, seem somewhat unaware of these changes and unknowing of how or where to procure a license.

Going to be an interesting trip at the end of this month.
 

flyminded

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Further to a discussion with Bahamian Ministry of Agriculture - licenses should be available at their office, the local Island Administrators and at Customs upon arrival.

Application forms for licenses are available online.
 

moucheur2003

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The guides on Abaco hate these new rules. Here's their critique. It seems to me to offer a number of fair points.

Looks as though there's a feud going on between the Andros guides and the Abaco guides, with foreign clients, foreign second-home owners and renters, and even amateur Bahamian anglers caught in the middle.
 
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flyminded

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Been in the Bahamas diy for the last 12 days .... the flats are empty and the bonefish are hungry ....can't see why it wouldn't be a good time to be here.

Licensing went smoothly .... yeah there are some issues in the rules as defined but I'm not sure that's a reason to boycott the islands.
 

flyminded

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My thinking maybe selfish, but if everyone else heads to Belize and Yucatán....seems to me the Bahamian flats will see less pressure.
 
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