In case you haven’t heard, The Bahamas has put out a new draft of fishing regulations and licensing requirements. Unlike last year’s proposal, which went nowhere, this year’s does not outright ban Do-It-Yourself flats fishing. However, that is where the good news ends, and the bad news more than makes up for this new version’s improvements.
It’s really more of the same, and I’m not going to mince words. A group of guides based on Andros, the so-called Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association (see the draft there if you’d like), led by Prescott Smith, is trying to control the flats fishing business in The Bahamas under the guise of a nativist effort to take back the flats from pesky foreign anglers. And the good news for that group is that the government seems to be a willing accomplice.
The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust has published their response, as has the Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association (and here). As well, see Rod Hamilton’s DIY Bonefishing and Bjorn Stromsness’s Bonefish on the Brain for more on this. Read the comments on those two blogs, too.
If you fish in the Bahamas, whether it’s DIY fishing or at a lodge, this will affect you negatively. Write to the Bahamian government and express your views NOW using the contact information below (send or cc: to each address):
Michael Braynen, Director, Department of Marine Resources – MichaelBraynen@Bahamas.gov.bs and firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Albury, Senior Member for Permanent Secretary of Fisheries – ANGELAALBURY@bahamas.gov.bs
V. Alfred Gray, Minister of Marine Resources – email@example.com
Obie Wilchcombe, Minister of Tourism – firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Hubert Minnis, Leader of the Opposition – email@example.com
Gary Sawyer, Senator, Abaco – firstname.lastname@example.org
Renardo Curry, Member of Parliment, Abaco – email@example.com
Cindy Pinder, AFFGA – firstname.lastname@example.org