BAHAMAS REGULATIONS UPDATE
Many anglers throughout the US and throughout the world have been closely following the developing situation in the Bahamas regarding proposed regulations that would effectively shut down DIY fishing, discriminate against foreign-owned lodges, and require that all anglers that desire to fish the Bahamas hire an “approved” Bahamian guide. Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures has been very vocal in speaking out against these proposed regulations in their current form, and many of our clients and associates have sent emails to the Bahamian government to weigh in on this issue as well.
Regulations that are truly pro-conservation and designed to protect the flats fishing resources of the Bahamas are great, and Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures as a business will whole-heartedly support such efforts. A common-sense and fully-open fishing license program that generates money for conservation and enforcement would also be a great thing, and we fully support this idea as well. Nationalistic laws designed to give a competitive advantage to one group of guides and lodges over others, however, are ridiculous. The proposed regulations are nothing short of a shallow attempt at a power grab by a small number of disgruntled guides. These proposed regulations being championed by this small group of disgruntled guides and their political allies are in our opinion a dangerous solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist.
When all of the recent brouhaha began over a month ago, we believed the issue would quickly be put to rest. After all, fly fishing and destination angling is vital to the economy of the Bahamas and especially the less-visited Bahamian out-islands. As one of the largest angling booking entities working throughout the Bahamas, we know first-hand the impact that destination angling has on every lodge, guide and outfitter that we work with throughout the islands. The jobs that fly fishing generates and the money that destination angling pours into the economies of the out-islands is significant. Why a small number of individuals and government Ministers would promote such short-sighted legislation that directly threatens jobs and income for Bahamians is frustrating to all of us that fish, visit and love the Bahamas.
The bad news is that after two recent meetings in the Bahamas, things seem to be getting worse. It now looks like these new proposed regulations have a very good chance of taking hold. It is imperative that anglers that who care about fishing in the Bahamas continue to weigh in on the subject and let their voices be heard.
As a follow-up to previous position statements, Yellow Dog has been working with several of our Bahamian lodge partners and with Aaron Adams of the Bonefish Tarpon Trust (BTT) to collaborate and craft a comprehensive conservation and management plan for the Bahamas bonefish fishery. We commend Aaron for taking a leadership role on the issue, and we’re pleased that BTT is stepping up with legitimate ideas and recommendations that can constructively contributions to the ongoing efforts. We are asking all anglers that have an interest in the long-term health of the Bahamian fishery to weigh in and add their name to these proposed recommendations. Our hope is that this document can serve as a focal point for moving forward: a comprehensive and legitimate conservation plan that includes conservation, education, and enforcement to ensure a healthy bonefish fishery for the future.
If you would like to read the recommendations and add your name to the list of signatures in support of the “Points of Consideration for Bahamas Bonefish Fishery Management statement”, please CLICK HERE. (http://btt.org/bahamas) and submit.