Bahamian Flats Fishing Alliance: Flats Fishing Worth $141 Million Annually

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Key Largo, FL – March 25, 2010

To determine the economic impact of the bonefishing industry to The Bahamas, the Bahamian Flats Fishing Alliance (BFFA) commissioned an in-depth study, which has just been released. The results were astounding: the total economic impact of flats fishing in The Bahamas is nearly $141 million annually! Even in a time when global recession has caused fishing-related tourism to drop 11.6% from 2007, the fishery continues to provide considerable economic value to this region. The results of this study provide strong evidence of the need for responsible conservation and management of this vitally important cultural resource.

Expenditures by anglers were not just for guides and accommodations, but also for meals, transportation, and other goods and services that benefitted the economies of the many islands of The Bahamas. Anglers spent approximately 27% more than general visitors per visit, and 17% more per visitor night, further emphasizing the importance of recreational flats anglers to the economy of The Bahamas. The islands with the greatest economic benefit from flats fishing were Andros and Abaco, however all islands benefitted from flats anglers – direct expenditures on the Family Islands ranged from $3 million to more than $18 million.

This study shows recreational flats fishing in The Bahamas plays a large and important role in the economy of The Bahamas. This fishery and its associated economy can be maintained through good conservation of coastal habitats, water quality, and protection of fish populations.

With responsible conservation and management, this fishery can continue to be an important economic engine for The Bahamas, especially on the Family Islands, where the bonefish fishery is both economically and culturally important.

About The Study:

The study “The Economic Impact of Flats Fishing in The Bahamas” was funded by the Bahamas Flats Fishing Alliance – a partnership of the Bahamas National Trust, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and the Fisheries Conservation Foundation. The BFFA commissioned the study as an important first step in demonstrating to local communities and resource management agencies the need to protect the flats ecosystems that support an important part of the Bahamian economy.

About The Bahamas National Trust:

The Bahamas National Trustwasestablished by an Act of Parliament in 1959 and is mandated with the conservation of natural and historic resources of The Bahamas. The BNT is the only known non-governmental organization in the world with the mandate to manage a country’s entire national park system.For more information, contact (242) 393-1317, visit the BNT Website at www.bnt.bs, or email [email protected]

About Bonefish & Tarpon Trust:

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is a non-profit, science-based conservation organization dedicated to ensuring that bonefish, tarpon, and permit populations, and the fisheries they support, remain healthy and helping to restore the fisheries that have declined. BTT accomplishes this mission by funding conservation-focused research; working with local, national, and regional resource management agencies to improve regulations to protect these fisheries; and funding and conducting education of anglers and the public.  BTT uses scientific findings to advocate for fisheries conservation and works to ensure coastal habitats used by bonefish, tarpon, and permit are protected.  For more information, contact (239) 283-1622, visit the BNT Website at www.tarbone.org, or email [email protected]

About The Fisheries Conservation Foundation:

The Fisheries Conservation Foundation,founded in 2004, works to ensure that objective, peer-reviewed scientific information about fisheries and aquatic resources reaches policy-makers and the public, so that decisions concerning our aquatic resources are logical, informed, and based on the principles of sustainability. To accomplish that mission, FCF partners with anglers, NGOs, and governmental agencies to advance fisheries conservation efforts and protect aquatic and coastal habitats worldwide, For more information, contact (217) 531-9499, visit our Website at www.fishconserve.org, or email [email protected]

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