Last year, we were all asunder about proposed regulations for flats fishing in the Bahamas that might clamp down on DIY fishing, perhaps influence foreign-owned lodges, and much more.
Today, Rena Glinton, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries in the Bahamas, very coolly, very collectedly, addressed a press conference and outlined a list of very rational, proposed regulations.
They aren’t going to inhibit the flats fishing in the Bahamas. They are going to make fishing in the Bahamas even better.
In sum, visitors are going to be required to get a license. It’s reasonably priced: $20 for a week, or $60 for a year. A good of that money is going to be earmarked directly toward conservation causes.
If you’re on vacation with the family, want to walk the beach with a fly rod before the kids wake up, and you have your license… you’re fine. Parties of two anglers fishing from a boat, will need to hire a guide.
Guides will all be certified by groups (that’s plural… and that’s important), that set uniform standards.
Visiting anglers are catch-and-release anglers, period.
So the guides will be consistent and held to standards. The 37,000 visitors who visit the Bahamas every year to fish will pay a license fee (as they should) to support conservation of the resources. The fishery will be better managed. Local guides will be the gatekeepers for most visiting anglers. Tourism appeal will improve even more. And the Bahamas will retain its rank as the world’s premier bonefishing destination.
If ever there were a win-win outcome, this is it. And I don’t think I—or anyone else who walked into that press conference today—saw that coming.
Said AFFTA president Ben Bulis: “cooler heads prevailed in the Bahamas and the new flats fishing regulations announced today clearly shows the fly-fishing industry and the interests of the resource remain high priorities in the Bahamas. The Bahamas are now, and will always be, open for anglers.”
Have a Kalik, and thank our neighbors in the Bahamas.