Did you know that Puerto Rico once boasted some of the best bonefish flats in the Caribbean? Ted Williams used to fish there and one flat in particular, La Parguera, was renowned for its gray ghosts.
Times have changed. Puerto Rico is no longer looking after its natural resources as it should… as California, Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Georgia do, as the Bahamas does and as Belize has recently done.
The culprit is the gill net. Unattended, indiscriminate killers of sea life.
In Florida the gill net ban has been credited with the revival of the snook fishery. In California a gill net ban has been hailed as the key step to restoring White Sea Bass and Halibut. Pretty much every place a ban has been put in place and enforced good things have happened for fisheries and anglers.
As long as the gill nets stay, the bonefish will suffer and the tourist dollars that should go to Puerto Rico will be spread around the Caribbean to other countries.
Darn shame. Some lessons are harder to learn than others. I’m hoping that Puerto Rico can let go of the gill net habit, which would only be a positive for the Puerto Rican fishery and economy.