Bahamas Regulations

Here’s the ongoing list of folks who voice concern about the proposed regulations. It’s a good list. It’s a list of people and organizations who love and care for the Bahamas.

A few thoughts.

  • No other permitting system I’m aware of allows the issuer to deny a permit to fish. You have the cash and your information and you get the permit. In the proposed rules you can simply be denied a permit. You could fly from Seattle to Long Island, a trip you might have spent months planning, only to find the person you need to get a license from says “no.” An impartial on-line system would be the best solution. That would seem easy.
  • I’ve heard over and over again foreign lodges are not being targeted. I would ask why there was language specifically in the proposed regulations about foreign owned lodges if they were not being targeted. Those who say foreign lodges are not to be targeted seem to be standing under a full, blue sky and insisting the sky is green. The lodge owners seem to think they are being targeted, and they are the ones on the ground, so I’m going to say they are at risk.
  • While the beach walking DIY angler may, or may not have a hard time getting their permit to fish, the second-home owner who brought over his boat is just flat SOL in this proposal. Now, I’m not one of the lucky SOBs who is in that camp, but I’d be pretty sore if I’d spend all that money and then had the rug yanked out from under me. I have a friend who rents a house that comes with use of a little boat. It is not a flats boat, but a more pedestrian boat with a small outboard. He uses the boat to motor out 10 or 15 minutes to a flat near where he stays to wade another flat. Sounds like he’d be SOL too. Seems wrong to me to make those activities criminal.
  • There is an argument along the lines of “It is their country, let them do what they want.” I’m going to say that’s a silly argument. The people who are up in arms love the Bahamas and think the proposed regulations will be bad for the Bahamas. They (me included) fear for the Bahamas, for the people there, if this thing (or anything much resembling it) comes to pass. Business is going to drop, maybe dramatically in the Family Islands, and that will mean a people who often make due with very little will have even less to live on. It could be an artificially created economic recession that will cost jobs and bring hardship.

It is my hope the crisis can be averted. I’d even go so far as to say it is likely. Don’t go changing your travel plans just yet. The odds of you being able to walk the flats next year is high. The odds are good because folks like you have let their voices be heard, shared their concerns and their love of the Bahamas. Thank you to all who have written in to the Bahamas government on this. I’ll try to keep folks as in the loop as I can.




  1. Bjorn, I see a lot of concern and mention of banning DIY or fishing, but it’s nowhere in the proposed legislation. Where is the perception of threat to the DIY angler coming from? Just wondering if you know this is a verifiable imminent threat or just chicken littles yelling that the sky is falling. I’ve emailed fisheries and the pm to voice the concern over DIY particularly, since all five of the trips I have taken to the Bahamas have been family affairs with only a day or two to hire a guide, and the rest of the time sneaking out in the morning to catch a couple near the lodgings.

  2. bonefishbjorn

    Well, DIY from your own boat (not something I’ve been fortunate enough to do) certainly IS addressed in the regs. If you have a boat, you need a Bahamian Captain. So, that part is fairly clear.

    In terms of the by-foot DIY angler I think the threat is more subtle. First, you need a permit and the regs suggest you would get that permit from a guide or lodge, who would have no reason to be happy about you DIYing it and could (and this is the really odd part) could just deny you the permit. If that were to happen, you’d just be SOL.

    I think the third part of this is more iceberg like. There are some provisions here that are either directly (boat DIY) or indirectly (permit denial) looking at DIY anglers, but it seems there is malice aimed at the DIY folks from some of the people driving the process. Once the doors close on public comments I think we have reason to fear what may come out in the final regs. The public comment time was so limited, it seems like someone was trying to ram this home before people could get worked up about it, but the opposite has happened and now it is less likely rash and poorly thought out regs will get put in place.

    That’s my take on things.

  3. Thanks all for voicing your concerns! Not sure who were consulted during the drafting! The response to the draft tugs at the creditability of many! Very few Bahamians support the bill in its present form….would love to see who are in the yes column???

  4. bonefishbjorn

    Thanks for weighing in Felton.

  5. I definitely see about the DIY boating concerns. I wasn’t paying particular attention to it, because, like you, it’s not something I’ve been able to do. I hope they don’t pass it as is on that point, but the fear of losing even DIY wading ability is horrible. I think the ability to submit the application for a permit to the Department of Marine Resources or the Family Islands Administrator (less so) gives someone to grant a permit that isn’t as personally vested as a guide or lodge operator. The FIA’s have an interest in getting visitors on the island for everyone’s benefit, not just the lodges and guides. Without knowing the system on how to do it, it still makes me nervous. Online systems are the way to go, hopefully that will happen sometime. It’ll be a damn shame if it goes down as feared.

    Thoroughly enjoy the blog, btw. If the sky does fall, I’ll be checking it more often to see where I can go next.

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