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.
- Gink & Gasoline
- Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
- Nervous Waters
- Rod Hamilton (the DIY guy)
- Yellow Dog
- Hatch Magazine
- Delphi Club
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.