Bahamas Winners and Losers

If the regulations proposed by the BFFIA and Fisheries passes there will be some winners and some losers. It is worth looking at the breakdown, as I see it.




Lodges – Yes, lodges will win in this scenario. They get rid of a great number of anglers, even locals, and get the waters mostly to themselves. The threat of harassment, the complicated license fees, the massive possible fines will keep DIY guys off the water, in large part. That means the water will be less pressured and the safest way to access any of it will be via a lodge with the lodge guides. This is the Quebec version of fisheries management.

The BFFIA – Made kingmakers by this legislation, they would get to determine who guides and who doesn’t. It puts them, and our good pal Prescott, in a position of power and authority to be able to dictate to the guiding community.

Cuba, Belize, Mexico – Those who don’t go to the Bahamas will go other places. Even if the DIY game is not the same, the animosity being created will keep some folks away, but they’ll still go fishing, just other places.

Um… I can’t see any other winners here.


Independent guides – The folks that came with their families and wanted to grab a day with a guide in addition to a little walking around on their own will, to one degree or another, go somewhere else. Having to get two different licenses for the different types of fishing isn’t great either. There will be fewer days of guiding for indie guides.

Assisted DIY providers – A different license, a different classification and having to deal with the BFFIA make this a much harder business to run under the newest proposed regs.

Smaller hotels/guest houses – Those places the families and DIY folks stayed at won’t get that business.

Small businesses – Some of the families who come to do some fishing and other activities will go other places, so fewer meals to be sold, fewer cars to be rented, fewer Kaliks to be sold.

Second home owners – A place like Abaco has a number of second home owners, some of whom have their own boats. They wouldn’t be able to fish with anyone else unless they hire a guide. It will likely mean some interesting places will be on the market though.

Bahamas Environment – If you have fewer people experiencing the wonders of the Bahamas, you’ll have fewer people who will care if some of that is destroyed. If fishing becomes less of an economic boost, other industries will fill the void and exploit the resource and cries to stop that will fall on ears slightly deafened by the reduction in the importance of angling. People fight for what they care about and they care about the things they know.

Bonefish research – The BFFIA is pretty much openly hostile to “American” science, even if Bahamians are deeply involved. If you look at who participates with the BTT you’ll notice a conspiciuos lack of BFFIA leadership.

Anyone who has disagreed with the BFFIA – The leadership here seems to really know how to carry a grudge. I can’t imagine they would use their new powers lightly. Maybe not immediately, but I’d bet some of the opposing forces would find it harder to do business if this sort of thing gets passed.

The average Bahamian – It has always been the case that the average Bahamian could walk out on their local flat, maybe right in front of their home, and fish. This changes that. Is that water considered a “flat?” Well, pay up or you can’t fish there. Considering how much of the Bahamas could be considered flats, that is a huge part of the country. I can’t imagine the local Bahamians have any idea they are about to have one of their birthrights stolen from right under their noses.


It is important to note that the proposed legislation does not outlaw DIY fishing, it just makes it much less appealing. The multiple licenses, the draconian fines, the possibility of being harassed on the flats, it all makes it likely to keep some people from heading to the Bahamas. Some business will continue to flow, but other business will dry up.



  1. Good points, unfortunately those who read this and have followed this issue are by and large the ones who are fortunate enough to be able to choose destinations.
    It’s the local mom and pop Bahamian who likely are in the dark that will truly suffer and I’m afraid this information in not being decimated to them.
    Thank you for your post.

  2. I am saddened by the apparent poor choice by the Bahamian Government.

  3. Sorry, disseminated. Not decimated, which would apply to others livelihoods.

  4. Bjorn, I am continued to be amazed/dumbfounded by the lack of foresight by the policy makers in the Bahamas. Sure there will be lots of people that still go and fish via the lodge route. That is what I have done in the past. But I will tell you it is completely off my list for family trips or a buddies DIY trip. AND I live in Florida. I have people that I consider friends there in lodge operations and feel terrible for them. I will tell you that for my next lodge trip Bahamas is not going to be first on my list, Belize or Mexico (maybe Honduras or others) will come first. Honestly why would I go where I am not welcome?

  5. Good wrap up. The fallout from Prescott’s selfie move will be worse, we think than anyone planned. Looking at his now shrunken by 80% BFFIA members, we see some pretty good guys caught up in this mess. Too bad. I am sure they will regret their “brown shirt” allegiance in years to come.

  6. This hás been One off the best, year for guides
    Why get 10 cents When for year You been gettingc$100 s
    Wake You Brain clientes we Love you
    Keep coming back Thanks
    Bonefish guides Love you

  7. I think this is a bunch of BS,I dont think any of that should be made law,they havent even had any town meetings,it is just a couple jerks trying to kill the bonefishing,they dont like Abaco is the bottom line let them try it in Andros and leave Abaco Guides alone,before they cause a big problem that my 5cents

  8. James L. Steyaart

    Well written article which clearly states the outcome of passing these shortsighted “regulations”. It is abundantly clear to an outsider, the proposed regulations are are power grab attempt by a few. This group hopes to push all anglers into hiring guides, charge exorbitant fees which will enrich their coffers and in general push the DIY anglers out of the Bahamas. There is a distinct xenophobic cast to the whole business.

    Fortunately, there are many Bahamians who welcome visiting anglers, whether DIY or guided, and for them we fly fishing visitors are grateful. It is sad if the proposed regulations are adopted we anglers will be deserting our Bahamian friends to fish elsewhere where we feel welcome. The economic loss to country will be huge, but sure the few who are behind this may make a dollar or two extra.

  9. Being a business owner on Andros with my own fishing lodge that proposal is going to make it hard for me to survive. most of my clients use a guide for a few days and then get one of my boats and DIY, but this proposal is going to run me out of business. So far in the last few months I have lost 40% of my business to Cuba, because my cliental are afraid of the new proposal. The BFFIA`S only interest is in their own personal gain. I hope the government will think seriously about the damage it does to the Bahaman businessmen like myself.

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