Hurdles for Flats Fishing Regulations and What Happens After

“The draft bill and accompanying regulations are not an effort to stifle, prevent or prohibit any category of anglers from fly fishing within the Islands Of the Bahamas, or to restrict international investor participation in the sector.”

So says a Ministry of Tourism press release.

This thing might not have the legs it needs to get through the cabinet. In fact, there seems to be a swelling of internal opposition to the proposals as people wake up to the realities and potential economic pitfalls.

So… we might be able to, in not too long, collectively breath a sigh of relief. Maybe. Depending. At least, well, there’s a good chance. (How many outs can I give myself in one paragraph?)

Underlying what might, just might, be the successful offing of the horribly thought out and disastrously presented proposals, there may be a few issues we need to discuss and consider.

The bill’s popularity with some is grounded in the stark realities they are facing. Consider the bill would have provided duty exemptions for guides for items such as boats, trucks, fly rods and reels, etc.. That would help guides get better, newer gear to grow their businesses for something closer to market rates instead of the hugely inflated costs once you add transportation AND duty costs.

The move to effectively ban most DIY was popular with many guides and they had their reasons. We might do well to examine what those reasons are. Maybe things have become a bit too easy on the DIY front. Maybe not everyone who heads out to one of the Out Islands acts like a perfect gentleman. Maybe we need to think about how we can help the Bahamians to better promote themselves and their services.

The ban on mother ships, ban on foreign guides and the introduction of a reasonably priced and easy to obtain fishing license were all widely supported elements of the proposal. If just those bits survived, they would be welcomed by the vast majority (assuming the money went towards conservation or preserving the fisheries).

If this thing does die, and let’s hope it does, we may need to think about what other elements need to be resurrected, changed, and re-proposed.

Those proposals almost certainly can’t come from the current leadership of the BFFIA, who have lost international respect and proven to be the most divisive of leaders. Even if you are for the proposals, you have to think the presentation and roll-out has been nothing short of a disaster and if you don’t know whose feet to lay that disaster at, you are willfully blind.

So, let’s keep up the pressure. Let’s let the other stakeholders know how we feel and let’s try to do a little introspection of our own and see what has merit, what doesn’t, and what we can do to make our impact a little softer on those who have felt wronged by the current state of affairs.

Andros South in the morning.

Andros South in the morning.

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  1. Spot on. A perfectly balanced perspective. No Chicken Little hysteria. Just some reasoned thoughts on how can we make things better for the stakeholders, the environment, and the sport. Good post, Bjorn.

  2. The DIY aspect is certainly touchy, all DIY anglers should always respect any guide and their clients. It would seem islands and cays with a limited number of flats this would be a significant issue, however the same areas generally have a very small number of guides as well, and if given “exclusivity” the negative economic impact of non-visiting anglers to the area would seem greater than any benefit to the few….. seems touchy to me, but obvious. Could it be “left as is” is these cases is perhaps the best solution ??

  3. Great post and the right kind of approach to shape the proposed legislation into something beneficial to the industry.

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