Just for some perspective

A special fish. My first DIY fish. Not big, but my own.

A special fish. My first DIY fish. Not big, but my own.

The proposed fines for fishing without a license in the Bahamas of $5,000 (not to mention the possible 3 month jail time) is, to put it bluntly, nucking futs.

Here’s some perspective:

For Florida – According to the Fish and Wildlife Commission website which by the way is very detailed and confusing….. fishing without a license is a level one violation and is a non criminal infraction. The fine is $50 plus the cost of a license; the saltwater license is $17.00 however non resident is $47.00. – A la Google


The California DFG has hundreds of regulation pertaining to sport fishing (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/).  To to keep it simple, we focused on violations and the associated fines, which affect bass anglers. To start, fishing without a valid license will cost an offender $100 ($25 if that person can provide proof of a license in court).  Catching and keeping an undersized fish will cost $100 and an additional $20 for every fish under the size limit the game warden finds in your possession.  Having caught and kept more than a limit of a specific species will run an offender $100 (this fine various by species).  For example, a white sturgeon violation is $500 and another $20 for each fish over the limit.  Fishing with two poles, without the $13 validation stamp will net a $100 fine. – http://aaronlesieur.com/bass-fishing-articles/the-department-of-fish-and-game-know-the-law/


And… let’s talk about a three month prison term for fishing without a license. It doesn’t sound like a great place.

I’m sickened by all of this.

There are many kinds of fishing that won’t be impacted at all, of course. Taking a party boat out to fish a reef, or trolling for Wahoo, those are fine. If you want to fish a lodge and do nothing else, you are fine, just have to pay a bit more. Lodges might see some drop-off, but not much. Deep sea folks shouldn’t seem much of a dip. The independent guides should be worried and the sectors of the economy that cater to the DIY and family trip anglers should be furious.

I have to say, one of the most striking things for me, and more striking than the $5,000 fine, is that these regulations would prevent local Bahamians from walking out their front doors to fish. It makes the whole thing elitist to a striking degree. How many simple Bahamians have $100 to throw at a license. There was a recent story about how a shocking number of middle class Americans could not find a way to pay for a $400 emergency. In the Bahamas, where the minimum wage is $4.00/hour, that situation has to be worse.

These regulations would take a national resource, a birthright for Bahamians, and would restrict it to well-to-do tourists.

The only way the average Bahamian is going to be OK with this is if they have no idea it is coming, and I have to think they don’t.



  1. Remove the emotion from it – Is $100 for a week on top of air fares, rental car, accommodations and food, not to mention equipment, rods,reels, lines etc etc really the issue ?

  2. $100 isn’t going to break me. That’s not my issue at all. My issue is that these jokers want to exclude everyone but a chosen few from the flats, even the Bahamians, who live there. I am appalled and the likely economic fallout, at the draconian nature of the penalties and how this effort is being driven by a few people with selfish and damn near evil intentions. Is $100 going to cause me to lose any sleep? No. But these regulations will do bad things to the economy of a place I kind of love and a lot of good people are going to get hurt. That bothers me.

  3. Actually 10-14 days for husband and wife for random hours of flats fishing is more like $400 , which starts to become absurd. Personally, if that was the only issue I could live with it, but not with knowing the ugly circumstances in its design.

  4. When asked what i wanted to do for my 50th birthday party, I told my family – “Walk the flats of the Bahamas” I was totally selfish and booked the trip together with a boat for the week. As i understand it today, i could actually go to jail if i am not with a guide. Could this be true? If so, they ruined my birthday….

  5. Not yet. This isn’t the law and it might never be, but this is the future a segment would choose. You are probably fine, but that next birthday is in some question.

  6. You are right about one thing Bjorn, a very select few people, including the kingpin in all of this, are definitely taking advantage of their fellow countrymen, especially the less informed or those who have no access to the internet or ability to comprehend what is actually being written.

    But they’ll go tell stories of a mothership coming in without native guides raping the resource and say “that’s why we need to do this”. When in reality, we ALL agree something needs to be done about that in particular…..but they take it to extremes and go crazy on everything else— all in the name of nationalism and pushing their own private agendas so that they can benefit and nobody else.

    It’s really a bizzaro world with what’s happening in the Bahamas. What someone in the BFFIA must have on certain government officials must be pretty good. What government official in their right mind would buy into this kind of lunacy if there wasn’t something else going on to force them into it? Weird.

    But it’s their country right? Ugh. I know they stand to lose my tourist dollars and those of others I know if this keeps up. And it will be those unsuspecting people (many of which I call my friends after the last 10 years of visiting the islands) that will lose out without even knowing. That’s the sad part of it all.

    I really feel for my Bahamian friends when they have a wolf running around in sheeps clothing like this, and don’t even realize it.

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