The argument has always been economic. Sure, there was some noise about conservation, but the idea catch and release anglers were somehow a major threat to the entire Bahamian fishery was always a bit of misdirection. It’s the economy, stupid.
Folks are paying attention and they are starting to do their own math and that math reveals what so many of us have been saying for so long… banning DIY is a great way to cut a big chunk out of the Bahamian economy.
Ellison Thompson, Deputy Director-General of Tourism, said “The question is do you want to alienate the DIYs when you look at the economic impact. You can say everyone who comes has to have a guide, but I think you would be cutting off a lot of money.”
Read the whole story here.
The thing we have to keep sight of is that this was never a plan embraced by everyone. There have been plenty of Bahamians who thought this whole business was a disaster from the get-go. That’s why I’ve never been a fan of the whole “boycott” idea. Why punish the people who saw this for what it was and fought tooth and nail against it?
Sure, you can catch bonefish in Belize and Mexico and Cuba and Hawaii, Christmas Island, Australia, the British Virgin Islands, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Cook Islands, Los Roques and more. Even if the Bahamas was shut down 100%, you could still go catch a bonefish. So, you could boycott the Bahamas, but that seems misguided to me. Go where you want to go. Fish the waters that call out to you. If you love Belize, go to Belize. If you love the Bahamas, go to the Bahamas. It looks more and more likely you won’t have misguided and unfriendly legislation to contend with.
Fingers crossed and thank you to all the Bahamians who have been pro-angler. We’ll repay your effort with days walking Bahamian flats and evenings of cracked conch and cold Kalik.