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.