Reductions in catch limits for sport fishing vessels take effect from January 1, 2007:
- From the existing 6 crawfish per person to only six per vessel
- From 20 pounds of demersal fish, such as groupers and snappers, per person to 20 pounds per vessel!
- From a total of six for pelagic fish (dolphins, kingfish, wahoo, tuna) per person to six per vessel
- All fish retained must be kept with head and tail intact while aboard the vessel or transported by air to facilitate identification during inspection
- From 6 conchs per person to prohibiting the catching of conch
Exceptions would be made for persons participating in authorized fishing tournaments, where approved rules set other catch limits.
The following is a response to the New Catch Limits being imposed as of the 1st of January, 2007 for the entire Bahamas.
This is a serious change in regulation that was done without consulting those in the marine industries. No consultation as to what affects it may have on tourism as a whole or if persons in the marine industries have insight as to what previous catch limits were being ignored or disregarded by any persons or groups of persons in particular. The previous catch limits are good, useful and appropriate guidelines that do not promote over fishing. However, that is not the problem; enforcement of those guidelines is non-existent.
If the new guidelines are imposed, I believe this will a have serious negative affect on tourism in the Bahamas. Boating in the Bahamas has a trickle down affect on many, many industries and areas of the Bahamas, including:
- Fuel consumption (taxes levied against every gallon of fuel sold)
- Cruising permit fee
- Marinas occupancy levels
- Commercial and Private passenger numbers
- Airport taxes & FBO fees
- Hotel and vacation rental
- Bars & Restaurants and gratuities paid to staff
- Commission on real estate sales
- Stamp tax to from real estate purchased
- Food Stores
- Retail stores
- Taxi & Public Buses
- Car Rentals
- Hardware & boating supply stores
- Shipping and Customs clearance
- Mechanic & engine service companies
Again, this is a serious change with far reaching implications. Is there a section of the Government that can represent all of the industries and sectors of the Bahamas and do what is best for Bahamians as a whole?
Vice President of Operations
Port Lucaya Marina