On Da Hook

BRINGING fish caught recreationally in the Bahamas back to Florida by water became a little easier this week.

The Bahamas Sport Fishing Network (BSFN) reported that a new exception went into place on September 13 in state waters, allowing anglers to possess and land filleted dolphin, wahoo and reef fish that were caught in Bahamian waters.

Similar allowances for dolphin and wahoo, as well as modifications to existing recreational regulations for reef fish managed as snapper-grouper being brought back from the Bahamas by water, went into effect in Atlantic federal waters in January, 2016.

These regulations apply to fish being transported by water only and do not apply to fish being transported or shipped by air.

The changes will allow more fishing freedom for Florida’s residents and visitors while creating consistency between state and federal regulations.

Some things to keep in mind when bringing recreationally caught dolphin, wahoo and reef fish managed as snapper-grouper back from the Bahamas by water are:

Skin must remain on the fillet (to aid in identification by law enforcement).

Anglers must comply with Atlantic federal bag and vessel limits.

Two fillets count as one fish toward the bag limit.

Vessels must have valid Bahamian cruising and sport-fishing permits.

Passengers must possess a valid government passport with current Bahamian stamps and travel dates.

Travel through state waters must be continuous and gear must remain stowed.

Fishing gear that is appropriately stowed means terminal tackle, such as hooks, leaders, sinkers, etc., must be disconnected and stowed separately from the rod and reel.

Fish landed under these exceptions cannot be sold.

Bahamian regulations may be different than those in US state and federal waters. Before you return with your catch, make sure you comply with the more restrictive US and Bahamian recreational bag and possession limits.

For example, species that are prohibited from harvest in the US, such as queen conch, goliath and Nassau grouper, cannot be transported back into US waters by boat.

Spiny lobster must be in whole condition and can only be transported into US waters during the recreational season (August 6 to March 31).

To learn more about bringing a Bahamian catch back to Florida, visit the MyFWC website and click on “Saltwater Fishing”, “Recreational

Regulations” and “Bahamas”.

Keep checking the BSFN expert page for fishing reports throughout the Bahamas: this will be helpful in tracking the “hot spots” and providing advice on gear and fishing methods being used.

For a sample of the spectacular fishing to be had in The Bahamas, expert advice, tournament dates and results, informative features and photo galleries visit the BSFN page at tribune242.com or www.bsfn.biz.

BSFN slideshows can be found on USA Today’s website in the Travel section at experience.usatoday.com.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment