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Fly Fishing Penalties ‘Draconian, Hostile’

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The new fly fishing industry regulations’ penalties were yesterday described as “draconian, disproportionate and hostile”, with one high-end bonefishing lodge executive yesterday outlining several concerns over the reforms.

Peter Mantle, managing director of the The Delphi Club, a luxury bonefishing lodge and micro-hotel on Abaco, said that “despite the mitigation provided by the fixed penalty scheme, we consider the penalties for non-compliance with these regulations to be draconian/disproportionate, and therefore hostile”.    

V Alfred Gray, minister of agriculture and marine resources, yesterday said the regulations provided for a fixed $250 penalty for anyone engaging in fly fishing without a license.

But if a person is convicted by a magistrate, they could face a fine of up to $2,000, six weeks imprisonment or both. The fly fishing regulations are expected to take effect on January 9.

The regulations, approved by Cabinet last October, will require anglers above the age of 12, and who wish to fish in the flats, to apply for a personal angler’s license and pay a prescribed fee. Non-citizens will have to pay $15 for a day license, $20 for a weekly license, $30 for a monthly license and $60 for an annual license.

Mr Mantle said: “We have no problem in principle with the angler license requirement, but we have heard nothing about the practical implementation.

“We have not been officially informed by anyone as to whether there is even an online application system yet or how this will work in practice. In fact, we have not been officially informed about these regulations in any respect at any stage.”

Mr Mantle also expressed concerns over the stamping of licenses at a Bahamian ‘port of entry’, a concern which was also expressed by the international non-profit conservation organisation, Bone Fish Tarpon Trust.

“The proposed port-of-entry franking of licenses serves no obvious purpose. Such a bureaucratic overlay is unwelcoming and unnecessary,” he argued.

“ It is in everyone’s interest - including the Government’s - that the licensing process is as straightforward and easy as possible, with a simple online mechanism and no more, if compliance and revenue are to be optimised.

Mr Mantle continued: “The position of second homeowners with their own flats boats remains deeply invidious. Unless they fish alone (unwise for a number of reasons), they are compelled to take a guide - assuming that their boats do not qualify as “a Bahamian owned or licensed charter vessel” in Regulation 3.

“I think this is spectacularly unwise and will seriously damage interest in investment in the Bahamas. It is also, in effect, retrospective legislation that is always bad policy, and will affect people who have already invested large sums in the Bahamas.”

Mr Mantle also argued that the reference to “approved fly fishing associations” in relation to guide certification is “unnecessarily specific”.

“The Minister should be able to approve anybody or agency that he so chooses - not just a fly fishing association - to do the necessary; it might be a government agency, an independent training company, or whoever the Minister thinks has competence,” he added.

Comments

DDK 1 year, 11 months ago

The government and its agencies have no idea at all. Everything they do is motivated by greed. Do they not realize that they can't take it with them?

Have they ever heard about killing the goose that laid the golden egg? Either they do not understand or do understand and simply don't care. It just keeps getting worse.

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Hogfish 1 year, 11 months ago

so what do Bahamians pay? or this is only foreigners ?

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happyfly 1 year, 11 months ago

Bahamians can still go gill net bone fish by the millions to use as bait in their fish pots without any consequences

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avidreader 1 year, 11 months ago

Who, may I ask, is going to enforce these "sophisticated" new regulations? At Abaco, for example, it is quite a rare occurrence to see a policeman enforcing the traffic regulations (that most drivers have never even heard of) so who is going to oversee the fishing boats prowling the waters around and between the scattered cays and reefs? Too many rules, too little enforcement is the cry that goes up all over this country.

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juju 1 year, 11 months ago

So whose pocket will THESE funds go to? How will this be enforced? It most likely WONT be. Is Government aware that there are MANY, MANY other bone fishing locations not far from the Bahamas where fisherman will fish, and probably NEVER return. Again, another sad move by an oh so short sighted Government.

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Tarzan 1 year, 11 months ago

Read the story in today's Tribune about the young women and her efforts to register to vote, and then posit how many anglers are going to pay some times very high charter fees to travel to one of our out islands, only to find that "fishing licenses are coming next week", or "sorry we're on lunch break, come back tomorrow", or "you should have got that in Nassau, we can't issue those here". Total joke.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 11 months ago

Like the unregulated Haitian towns in Abaco ........... licenses are to obtained from that nice pretty new complex that Hubert Ingraham built ........... DUHHHHHHHH

That is where the fly-fishermen and guides go to get their fishing licenses .......... simple

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