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80% DIY anglers is ‘absolute nonsense’

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The Fly Fishing Industry Association’s (BFFIA) president said yesterday it was “absolute nonsense” to suggest that so-called ‘do-it-yourself’ anglers (DIY) anglers represent 80 per cent of the industry, questioning the credibility of a 2010 survey that pegged the sector’s economic impact at $141 million.

Prescott Smith said that with the economic impact of flats fishing in the Florida Keys said to be around $465 million per year, this nation’s industry has the potential to exceed that value. 

“To say DIYs represent 80 per cent, when you know that there are 400 guides in the Bahamas, it is absolute nonsense,” he told Tribune Business.

“The people who fish with guides also stay in hotels .They rent a taxi among other things. There is definitely a lobby going on, and for me the legislation for this industry couldn’t come soon enough.”

Some members of the Bahamas Fly Fishing Association have been pushing for a law mandating all foreign fishermen use a local guide.

This has been deeply resisted by both foreign fishermen, Bahamian industry participants and many lodge operators.

Mr Smith, who backs mandatory guides, added: “The final draft is about to come out of the Attorney General’s Office, so there is going to be a lot of lobbying to water down the legislation. 

“Our sovereignty is being eroded. It’s not just about the guides and lodges; there is so much more at stake here. People like myself, they have our businesses on full boycott, trying to undermine and break our fight in this endeavour.”

Last month, while addressing the Exuma Business Outlook conference, Ellison ‘Tommy’ Thompson, the deputy director-general of tourism, said there was room for both ‘do-it-yourself’ anglers and those who hired Bahamian guides.

Mr Thompson said that according to industry data, anglers who use a guide directly inject $14.7 million into the Bahamian economy, and have a $15 million value added effect. This makes for a total economic impact of almost $30 million.

But anglers who do not use a guide spend $55 million, and create a $56 million ‘value added’ effect for a total $111 million impact. The latter sum is at risk should mandatory guides be pursued, Mr Thompson argued.

But Mr Smith said the 2010 study on the economic impact of flats fishing in The Bahamas, by Tony Fedler, from which those figures were drawn was not credible and lacked complete data.

“What some are pushing for is watered down legislation that, even if it passes, really has no teeth,” said Mr Smith.

Comments

The_Oracle 8 years, 8 months ago

In observing this latest "special interest fiasco" it seems that Mr. Prescott Smith, a supposed die hard PLP General in Andros is pulling a typical PLP lobbying effort on his own behalf. It is precisely this sort of garbage which is strangling the Bahamian economy. An online Permit for fly fishing is sufficient for foreign anglers, payable directly to the Ministry of Finance, or at time of foreign vessel entry or personal entry. A competitive market for guides and lodges is a good thing left the hell alone. To risk current income or industry for one apparent jackass (and his minions) is ludicrous! Is his product/lodge that bad?

GWilson 8 years, 8 months ago

It is obvious your observation has no credence. Whatever Prescott's personal political views may be, the proposed legislation transcends party politics. This is not about FNM, PLP or DNA but what is in the best interest of Bahamians and are fair across the board! The Association's recommendations to the proposed legislation can be found on their website http:www.bffia.org and even Stevie Wonder can see that they are "PRO-BAHAMIAN"! Stop speaking from the cuff and with misinformation and get your facts together. The only ludicrous jackass here is you and yours!

newcitizen 8 years, 8 months ago

It's to funny that Smith is trying to now discredit the 2010 study on the impact of flats fishing in the Bahamas, seeing as he has referenced it numerous times in the past to support his position. This is just an attempt to constrict competition in the flyfishing industry.

GWilson 8 years, 8 months ago

Really??!!! I do not see any documentation where Smith used the 2010 study to support 80% DIY. Only, where he referenced the $141M economic value from the 2010 Report. Please provide us with the facts that you have commented on here while I will provide you with some for your information. There is no hard core statistical data to substantiate the 80% and that our flatsfishing economic value of $141M suggested in the Report, prepared over 5 years ago. I opine they are inconclusive. The percentage of Guided and Unguided Anglers (DIY) visitors to the Bahamas also inconclusive. As for the Guides input, depending on which island you gather the information from, could contribute to the convoluted data's accuracy. Of the 200 plus BFFIA's Guide and Lodge members , very few said they had taken part in the survey conducted in 2009. Mr. Fedler stated that he lacked incomplete data and had to base the report primarily on assumptions. I quote from the report "The type of fishing (bonefishing or offshore fishing) was not indicated on the survey...........There were two limitations to this study that are important to note. First, the data used in this study was limited to party size, visitor night, and expenditure averages for anglers provided by the Ministry of Tourism in addition to the summary data contained in the VES report. Having the capability to analyze the primary VES data would have been very useful. Likewise, the ability to analyze the Ministry of Tourism Departure Card data to achieve bonefish angling data for each of the Bahamian islands would have been very beneficial. The absence of this capability resulted in allocating non-guided bonefish angling to each island based on the proportion of guided angler days. There are some problems inherent with these procedures....The inability to accurately allocate non-guided flats fishing to individual islands is exemplified by the number of non-guided angler nights for Nassau/New Providence in Table 4. According to the local guides, who are actively guiding nearly every day of the year, few nonguided anglers are observed throughout the year..". So you do the research and math and stop spreading non-sense!

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