For the past several months, bonefish lovers in the U.S. have been hearing about proposed new regulations that would make fly-fishing in The Bahamas both more expensive and more difficult, especially for DIY anglers. Back in June, both the Bonefish on the Brain and Gink and Gasoline blogs were on the story of “scary” proposed regulations that seemed to represent an attempt by the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association to “to set up little fishing empires” and wrest control from foreign lodge owners and anglers. Orvis CEO Perk Perkins weighed in with his reservations, as well.
What followed were months of accusations, counter accusations, misinformation, and just plain bad blood. The debates in the comments section of Midcurrent’s story on the new rules got pretty personal. Questions about who was in charge, who would control the money raised by new fees, and who was being shut out of the process flew around the Interwebs.
Then Hurricane Joaquin struck, and it seemed that priorities were rightly directed to helping those guides and lodges affected.
Now, the official Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has issued a definitive press release that means–for the time being, at least–the months-long ruckus has been a whole lotta sound and fury, signifying nothing.
It can’t really be much clearer than “no restriction on fishing, no new taxes, no across the board increase in prices or licensing fees have been introduced.” But Bjorn Stromsness, of Bonefish on the Brain, is still wary that this is not the last we’ve seen of the BFFIA:
The Cliff Note version of my take on things is this… You want to go to the Bahamas, go ahead. You’ll be able to fish, DIY, semi-DIY, fully-guided, partially-guided, at least for now, and that won’t change abruptly or in the really short-term. Of course, I’d urge you to support those who have supported us, the anglers.
If you’d like to help those fly fishing guides and others affected by Hurricane Joaquin, click here.