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The Battle for Bonefish and the Future of the Bahamas, Part 2

by Beau Beasley
Fly Fishing for Bonefish, Acklins Bahamas

Wade Fishing, Acklins Island, Bahamas photo by vincet1

(Read Part I)

The island nation of the Bahamas boasts the largest saltwater flats in the entire Caribbean, reputedly ten times larger than those of Mexico. Countless celebrated saltwater species—including bonefish, tarpon, permit, snook, crabs, shrimp, and lobster—call these flats home. Protecting the future of these flats in perpetuity is, unsurprisingly, of paramount importance to interested stakeholders, who include Bahamian fishing guides and lodge owners, governmental officials, and all other citizens who benefit from the nation’s sporting tourism.

This article is part two of a series on the controversy surrounding proposed conservation legislation in the Bahamas. (Read Part I of the article here.) From the beginning, Bahamian legislators have faced strong opposition to the proposed Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act, which seeks to more closely regulate fly fishing guides and lodges and establish a saltwater conservation fund paid for by the sale of fishing licenses. Among its most vocal critics are foreign lodge owners who fear they are about to be regulated out of business, and local fly fishing guides, many of whom have invested their life savings—and a lifetime’s worth of sweat equity—in their Bahamian businesses.

This article examines critics’ complaints about the proposed measure, which include:

  • Its protectionism has resulted in more than a little bad press for the island nation;
  • The legislation talks a good game about conservation but is woefully short on specifics;
  • No mechanism is in place in the legislation to account for the funds collected from the sales of fishing licenses; and
  • It severely curtails do-it-yourself (DIY) fishing.

The article also examines ongoing conservation work in the Bahamas and provides an overview of the bill’s possible future.

Protectionism in Conservation Clothing?

As written, the draft legislation requires anyone fishing recreationally from a boat to hire a certified Bahamian guide. In fact, the current language is so restrictive it would even require locals who own a second home in the Bahamas and have their own boats to hire a guide when fishing. This sort of stipulation, critics charge, demonstrates that the measure is little more than a jobs bill cloaked in the veneer of conservation legislation. Abaco Lodge co-owner Oliver White contends, “I don’t know what this legislation is about, but it sure isn’t about conservation.”

Protectionism certainly isn’t new—but neither is it obviously effective. Indeed, protectionist legislation often proves the economic “law of unintended consequences” rather spectacularly. What should perhaps give proponents pause is the fact that even many locals have raised boisterous objections to the proposed measure.

What disgruntled locals understand is that this issue has generated plenty of bad press for the Bahamas. What they wonder now is, will the acrimony result in a downturn in the tourism on which this island nation’s economy depends?

“I do feel the negative press is having an impact on all the lodges in the Bahamas,” says Miriam Cartwright, owner of Greenwich Creek Lodge. “Guests are being put off from travelling here. If anglers are required to use a guide to fish with every day of their trip, this would make the trip much more expensive.” Cartwright wants visiting anglers to understand that “small lodges like Greenwich Creek Lodge operate independent of the guides. The goal of the lodge is to give the guest a memorable, warm, hospitable, fun-filled experience while staying here. This includes fishing experiences where a guide is not always necessary.” (Perhaps legislators should consider Cartwright’s words as well.)

Noting that there is much more to do in the Bahamas than fish, Cartwright says, “We have the deepest blue hole in the world, we have pigs that swim, miles and miles of beaches, and with 365 days of summer, our outdoor activities are practically unlimited.”

Recognizing that local support is crucial to any conservation success, Abaco Flyfishing Guides Association (AFFGA), which actually opposes the legislation, has developed a guide to the bill for Bahamians titled “How Will This Affect Me?” (Read the AFFGA document here.) Locals might believe the bill will affect angling tourists alone, but AFFGA argues that any legislation that DIY anglers perceive as hostile to foreigners or foreign-owned interests will inevitably provoke a backlash. The anglers who don’t come to the Bahamas also won’t patronize restaurants, car rental agencies, and second home rentals.

What Are We Conserving?

Critics charge that the proposed legislation is vaguely worded and short on specifics. It mentions only that a percentage of fishing license sales will be used to establish a Conservation Fund; it does not address conservation goals, objectives, priorities, or enforcement. But where critics see a bug, supporters see a feature: they argue that the bill’s ambiguity enables all stakeholders to weigh in on and shape this potentially groundbreaking conservation legislation.

Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that few local stakeholders had any voice in the crafting of the legislation, and then only nine days to respond to the bill after it was made public. I asked government officials why such an important bill featured such a brief window for public comment; unfortunately, none responded to my inquiry.

Whose Money?

Critics charge that BFFIA president Prescott Smith has an ulterior motive in his admittedly tireless support of the legislation—namely, establishing BFFIA as the voice of Bahamas fly fishing and the recipient of a portion of the government-mandated conservation dollars. Smith’s supporters counter that BFFIA is the first to propose national conservation legislation, and that Smith himself has spent years traveling at his own expense to surrounding islands to educate locals about the importance of protecting bonefish and the justification for catch-and-release and other good stewardship practices.

Smith does not apologize for supporting what he believes will advance the interests of Bahamians ahead of others: “There are many people who are happy with Bahamians as long as they pole the flats boat,” he says. “They aren’t however too happy at the thought of these same Bahamians having a significant say in how their natural resources are managed, or how the fly fishing industry runs on a national scale.”

The proposed legislation mandates that funds collected from fishing licenses be divided equally between the Consolidated Fund—the Bahamas’ general fund—and a newly established Conservation Fund. Critics immediately see a problem: AFFGA vice president Cindy Pinder believes that the efficacy of the legislation depends upon the distribution of the collected funds. “If the licensing fees go to the Consolidated Fund, an opportunity to create a much-needed, self-sustaining, independently funded mechanism to begin effective enforcement of our flats fishing laws could be lost forever.” AFFGA would like to see one hundred percent of funds generated from license sales directed toward conservation and enforcement. (Read a letter to Director of Fisheries Michael Braynen written by AFFGA president Justin Sands and concerning conservation efforts in the Bahamas here.)

Critics also wonder how enforcement of new conservation legislation would be paid for. Acknowledging that the unique geography of the Bahamas could make enforcement of conservation laws particularly costly, supporters of the bill look to the Consolidated Fund and suggest that the government should perhaps set aside a portion of license dollars right from the beginning for enforcement.

For its part, BFFIA recently proposed a different split of funds:

  • Consolidated Fund: 40 percent
  • Conservation Fund: 40 percent
  • Bahamian Banks: 15 percent
  • BFFIA: 5 percent
    (read the entire document released by BFFIA here)

Why should funds collected from fishing licenses go to banks? BFFIA argues that currently, foreign-owned lodges have access to better banking terms than do locals, who find themselves at a disadvantage in their own country. Providing island banks with government-collected dollars, BFFIA contends, would help level the playing field for Bahamian lodge owners and guides.

Opponents, by contrast, argue that it is wholly inappropriate to use money raised from general angling tourism to establish banks whose mission it is to promote one set of lodges and guides over another. (And it is particularly frustrating for foreign lodge owners and guides to finance their own competition by selling a fishing license.) Instead, they suggest, put market forces to work: Locals with better business plans and practices will be able to secure capital.

But why does BFFIA itself require a piece of the license fee pie? The association insists that the five percent of the kitty that it would like to claim for itself would be used to cover the costs of educating all participating guides to a national standard. (Certification classes, for example, would need to be held in various locations around the island nation.) Critics—who assert that they have no interest in any “help” that BFFIA wants to offer them in the first place—point out that for BFFIA to lobby the government to give it a portion of funds collected from mandated license fees is a clear conflict of interest.

DIY Fishing

Critics fear that the language of the bill makes DIY fishing from a boat illegal unless done with a certified guide aboard. What’s more, wading anglers may fish on their own, but the price of getting to their fishing spot in the first place could go up: the proposed legislation reads that even the person who ferries you to your favorite spot on the flats requires a permit as well.

Anglers who fish without a guide or wade in an area designated off limits—either intentionally or in ignorance—could be fined up to $3,000 or sentenced to three months in jail…or both. Critics argue that such steep penalties create a climate of anxiety that encourages anglers to stay home or to fish elsewhere.

My reading of the current legislation indicates that, despite numerous, much-publicized assertions to the contrary, the bill does not establish a minimum guide fee. Nevertheless, legislation that requires anglers to hire a guide does set up an environment in which anglers are forced to pay whatever a group of guides decides to charge for service.

The bill does, however, provide a legal definition for a “flats” area, which could enable officials to put fishing restrictions in place in certain highly pressured areas at different times of the year. Indeed, such restrictions seem almost inevitable and, in fact, highly desirable to those who argue that Bahamian flats protection and management are long overdue.

Unsung Conservationists

Those unfamiliar with Bahamian fishing resource management might conclude that the draft legislation represents a first step toward effective conservation policy in the Bahamas, but that conclusion would be inaccurate. In fact, a number of non-governmental organizations have been involved in conservation work in the island nation for years.

The Frank Kenyon Centre for Research, Education and Conservation, which opened in April on Abaco, is just one result of the cooperation between nonprofit environmental groups, local businesses, and private benefactors. This solar-powered, eight-bedroom facility near Marsh Harbor was constructed to provide low-cost housing and storage for visiting scientists and researchers and to serve as a basic lab. The facility also hosts visiting high school students involved in field work and long-term research projects.

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), the Trout Unlimited of saltwater conservation, is a 501(c)(3) organization headed by Dr. Aaron Adams, who travels the US extensively and writes frequently about the need to protect saltwater resources. Dr. Adams and BTT staff members have participated in conservation efforts in and around the Bahamas for years. “We have worked with Bahamas National Trust,” which manages the Bahamas’ national park system, “for many years to provide information necessary for conservation of bonefish and their habitats,” says Adams. “For example, we conducted tag-recapture research of bonefish on Abaco and Grand Bahama that the Bahamas National Trust used to formulate proposals for national parks on those islands.”

The goal of the BTT is to protect “the habitats that support bonefish foraging areas, juvenile habitats, spawning sites, and spawning migration corridors,” continues Adams. “In addition, we provided funding to Bahamas National Trust to conduct the public meetings that are part of the National Park proposal process.” BTT says it also “shared our information with the Department of Marine Resources and the Minister of the Environment.”

And yet BTT had no input in crafting the conservation portion of the current draft legislation. Nevertheless, Adams and the BTT have very specific conservation proposals for the Bahamian government; in particular, the BTT is concerned that the means for preventing habitat degradation are not clearly spelled out in the draft legislation. (Read the BTT’s series of collaborative recommendations for a Bahamas comprehensive conservation plan here.)

Other nonprofit, non-governmental organizations and universities involved in conservation work in the Bahamas include Abaco Flyfishing Guides Association (AFFGA), Friends of the Environment, The Nature Conservancy, Cape Eleuthera Institute, North Carolina State University, University of Florida, and Florida Atlantic University. And the list goes on.

BFFIA president Prescott Smith, who argues that BTT resists local input and is out of touch with ordinary Bahamians, says that BFFIA has no relationship with BTT now and no plans to work with the group on common cause conservation concerns in the future. Instead BFFIA works closely with Bahamas Sportfishing Conservation Association (BSCA), which Smith himself began in 1995 to address conservation issues he believed were of particular importance to Bahamians. According to Smith, BSCA has approximately 250 members; a request for the number of members with fisheries science backgrounds and/or advanced degrees in marine resources or natural resources management went unanswered. In any case, Smith asserts that locals know more about local fish behavior and patterns than do experts who visit the islands for a few months for programs like bonefish tagging.

Smith lists as BSCA’s conservation accomplishments educating (1) locals that there is much more to the Bahamas than sun, sea, and sand, and (2) the entire Bahamian government about the nation’s precious natural resources.  Smith also sent a letter in March on behalf of BFFIA and BSCA encouraging officials in the North Andros District Council to deny mining operations in Joulters Cay. (You can read the letter here.)  The organization’s future conservation goals include providing protection for the flats and surrounding areas, training the next generation of guides, establishing a national marine warden program, and emphasizing marine sciences and an outdoor educational program in the local schools.

Where Do We Go from Here?

The draft legislation has been turned over to the attorney general of the Bahamas, the Hon. Z.C. Allyson Maynard Gibson, for review. In theory, at least, the attorney general will draft a “clean bill” that provide answers to all of the questions the current bill raises, including how and by whom funds will be collected and how and to whom funds will be disbursed.

From the attorney general’s office the bill moves to the Bahamian cabinet, which is not required to make it public. The cabinet could let it die or move it forward to Parliament for a vote. Ultimately, critics are concerned that by the time they see what the final language of the bill actually is, it could already be well on its way to becoming law—at which point it will be too late for them to lobby their representatives or mount any further opposition to the measure.

Protecting Tomorrow’s Bonefish Today

Both supporters and detractors of the measure can agree on one thing: Flats safeguards are long overdue. Even if they disagree on the specifics of the legislation, they commend Bahamian officials—notably Prime Minister Perry Gladstone Christie—for attempting to enact natural resources protections. It is regrettable however that the only protection provided in the proposed legislation is aimed at deterring anglers from causing damage. There is no language in the bill that addresses mining or dredging operations whatsoever. Compared to the potential impact of large-scale mining or dredging operations, the impact of catch-and-release anglers seems miniscule.

In the meantime, however, the bonefish and tarpon habitats in the saltwater flats aren’t the only thing hanging in the balance.  The future of the Bahamian economy has a big question mark hanging over it as well. If the atmosphere of angst and confusion that currently pervades the Bahamas causes anglers and other recreational tourists to question their welcome in the island nation, they could take their tourist dollars to the Florida Keys, Belize, or even Cuba instead. And no one interested in the future of the Bahamas wants to see that happen.

 

The author wishes express his appreciation to all stakeholders who provided documentation and input to help him better understand this important topic.

MidCurrent Fly Fishing
 
Beau Beasley (www.beaubeasley.com) is an award-winning journalist and investigative conservation writer. His even-handed approach and through research on difficult access and use issues have garnered him respect with conservationists and the general public alike. The author of Fly Fishing Virginia and Fly Fishing the Mid-Atlantic, he also serves as the Director for the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival (www.vaflyfishingfestival.org).Beau lives with this wife and children in Warrenton, VA.
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  • Thomas Cox

    I have regularly fished the Bahamas. I have seen no mention in these two articles about the natives’ practice of netting bonefish. The nets are open and obvious in places like Aklins. If the Bahamians really care about the preserving the bonefish population, as opposed to being desirous of blocking DIY anglers access to it, then surely they would be acting on the netting issues. Their failures to do so leaves no reason to believe that the enactment of the BFFIA proposal would stop the natives’ netfishing practices rather than just suck up money from island visitors.

    There is little doubt that, in these small communities, it is known who the netters are. I agree fully that it is fair fair for all of us to pay license fees that would be devoted solely to conservation and enforcement. The plan to give banks 15% of fees is nothing more than a blatant play to gain high level lobbying support from the financial industry and makes no logical sense.

    It would be sad for us from the US to lose the opportunity to enjoy these beautiful islands and to interact with their kind citizens, and to share our tourist dollars among them. However, count me among those who will not book any reservations in the Bahamas for this winter or thereafter until these issues are fairly resolved, meaning on terms radically different from BFFIA proposal. It is arrogant and offensive to see BFFIA to reject input and collaboration with the BTT and other genuine conservation organizations, and that arrogance is so off-putting that it too discourages me from wanting to go back.

    • Ted C

      This whole subject in my humble opinion really has very little to do with conservation or environment protection and licensing because that’s obviously one common ground everyone strongly agrees upon however, it sounds good and makes for a good decoy at least for those who can’t read between the lines. What its evidently all about is animosity towards foreign investors and visiting anglers, politics, power and greed. A lethal concoction for an economic disaster of the Bahamas tourism industry !
      Yes its their country and they have all the right to govern it themselves but they better be very careful where the gun is pointing when they pull the trigger !

      • Cindy James Pinder

        Well said.

        • Dan

          I cannot say I agree with both, you Ted and Cindy. We, too, must be careful, how we point the gun. The Bahamas is considered by Global Finance Magazine the 29th richest country in the world. Even though Tourism provides 60% of the country’s GDP, if the Bahamian Government decides to focus more on their country’s Banking, Agriculture, Cement, Aragonite, Oil transhipments, Salt, Pharmaceuticals, Rum, spiral-welded steel pipes and other marine environment and nature tourism, then the fly fishing voice may become non-audible. The Bahamas is strategically located and benefits the USA Coast Guard and Government.

          May I suggest less venom and negativity because the Bahamian Government and people may not look fondly on your comments and just pass their, as you say “draconian law”.

          • Ted C.

            With all due respect, no venom from my part Dan but plenty of negativity since that is the only atmosphere this issue seems to have successfully created and generated thus far however, one need not search far and wide to see where and from whom the venom is coming from. I love the Bahamas dearly and respect its people, have been visiting and sharing with them for nearly three decades. They are the once that will ultimately make the final decision for me whether I will continue to return and share, consequently, in the mean time, my next booked trip come November will be to Cuba instead of the Bahamas.

            • Doug

              I am sure the Cubans will appreciate your arrogance and the Bahamians will be glad you left.

              • Ted C.

                Arrogance, really ? perhaps you should re read some of your own replies Mr. Smith ! I suppose that’s the kind of venom Dan was referring to in his post that I replied to. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. So much for trying to keep this civil but then again I wouldn’t expect anything else from a self acclaimed hillbilly from the hills in Tennessee !

                • Doug

                  You sir. are a sad and pathetic human being and I can assure you that you would never
                  get a chance to call me a hillbilly to my face without walking away bruised, battered and embarrassed.

                  And I know you don’t have the guts to tell me what state your all white gated retirement home is in. Let me guess, Idaho, Florida, maybe West Virginia, Mississippi or somewhere in lower Alabama, Georgia or South Carolina.

                  • Ted C.

                    I will not further lower myself to your level, end of discussion !

                    • Doug

                      Stay out of Tennesse and the Bahamas you gutless prick.

                    • Ted C.

                      Beau, thank you for your time and effort maintaining and regulating this site in order to try keeping it civil.

    • Prescott Smith

      Thomas and All,
      I can assure you it is not arrogance in the least, as we are not rejecting knowledge that we ourselves have shared with such organizations about the flats and bonefish in The Bahamas. My Father Charlie (Crazy Charlie ) Smith has over 65 plus years on the flats in Bonefish and other flats species research. The Board of BFFIA
      I took the several International and Local Conservation Organizations to the west coast of Andros for the first time, showed them Flamingos, Nurse sharks mating and many other wonderful things. When the story is told again, it is THEM THAT MADE THE DISCOVERY and not the local people who showed, and shared local their local knowledge.

      I was appointed by The Cabinet of The Bahamas on the Council of The Bahamas National Trust as The Government’s Representative for Education nationally. This simply means the Education of all Bahamians when it comes to the natural resources. . I would think that all fair Minded Americans and other nationalities would love and respect people who loves their native Country. I Admire Americans who celebrate their military men and women,4th of July, and Thanksgiving Holidays. This shows national pride.

      Our College of The Bahamas is trying very hard to gain full University status, and it is the position of BFFIA ( Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association) , and BSCA ( Bahamas Sportfishing & Conservation Association) that we strengthen our institute of higher learning. This Gives Bahamians a greater sense and awareness of what a special country we have and the need to protect the natural resources we have been blessed with. Most Bahamians have been deliberately miss educated that we are a country of SUN, SAND, AND SEA.

      Finally Beau thank you for being the first to bring a fair and honest approach to what is actually happening in The Bahamas. You did not quote me wrong when you mention about research in The Bahamas. BFFIA’s position does not apply to one organization alone, but to any organization that seeks to go around our institute of higher learning to the detriment of Bahamians.
      We would welcome a partnership with any Conservation Organization that involves our College so the research is passed along to The Bahamian Students at the College/University of The Bahamas.

    • Prescott Smith

      Thomas and All,
      I can assure you it is not arrogance, the Association is not rejecting knowledge that we ourselves have shared with such organizations about the flats and bonefish in The Bahamas. My Father ,Charlie (Crazy Charlie ) Smith, has over 50 plus years of research on the flats on bonefish and other flats species . The Board of BFFIA ( Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association),collectively with our fathers and grand fathers, have over 500 plus years combined on the flats. The Pinders from Grand Bahama , David Pinder Sr, and Mr. Glinton,are Pioneers and Legend Guides. The 6 of their sons and grandson combined have over 300 plus years of Guiding experience on the flats.

      I took the several International and Local Conservation Organizations to the west coast of Andros for the first time, showed them flamingos, nurse sharks mating and shared local knowledge that they had no idea about. . When the story was told again, THEY MADE THE DISCOVERY and not the local people who shared their knowledge.

      The College of The Bahamas is trying very hard to gain full University status, and it is the position of BFFIA , and BSCA ( Bahamas Sportfishing & Conservation Association) that we strengthen our institute of higher learning. This gives Bahamians a greater sense and awareness of what a special country we have and the need to protect the natural resources we have been blessed with. Most Bahamians have been deliberately miss-educated that we are a country of just “SUN, SAND, AND SEA.”

      Finally Beau , thank you for being the first to bring a fair and honest approach to what is actually happening in The Bahamas. You did not quote me wrong when you mention about research in The Bahamas. BFFIA’s position does not apply to one organization alone, but to any organization that seeks to go around our institute of higher learning to the detriment of Bahamians.
      We would welcome partnership with any conservation organization, but would want our College to be a partner as well, so the research is passed along to The Bahamian Students at the College/University of The Bahamas. This is the only way we can help Bahamians to have an appreciation for the beauty that we see as Guides and Anglers when we fish the flats. This way they themselves would want to protect it for their children and great grand children and so on.

      Thomas, please do your own research to see the challenges Bahamians face in their own country ,still today, playing a meaningful role in the so call “conservation arena”. This would give you a greater appreciation of what the facts are. As Beau so rightly puts it. “JUST THE FACTS MAN.”

      • Kevin

        Prescott, I think everyone here is in agreement that we would like the Bahamas to prosper and the Bonefishing to prosper.
        I visit Grand Bahama Island for 3 months in the winter, and I hire a bonefishing guide about once a week at a cost of $600 per day plus tips. I also like to fish near the apartment I rent when the weather and tide is right a couple times in the afternoons. I rarely catch anything by myself. It is an area close to tourist hotels and no one else is fishing.
        However, when I read your proposals, I feel that you are not welcoming me to the Bahamas and you would rather have me stay home. I can stay in Florida instead and hire a Tarpon Guide in the Everglades and fish there instead. It is basically your choice.
        Just understand that if I stay in Florida, the Bahamanian that rents my Apartment in Freeport for 3 months does not get any rent. The Car rental place in Freeport does not rent a car for 3 months. The Grocery Store, Gas Station, restaurants do not get any of my money. And the guide on the East End of Grand Bahama does not get my Thousands of Dollars of Fees and Tips either. The few meager Bonefish that I manage to catch on my own, are all released gently. So, I am trying to figure out what harm I am causing to the Bahamas by coming here each winter. Perhaps you can elaborate on the damage I am doing to Flats. If you provide me with a good reason, I will stay in Florida and liberate your country from me.

        • Prescott Smith

          Kevin,
          Firstly, you are very welcome in The Bahamas anytime. Secondly you will note that me living in Andros there was no recommendations put forth as it relates Andros, Abaco, Grand Bahama and many other Islands with regards to special consideration for protection given the amount of resources, and local geography on those islands mentioned.
          As a national association, we cannot think about our individual islands as there are many issues Bahamians face. Some are unique to the particular island ,and some we all have in common.
          Conservation is being promoted through fly fishing, so we need to ensure that the fishery is protected for you long term, and not just short term.

          I went to Crooked Island some 20 plus years ago and trained the first fly fishing guides there. Today Anglers visit both Crooked Island and Acklins to engage in the sport. I went to many other islands throughout The Bahamas carrying out the same practice to promote the sport as a means of using the resources in a sustainable way. This ensures that Bahamians don’t need to be waiting on the next cruise ship port to be built, and jet skis to move in.
          Finally Kevin, I will answer some of your concerns. We did NOT write the draft proposal .BFFIA is not advocating for you to fish with guides only. BFFIA is not advocating for a set guides fee. BFFIA is not.
          Continue to come and enjoy The Bahamas, but please take time to speak to persons who are more open-minded and not a singular island view as to what the real issues are and why the recommendations were made by The National Association

          • Kevin

            Prescott, Thanks for your reply. All we have to go on presently are the proposals put forth by the BFFIA. These proposals looked very difficult to navigate for the DIY Fly Fisherman in the Bahamas. I am not alone. We are mostly confused as to what the situation will be. Some have already cancelled their trips to the Bahamas because of the uncertainty. People do not want to book trips without knowing the rules. All we are looking for are some answers. Please help us understand what is going on. … Thanks.

        • Doug

          Do us all a favor and stay in Florida.

      • Cindy James Pinder

        Prescott,
        I am wondering if you know Dr. Karen Murchie from COB? She does bonefish research in the Bahamas. I read recently that she is the ONLY researcher doing field work at COB at the present time. I think she partners with The Fisheries Conservation Foundation (FCF) and the BTT as well as several guides and lodges on Grand Bahama for the ongoing bonefish research being done there. Would you work with her? Would you work with FCF?
        Beau reported in this article that BFFIA has no relationship with BTT because they resist local input and are out of touch with ordinary Bahamians. Are you aware that BTT has hired a Bahamian scientist that resides in Grand Bahama and is essentially the Bahamian arm for the BTT? Would you work with him? Or do you think he too is out of touch with ordinary Bahamians and not working in the best interest of the Bahamas?

        What about the Bahamas National Trust or the Nature Conservancy? Would you work with either of them?

      • Doug

        Prescott:

        I have never met you but perhaps we are related. My last name is Smith and my dad’s name is Charlie. But my people are mostly Tennessee Hillbilly’s with no fly fishing legacies.
        My advice is to remain firm in your attempt to manage your own countries resouces. The fisherman who won’t return will mostly be arrogant and rich and you will be better off without them.
        Listen to the constuctive input and tweek the regulations to accomodate what makes sense. It seems to me the rules could be adjusted so a fisherman can fish by himself a reasonable amount of time.
        However, if your intentions are honorable, if you preseve the fishery, if conservation is paramount, if it betters the standard of living of Bahamians, if it provides a career path for native guides, then by all means stick to your goal of taking control of your national treasure. The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust should be great allies and partners of the Bahamians and help provide expertise and guideance in association with your local college.
        I assume the initial proposals will not be perfect but with each years experience they can be improved. But by all means, do not be bulllied by wealthy loud mouths who are used to having their way.
        Take ownership of what belongs to you and the Bahamian people. We fought a war with the British to accomplish the same thing. Good luck to you and your countryman.

        • Prescott Smith

          Doug,

          You have a full grasp of what is really going on in The Bahamas. The same voices that are screaming out trying to block or at minimum delay the legislation for the next 100 years, have been silent while Bahamians are being pushed out of an Industry and not able to make their bank payments. Contact The Bahamas Development Bank and Bank of The Bahamas to confirm the amount of Bahamians who can’t make their bank payments. The same voices crying out against the Legislation in the interest of ordinary Bahamians, have been silent, while the same few who have controlled our entire Tourism industry, that says local Bahamians like myself should NEVER be in a position of control to make decisions of what is the best interest of them and their children.

          BFFIA is not against the Unguided angler at all. The Unguided Angler issue is a smokescreen used by special interest, when the real issues are all the illegal businesses running in The Bahamas defrauding the Government of revenue like business license fees, National Insurance and the list goes on. Many such operations are being ran in The Bahamas, under the guise of vacation or second homeowners, who have turned their properties into illegal businesses. There is a legal way to run a legitimate bed and breakfast , but the necessary approvals are required, and the Government should get what is fairly due to them. Some of these places today have been converted into Lodges, for example, Bair Bahamas and Coakley House Andros, which all started out as vacation homes. Most are still being run today under the radar.

          Doug it is important for you to know that BFFIA makes no discrimination, but want to work with others who see us all as equals. We are demanding a voice in our number one industry. Funny though all these years the voices that are now screaming out now have been silent, and see nothing wrong with maintaining the status quo.. It is as if we are just suited to pole a boat, serve conch fritters and bring another cold Kalik Beer.

          This is about real conservation, . ” REAL CONSERVATION IS WHEN LOCAL PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO USE THE NATURAL ENVIRONEMENT THEY LIVE IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY TO SUPPORT THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES “…. Prescott Smith

          • Doug

            Prescott:
            Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I am all for you, the Bahamian people and what you are trying to do for your country. It didn’t take me long to figure out what this was all about. I look forward to meeting and fishing with you someday. Hang in there, do not be afraid to compromise and listen to respectful and constructive ideas.

            But DO NOT, under any circumstances, allow your countrymen and fellow fly fishing guides to bullied and intimidated by wealthy non-Bahamians. Self determination is a wonderful thing and doing what is best for the Bahamas will continue to take courage and persistence. I have enough admiration and respect for you and your organization to know that you are smart enough to be committed environmentalist/conservationist and protect your natural resources.

            The Bahamas will be better off without the bullies who choose to take their business elsewhere. I wouldn’t worry about them. There are plenty of fly fisherman who support your world class flats and will continue to visit. On another note, The BTT are excellent people and doing good work, they are natural allies to partner with your college and university to train another generation of Bahamian environmentalist/scientist to protect your fishery.
            You are always welcome in Nashville to spread the message of what you are trying to accomplish to our fly fishing community.
            Be glad you just have a world class fishery, if you had oil we probably would have invaded your country by now.

            • Prescott Smith

              Doug
              With your permission can we share with all Bahamians throughout The Country. It will also be shared with the entire Government, including The Prime Minister and Leader of The Opposition . I know there are many others who are fair minded and believe in ordinary Bahamians having a voice in their country.

              • Doug

                Absolutely, you have my permission to use my thought and comments however they may be usefull. Good luck to you and the Bahamian people. Many Americans feel the same way that I do.

          • Heather

            Hello Mr Smith, I am glad you finally named 2 of the “100s of illegal businesses” operating as lodges as was reported on the Platform TV show. As far as I can tell, Coakley House is a vacation rental that lists local independent guide prices on their website. How does that make them a fly lodge? Also, it seems that only one family can stay there at a time so the word “lodge” really seems a stretch. I am generally interested and am not taking sides but following this issue closely. Thank you

            • Prescott Smith

              Heather,
              The name Lodge, or Guest house is not so important. What matters is the legal requirements to run an income generating business, especially when you state to The Government otherwise. The Authorities are quite aware of what is happening. The Legislation did not just pop up out of the blue. Bahamians were reporting of the abuses now for many, many years.

    • Cindy James Pinder

      Thomas, The AFFGA also finds the BFFIA rejection of input and collaboration with scientists and genuine conservation organizations “arrogant and offensive.”

      I received the monthly email newsletter from Friends of the Environment this morning and have attached a link for it below. This is an example of some of the conservation work done on Abaco this summer. The young man in the picture, teaching proper bonefish handling to a young Bahamian, is Justin Lewis, a Bahamian Scientist from Grand Bahama that works for the BTT.

      After the Abaco guides alerted our scientific partners of the red mangrove die off in The Marls, a research project was begun to find out why the mangroves are dying. The study is now being conducted nationwide. Conservation is not a one man job but in partnership with experts and community it can be a resounding success!

      The AFFGA is proud to partner with Friends of the Environment because of all of the education and research they facilitate. If you would be proud to be a member of such a fine organization – please offer your support by joining them too.

      http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Friends-of-the-Environment-August-E-News.html?soid=1102919617232&aid=IcCzJNtkmZY

      • Geneva Wilson

        Cindy,

        BFFIA does NOT reject the input or collaboration with Scientists and GENUINE conservation organizations if it is in the best interest of the Bahamas and our College of the Bahamas, NOR do we not accept sound scientific research. You have stated your main agenda in Part I, so please cease with this fallacy.

        I applaud BTT for finally hiring a local to work full time with them. I look forward to hearing more local Marine Scientists working full time with them, as well as, more meaningful and viable contributions to the Bahamas economy and locals.

        Is Friends of the Environment focus, nationally or only on Abaco?

        • Shawn Leadon

          I concur with Ms Wilson it appears that most of these various scientific groups only seek out the input from foreign participation. Mrs Pinder seeks one thing only which is lobbying on behalf of her second home owners group for which she spear heads.

          • Cindy James Pinder

            Shawn, please tell me one thing BFFIA or BSCA has done in the past year (or ever) in regard to conservation in conjunction with Bahamians or foreigners.

            Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association – the group I ‘spear head’ and lobby for, recently worked with the Bahamas National Trust – a Bahamian conservation group to do a Rapid Ecological Assessment to make two environmentally sensitive areas on Abaco national parks. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to the second homeowner who donated his house free of charge for accommodation of the participants in the REA.) The reason we learned of the environmental sensitivity is because of our partnership with the BTT and our six year tagging/tracking bonefish program.

            Do you know how that program started? I invited Dr. Aaron Adams to put on a presentation of his bonefish studies at a town meeting on Abaco sponsored by the AFFGA. We were so blown away with the information he provided that evening we all left with bonefish tagging kits. What a mutually beneficial partnership it has been!. The science books will be full of new information because of the study and real science we were a part of on Abaco.

            • Shawn Leadon

              Congratulations! You have arrived. This was done in Andros years ago in fact I was one of the first guide involved with such a programme. Studying the migration patterns and locating spawing and aggregation sites. Good work! However this is nothing new Rupert Leadon my Dad, Charlie Smith, Earald Braynen, Sidney Neymour and a few others had known the information based on observation. Clearly you don’t need a degree for this. However, the information has vastly impacted the Fly Fishing community and are now creating an awareness for protection of the species. Further, the first rapid ecological assessment done on Andros collectively with 10 scientists college students and a team of guides was brought together by BSCA, BNT, TNC & ANCAT. Thus establishing the largest National Park in the country The Andros West Coast National Park.

  • Fred Rickson

    Maybe this is really a continuing trend and not something all that new. One has to hire a local guide on several Atlantic salmon rivers in eastern Canada, and it’s Canadians only (plus a daily ticket) on several popular British Columbia steelhead rivers (or parts thereof). When local interests begin to “beg” for protection, even at the expense of local business, politicians are quick to respond to cries of “locals only.”

    • Kevin

      Maybe, but I would not even consider visiting the ‘Several popular British Columbia Steelhead rivers” again. I wonder how their businesses have been affected by these Canadian regulations?

    • Shawn Leadon

      That is a fact. Laws are made in the best interest of its people. It is what it is. But what I keep pointing out is the fact that most booking agencies have taken advantage of this situation. Thus reaping all the benefits while the locals suffer! Yellow dog adventures has been doing it for years bringing no form of economical empowerment. Sending clients taking a huge cut and guides and lodges are faced with little to no funds to operate. But I hope all can see how vocal they all are from Stephen Valedas to Doug McKnight and the rest. All yellow dog does is flood the Bahamas with stickers/decals, buffs and hats. Ask one representative what have they done to improve one single person’s life here in the bahamas?

      • Cindy James Pinder

        Shawn, I’ve seen you mention several times that booking agents take advantage by reaping all the benefits while locals suffer. As Independent guides on Abaco, we don’t use agents although I know O’Donald McIntosh speaks highly of Stephen Valedas and how he sent him clients and helped build his business. (O’Donald just gave me Mr. Valedas’s book so I could see what he was talking about.) It is my understanding that a booking agent does all the marketing for your business by finding the clients and sending them to you, is that correct?

        • Shawn Leadon

          Not correct. I attend most travel shows all over including Europe. In the pass we’ve had some but very little now. You just can not operate under those circumstances.

          • Cindy James Pinder

            Do you mean that you attend the travel shows to market your lodge and that is where your clients come from?

  • Erik Cronk

    I live in the states. I have ten years experience coming to the Bahamas to fish. I’m not claiming to be an expert on how politics in the Bahamas works, but I know enough that politics no matter where you live is basically the same. Lobbyists go to government for what they want, then the public looks at it and says “what did the government get for implementing the lobbyist wishs”. To have 40% of the fishing license monies collected go to a general fund seems pretty steep to me, and gives the wrong public perception on things from the start. Especially when all the conservation measures proposed in BFFIA’s draft are going to take alot of money to implement.
    I understand the whole banking thing with interest rates. Makes sense. The Bahamian government could probably make some concessions to guides and lodges to help them in that regard but that’s a banking/finance issue and not a conservation/bonefish issue. Putting that aside for a moment, let’s look at another huge factor in all of this I don’t really see anyone talking about. In my opinion, the biggest seperating factor between Bahamian owned lodges and guides and ones that have foreign interests helping them is in how they are marketed and how each of their individual messages is “delivered” to the public. I don’t mean to sound derogatory so I apologize if it comes off that way, not my intention. But while alot of independent Bahamian guides are great on the water in fishing situations their business acumen leaves alot to be desired. Not all, because the ones that “get it” seem to be doing better than the ones that aren’t. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say alot of them don’t know where to turn or start to manage themselves as a business. And I don’t think it’s also unreasonable to say the ones that are doing the better jobs might even feel they could improve upon that! I just feel that with the infrastrucre and remoteness of the out islands the way it is, it’s not easy for bahamians like it would be most people to access technology AND to access the people who know how to use it– to further their business.
    My recommendation would be to take that 40% (would it even cost that much?) of monies and start a business unit for the guides. People who work FOR the guides that pay their dues to the guides association and are certified. You could get away with only needing a couple people at first as long as they are experienced and know what they are doing. Hire a marketing manager. Hire a web designer to design a central website for all guides to use……or in the case of guides who already have their own they could link off of that. Heck, make it like amazon.com with reviews sections where people can see others experiences with specific guides. All this talk about setting higher standards to certify guides is fine,but you need someone else to police that other than the guides themselves to be credible. Perhaps holding them accountable to their ultimate consumers would really raise the bar and keep the standards high…..if you don’t keep up with the standards the consumers want or expect then you’d only have yourself to blame for lack of business you get. That sounds simple. Give guides and independent lodges the business tools to ENABLE THEM to succeed if success is what they truly want. Protectionalist laws only go so far and have been proven by history to be shortsighted and temporary in nature before the market finds it’s own way to correct them.
    Marketing takes alot of time, alot of effort, and yes alot of money to do effectively. Just because some lodges/guides are reinvesting in these processes (whether bahamian owned or foreign owned) while others aren’t shouldn’t make them appear evil and after the Bahamian way of life. This is just how business is done in the rest of the world, and you either adapt or perish……whatever nationality you are. The bonefish industry should be no different.
    If you do google searches on bahamian guides by name, you will find alot of them don’t keep websites updated or even have one. Or maybe they only have a personal facebook page that doesn’t do all that much to promote what they do. Or in some cases they haven’t even updated facebook in a year or more! So then, what are they doing to promote themselves? So when it comes time for someone to actually book them think about what this looks like to the consumer. And to not have formal or standardized and secure processes set up for payments also doesn’t help. But then when consumers click over to their competitors sites and see things as they should be, and updated, which way is the consumer going to feel most comfortable booking all other things being equal? All things a Guides Business Unit could help them with.

    • Heather

      Don’t blame lack of marketing on the remoteness of an island. I have seen way more FB posts from Salina Point than many of the guides and lodges on some of the more developed islands.

      • Cindy James Pinder

        Marketing is indeed a problem. I can’t speak for the other islands but many of the guides on Abaco do not have a computer and do not market themselves on the internet. BFFIA has a webpage but they never added guide or lodge members on it so their site has no marketing value for members.

        • Heather

          Cindy, do they have smartphones? That’s all it takes really, well that and a data plan. I have been begging our guide in Long Island to start marketing himself and have given him many, many ways to do it for free but I think he is just set in his ways.

          • Cindy James Pinder

            Heather, Some do have smartphones and some don’t.

          • Erik Cronk

            Heather, Cindy helps reinforce what I was trying to get at. Proponents of these drafts look to “level the playing field” with their competitors. But if they aren’t doing all the little things (whether by choice or they don’t know how to go about it) in marketing and business to connect with their consumers like some of their competitors are, then they shouldn’t complain when their competitors reap the extra rewards of their time, expense and labor for doing so. Why not give them the tools and knowledge to be able to compete with the “big boys” then? If that’s how the competition is doing it and it’s working for them, then set up the same type of system for the guides and let them go to work to achieve thier goals.

            • Heather

              We are on the same page Erik. I was just pointing out that the remoteness of an island doesn’t necessarily preclude a guide from being able to market him or herself. Maybe it’s more of a generational thing. But I totally agree that marketing, or lack thereof, is key to the success of these lodges and guides and this legislation does nothing to help those that are struggling to pay their notes.

            • Cindy James Pinder

              We could all use better marketing to build our businesses. If there is anybody out there that may be able to help . . . . .

            • Shawn Leadon

              Totally agree!!!

        • Heather

          Cindy, I don’t know how much good the BFFIA page on Facebook would be to anyone anyway. It was created in 2013 with 1 post. There were a few posts made on August 10 but nothing since then and it only has 191 “likes” so… I’m not saying FB is everything but it definitely helps disseminate info.

          • Cindy James Pinder

            I didn’t know they had a fb page. They have a webpage too. That was what I was referring to.

    • Shawn Leadon

      Mr Erik I must commend you on such valid points. But hence the fight we as Bahamians are facing in our own country. Many are not aware of how the structure of the ministry of tourism is set up. It’s the largest marketing agency in the country but its model doesn’t work for bahamians. There are four sections which makes up the sector these are as follows:
      Hotel Corporation
      Dive Association
      Out Island Promotion Board
      Mariner Association

      None of which are control by Bahamians. All marketing dollars ( our monies ) goes towards promoting foreign owned entities using the Bahamian publics treasury funds. Hence the frustrations on my part. However, BFFIA has decided upon various strategic ways for which all stakeholders will be visible and are now helping members with marketing. So Erik no its not just an island issue its a Bahamas issue. I truly thank you for you input.

      • Erik Cronk

        Mr Leadon,

        First off, thank you for taking the time to respond. To your thoughts, I might add there would be a lot of non-Bahamians who would support your conservation efforts if you would let them feel included and part of the process —including myself. But instead we as bone fisherman and visitors to your country are being drug into this fight as villains when we could be your greatest allies. That is our perception, and it’s my hope that someone in your organization has the courage and conviction to stand up and end this ridiculousness. If we were all unified in this effort far more would get accomplished and everyone would benefit, not just a few.

        • Shawn Leadon

          Mr Erik I couldn’t agree with you more…. We are all on the same page here. Egos are flaired due to circumstances and persons are utterly frustrated about this situation. No one is banning DIY. Those stakeholders on those Island helped in crafting that propose document. So from their existence the government saw it fitting to regulate those areas.

        • Shawn Leadon

          Mr Erik – Again I agree with your sentiments. Everyone needs to come to the realization that our government will protect those areas under the threat of being over fished. This will happen! Hence I do agree that some of the language needs to be refined. However, it is not within the power of BFFIA to change them. We have made our recommendations and will continue to do so. If our foreign counter part find it necessary to deliberate outside the perimeter of BFFIA it will be a loosing battle. Infact it is quite necessary for all of us to speak as one voice to appropriately approach government to establish a common goal. We shall fund a level playing field for all thus making this industry a lucrative sustainable engine… Conservation cannot and will not work without empowering the locals. This is true conversation for they will not have to revert back to extracting from the environment.

      • Cindy James Pinder

        Shawn,

        I’m confused about your statement regarding the Ministry of Tourism. Every person I have ever met in Tourism, from the Minister, high-level management, mid-level management, to office staff has been Bahamian. Doesn’t the government set the budget for Tourism and then tourism figures out how to spend the money?

        Aren’t those 4 boards and associations you mentioned NGO’s? Is government funding for them part of the budget?

        what is BFFIA doing to help members with marketing?

        • Shawn Leadon

          Mrs Pinder the tone of this conversation has been set to move forward with productivity. Hence the development and mending of relationships are important. Just to answer your questions the ministry has as budget and yes they are all NGOs and yes the government helps to fund such organizations. BFFIA is currently identifying persons currently in need of marketing tools positioning them to target several markets. Inclusive of all. The tone now is to take what has been said and devise a plan to approach government to enable all stakeholders to have a complete balance. Too much talks and no structure for which all stakeholders can see potential benefits for all. Never mind our disagreements. In due course the proposal will be put forward and we must continue to coincide creating an atmosphere that is bar none the best flats fishing destination in the world. It shall be the duty of BFFIA and its partners to get what is due to this industry and we to must make certain our voices be heard. In my view the Ministry Of Tourism has done very little to promote us all.

          • Cindy James Pinder

            Shawn, thank you for your response. I am not familiar with Tourism’s marketing other than the commercials I see on TV advertising the out islands. Mr. Benjamin Pratt and Mr. Earlston McPhee paying us visits over the years are the only contact or interaction bonefish guides on Abaco have had with the Ministry from the head Tourism office in Nassau. The Abaco Tourism office was supportive of Redbone Fishing Tournaments AFFGA sponsored for several years and of course with the Bahamas Certified Guide Program many years ago. The guides have, from time to time, been asked to attend trade shows with the Ministry, but they were always asked too late to participate due to previous client bookings. Other than general marketing of the country I am not aware of any special-interest focused advertising the ministry participates in so I appreciate your insight.

            You state (paraphrased) that under the guise as support for all but none [of the NGO’s] effectively supports all in this country.

            How could an individual organization support all? All of the Tourism NGO’s primary goal would be getting visitors to visit the Bahamas. The Hotel Association wants rooms filled. The Dive Association wants dive boats filled. The Out Island Promotion Board wants the out islands to prosper by increasing visitors. The Mariner Association wants boaters to travel in Bahamian waters. One would expect that BFFIA wants flats-fishing anglers to visit.

            The common goal of each of these NGO’s (and the reason I suspect the Ministry of Tourism supports them financially) is to market their unique tourism product to the world so travelers come to the Bahamas and spend their hard earned money here. ALL Bahamians benefit from our tax dollars funding the budget that Tourism spends on marketing with the expected outcome of bringing bring more money into the economy via tourism visitors.

            I was under the impression that Tourism has participated in many fishing industry shows over the years and has had many guides participate at the shows with them all in the effort of promoting the fly fishing sector.

            The independent guides have marketed extensively on the internet and direct advertising. Lodges generally market through outfitters, direct advertising and the internet. Other than industry trade shows what other marketing support from the Ministry of Tourism does BFFIA envision? What do you see as ‘due to this industry’?

  • Doug

    It sounds to me like the Bahamians want to have more control over their own affairs. I suspect they don’t want or need a bunch of Yankee Gringos telling them what to do. It’s their country, their resources, their fishery so let them manage it however they want. To assume non natives know what is best for Bahamians is the pinnacle of colonialist arrogance.

    • Kevin

      Except, the “Yankee Gringos” are the customers of the BFFIA. Go ahead and kick the Gringos out and they’ll find somewhere else to fish.

      • Doug

        That’s a good point. Boycott the Bahamas and let’s teach those natives a lesson. Who do they think they are trying to take control of the regulations in their own country? Don’t they understand that they are just native fishing guides? Too bad the rest of the world isn’t rich and white like me.
        In fact, maybe we should just invade the Bahamas and put those uppity natives in their place so we can tell them how to act and how to live. After all, it worked for the Briitish for 181 years.

        • Kevin

          This has nothing to do with a ‘lesson’. You seem to think that all Bahamians are united behind these proposals. They’re not! The guide I use is very much against them. From what I can gather most of the Native Bahamians have not even heard about these proposals. And they probably will affect them negatively.
          It is also about being comfortable when fishing. If these new laws are so ambiguous, that no one here can even understand them, , why should anyone risk fishing there. I can go back to Florida and fish without complications. A lot of fisherman have already cancelled planned trips to the Bahamas.
          The Proposals have been written to encourage the ‘Rich Ugly Americans’ to keep coming to their lodges, and restrict the DIY angler enough that they don’t want to bother coming.

          • Doug

            Well hopefully this will all get sorted out to everyone’s benifit. But I am adamant that the Bahamians have the inherent right to do what is best for them, not tourists and not fishermen.

            • Will

              No argument here

          • Prescott Smith

            Kevin
            There is not one single Guide, or Lodge in The Bahamas who are not aware of Legislation for The Fly Fishing Industry. Fear of loosing Guiding days and Anglers in their Lodge, with the constant threats out there, some are quite on this issue. If you are told that, it is clearly because they know how you and others feel.

            • Heather

              Mr Smith, Kevin above stated “From what I can gather most of the Native Bahamians have not even heard about these proposals.” He meant the general Bahamian population, not guides and lodge owners. If there is a guide or lodge owner that does not know what is going on with this legislation then they must be living under a rock. The general population outside of the fishing arena, maybe there are large numbers of people who are unaware.

            • Will

              My heartfelt message to Prescott and Supporters

              I have been following this unbelievable exchange of views on this issue some of which is petty and some well founded and just. It is difficult to weigh in not knowing some of the details you suggest below with people using false names and I suspect false representation of the issues for personal interest. There was however one post, not necessarily his conclusion but his advise that you guys, the BFFIA, should work to lay out a consistent and clear message. You may not need a PR firm to do this but professional messaging is the key. I think your message is a good one, the Bahamas is a sovereign nation, there are plenty of examples of exploitation globally that require government to act to protect rights, there has been ample input by all sides and at some point the government will decide the course of the industry. I think no one can question the message, particularly, outsiders living in the Bahamas or not. For those outsiders, they have a choice, take it or leave it, some will continue to fish your waters, some will surely boycott and go elsewhere. Those who go elsewhere will find that countries have laws to protect their interests and sooner or later they will find they have nowhere to fish but their own backyard, where incidentally they will also see regulations and licensing. In most cases in other countries that I fish, the fisherman, the industry and others have no say in how collected money will be spent by the government, and frankly, if I want to fish why should I care. I go to Mexico, Zambia, Belize, Costa Rica or New Jersey USA for that matter, I have to pay to play and that goes beyond any fees and taxes I pay to the state. I have thousands of dollars invested in gear and my wife enjoys staying in nice tropical lodges, I’m not going to stop for another $50, $100 or $250 per trip two or three times a year. Again, stay on point, get your members and supporters to stay on point, whether you or the BFFIA represents all Bahamian interests is not the issue, your government does and they will speak loudly on this issue.

              Minister Gray and Attorney General.

              Doug McKnight is one of the persons from Yellowdog Travel company in Montana. If you look on their website you will see. http://www.yellowdogflyfishing.com

              Also this false name Ricky Craig in the other communication below is Oliver White, who is the face and minority owner of Abaco Lodge, and Bair’s Lodge in South Andros.

              This is what Bahamians have to face in their own Country from such persons who we invited in our Country. Such Bad Policies are reaping havoc on Bahamians today.

              • Ted C

                I don’t see any posts on this blog disputing the implementation of a non resident fee or license to fish or suggesting otherwise.

                • Will

                  Ted C you obviously have more time to devote to your agenda than I judging by the amount of time you spend responding. It is almost as if you are paid to do so. Your point regarding my post is bIt of missing the forest for the trees. Knowledge the key message please, it’s their country. As you will find when the embargo is lifted Cuba too will be governed by Cubans!

                  • Ted C

                    Yes Will I do have plenty of time so I will elaborate a little more this time but no, however it may seem to you, although obvious not the first time you made the wrong assumption or came to the wrong conclusion, I’m not getting paid and I don’t see that being any of your business or concern. My point regarding your post is not missing the forest for the trees but some may argue that specific contents in the regulation proposals ablate not all, may just be. My reply was relevant to the point you made about accepting to pay a fee to fish.
                    I have meet many fine people during my travels throughout the islands, some I consider to be my friends whom I treat with respect, dignity and concern. It’s these very same people’s lives and livelihood as well the average citizen an ill conceived legislation will impact most, its their country too remember ! or are we forgetting that ?
                    I’m certain they are in support of changes and improvements that are beneficial to their country, its environment, economy and people in general but I’m also confident they are not in favor nor support of any changes that may negatively effect and impact their lives or livelihood. The DIY and unguided angler by the very nature of his mobility, financially supports a broader scope of the community and economy compared to one confined to one place for the duration of his stay and its these very same citizens that are invested in and are dependent on such revenues. I don’t see many comments on this or similar blogs by the average citizens of the Bahamas voicing their concerns in support or opposition of the proposals and I can’t help but wonder why or how much knowledge is really out there. I can walk away from this as please, have the choice to go elsewhere, they don’t and have to deal with the consequences.
                    Given this opportunity which I’m grateful for, the only thing I can do from my position is voice my opinion and concerns in their support with the hope that it may have merit, that would be my agenda if I actually had one in the first place and If I were offered compensation or pay for such efforts I assure you I wouldn’t accept them. If you on the other hand, only care about fishing when you visit these places as you stated in your post, that’s your prerogative, others may have and show other concerns and considerations.
                    I’m trying to keep faith wiser heads will prevail !

                    • Will

                      My only response to you and I will let go, is that in both cases the arguments are rooted in empowering local people. In my case as you will see below the guides who day in and day out pole people from all over the world around the flats in my view disproportionately benefit. I agree this is not about you or me and I don’t think we represent these constituencies, the government of the Bahamas does. I as well hope that they take the action that balances the scorecard based on all availible input and opinions and people like you and I can opt in or out. Since we have been priviledged to enjoy this great resource I don’t think it will be as traumatic as you suggest at any price we will return and hopefully the lot of Bahamians will be improved.

                    • Ted C.

                      I also certainly hope that the government of the Bahamas, with the effort and genuine intentions to represent all constituencies manages to find an honest, balanced and beneficial solution, since this will not only effect its own citizens and business but potentially many of us as and well whether we like it or not.

                • R. Taylor

                  I am a Bahamian and proud to be a Bahamian and not directly involved in the fly fishing industry! I am a part of a 2,000 plus Bahamian Facebook Group that has a minimum reach to over 40,000 Bahamians. Prescott Smith shared this link with our group and fyi, the shocked and outraged reactions by many of us after reading comments from Cindy Pinder, Ted C, Craig Rickey, MD Bones, Kevin & Crew, we are even more resolved and determined to see this proposed regulation passed by our Government! We agree with BFFIA’s recommendations and are prepared to support them! Many of us are reaching out to Bahamians all over the world to join in seeing this to fruition. So sit back and watch US take control of our natural resources, despite your noise. Believe me, we also, do not take kindly to your threats to one of our own.

                  • Ted C.

                    These comments are pale in comparison to threats of physical and bodily harm the administrator was quick to delete preventing potential legal action and consequences.

                  • Cindy James Pinder

                    What facebook group is that?

                  • Ted C

                    Since your reply was to my post, before you make any more false accusations, can you please tell me who I threatened ?

              • Craig Rickey

                https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a426a5f682efbc388a6f19877aca101f1a6a791b90b7303f38f9a7b7277be3ed.jpg
                Of course I blocked my Immigration number and other information that can be used for fraud, but I am in fact A real live person. Please in the future if you want to insist that people are someone else take time to first ask them, rather than level accusation. Some of us are more than happy to share who we are with proof. I am a loud mouth individual who will express his opinion. I am well educated, and have the ability to write in a very professional manner, but learned some time ago often it is necessairy to write at the level of the target audience. When you begin to name call and acuse I loose my maners and sarcasm reigns free. Due to my poor manners and crass nature I would ask that you do not call me Oliver White. He has done nothing so bad as to deserve asociation with the likes of me.
                Without knowing me, or anything about me BFFIA members attacked and bad mouthed me. I read the proposed fishing regulations, the comments made by BFFIA members, and those made by the others who do not seem to support them. IT raised questions. When I realized how much money would be changing hands, I asked some questions. I was met with loving response and glowing praise by the BFFIA members. A picture only shows you that I exist. It does not tell you that my Father is a Bahamian living in the Bahamas. I started m first post letting people know that I had family there, to express maybe I have some interest in what happens. The picture does say I have an E-2 visa as an Educator. But it does not tell you I ama Craftsman trained in finish carpentry and cabinetry. It does not tell you that I have a Degree in Ministry and was a full time Pastor. I chose to Work in education and mental health after college. IT doesn’t tell you I have been coming to the Bahamas for 35years. It does not tell you I lived in the Bahamas for 3 years trying through Legal channels to gain my residency and work status. I could have gone the illegal route which so many do, but I beileve in the rule of law. But a picture doesnt tell you that.
                I refuse to give names of where I lived and who my family are. The veiled threats that have been levied by some BFFIA members tell me it would be unwise. When I make my yearly, or Bi Yearly trip ( Teaching and Pastoring are not lucrative) I try to fish with a guide at least once. I have used several, on different Islands, but will not say names because that paints a target on them. It is disgusting that people cannot say who they are and how they are connected to the Bahamas, because they fear that it will cause negative impact to loved ones and friends. It shows the Bullying behavior some on here have used.
                I do in fact have friends that coordinate group trips to the Bahamas to fish. They take groups of 10 and fish 5 days. 1 day shared 2 days private the 2 days off are spent wade fishing flats. That is 5 guides getting paid every day for a week(5 days) but hey, they don’t need the Americans money, Fly fishing is only a drop in the bucket. There is more to the Bahamas. I pay a fee for a license every year to fish in Kansas where I am from. then permits. I do not care that you ask for a permit. I care how that money is spent. Banks? General Funds? a Guide organization? In my state the money from Licenses goes to the Department of wildlife and parks, not to a bank that can loose it giving a loan to a guy that cant pay it. A general fund that pays for things other than fishing and hunting in the state. and is certialny does not go to a Guide organization, especially a specific Group that does not really represent all of the constituants it says it does. 100% to wildlife managment and protection. not just the left over 40% after everone else gets a piece.
                I have talked with those friends, and they have agreed it is in their best interest to not fish Guides and Lodges associated with BFFIA. so when you clients start asking if you are a BFFIA member and then back out of booking, you know why. The Group I fish with will make sure that the Guides they fish with are not Members of BFFIA and are guides that are supporters of groups that are working to improve fishing habitats.
                It you want to know about me Ask, do not make assumptions that since I ask that people be accountable I must be a plant. Because by Day I may be Craig But by night “Im Batman” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e815284c40e7182f0fc5437b2b0514022051ce1b2d7677d45de942e85f30400e.jpg

                • Shawn Leadon

                  Whatever Oliver White!

                  • Craig Rickey

                    Simply saying I am Craig Rickey, not Oliver White should be all the proof needed. I went well beyond what should need to be done. I provided a Government Issued Picture ID. I met your Friend Geneva’s “Proof Not Hearsay” requirement. (Faking that ID would get me thrown in Jail, not a risk rational people would take.)
                    Accusing me of being someone else on here as well as other social media is not right. It however was a matter of ignorance of the facts. Now that I have provided more than ample proof, for you to continue, saying I a
                    someone else, makes you a LIAR. I know you are not the only one to level this accusation. Other BFFIA board members have joined in as well, you can play ignorant, but you know the truth so that would make it a lie. If you are willing to continue a known lie about this, what else are you lying about?

                  • Craig Rickey

                    Mr Leadon. I am not a person who enjoys the idea of prison. I have never been, but hear it is not enjoyable. Making a fake Korean Work Visa, would be a felony that would cause me time in prison. I do not know what your standard of proof is. Truthful men will accept another man’s Yes, as his Yes, and his No, as his No But, you have proven to not be a truthful man, so No matter how much I try to prove, you will continue your Lies and Slander. Just because one man lacks integrity, does not mean everyone else does.

                    • Shawn Leadon

                      Lol. True bro however you’re feeling better is yet to come. Stay true to yourself.

              • Kevin

                Your Accusation against Ricky Craig being an imposter sheds light on your entire post. Of course you are wrong about Ricky Craig. You talk as though a DIY Fly Fisherman is ‘Invading’ the Sovereign Nation of the Bahamas with his Fly Rod doing irreparable damage to the Eco-system. Get real Dude and see these Proposals for what they are. Just a few individuals out to make a fast Buck under the guise of Conservation and Nationalism. Nothing More!

                • Craig Rickey

                  Thank you, It feels good to be accepted as a real person.

                • Will

                  I note you only responded on Ricky. Making bucks is what the industry does, it is what I pay to play anywhere around the world, why should the Bahamas be any different. Governments make rules, citizens comply and visitors have to respect them if they want to visit. It is simple as that. I’m not sure what your business is but I can guess it is about making a buck and beating the competition. One correction Conservation is an argument I have heard on all sides and heavily debated, Nationalism and Sovereignty on the otherhand can only be associated with the Bahamian people, Dude, it’s their country!

                  • Kevin

                    Making money is a problem if you have a Monopoly, which is what the BFFIA is trying to create. Their proposed regulations would ‘cut out’ all the businesses that cater to DIY in most of the out islands. Dude, if this was not a problem why are there over 300 posts to this thread. This is not business, it is a cartel. These proposals are in favor of Full service Bonefish Lodges only. Your naivete is amazing!

                    • R. Taylor

                      Why? Because you, Heather, Ted C, Cindy Pinder, Erik and Craig Rickey are hogging up the forum with your rantings! The Bahamians’ Voices will be heard in the passing of the Legislation and we will ensure that most, if not ALL of BFFIA’s recommendations are in it! So continue ranting, so our Bahamians become united in this front after reading your comments.

                    • Heather

                      Wow R Taylor, how did I get on your bad side? I have simply been following the issues and listening to both sides. This is a blog and by it’s very nature people discuss things. What’s the problem?

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Heather, after reading some of your posts my husband asked me what side you where on. I had just got done telling him that you fished in the southern Bahamas and I didn’t think you had a side when R. Taylor started his rant against you. I guess we are lucky he told us so we no longer have to speculate. Now we can spend our time trying to figure out if Craig Rickey is really Oliver White.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      R. Taylor, you seem to have a lot to rant about. Why don’t you share with us who you are and how you can ensure that all of BFFIA’s recommendations will be in the new legislation?

                    • Ted C

                      I’m intrigued by how adamant and resolute some are with regards to already knowing what is and will be in the final legislation however I will restrain myself from speculating and leave that open to interpretation.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Wouldn’t this entire conversation be more beneficial if we did know what was in the final legislation? The unknown speculation combined with the deafening silence by top government officials is maddening.

                    • Ted C

                      My point is that unless I’m misinterpreting, it appears to me from some of the posts I’m reading here that some other than top government officials already know what’s in it and most don’t.

                    • R. Taylor

                      ANTICIPATION 🙂

                    • Will Stephens

                      I’m happy you qualify everything you say with proposed and recommendations, again I am not sure what your business is and how it is vested in this debate, missing the forest for the DIY tree is no solution.

                    • Kevin

                      I am not in any business. I am retired and stay on Grand Bahama for 3 months. I am just a Customer and I am having hard time understanding how these Bahama Bonefish Lodges treat Customers.

                    • Will

                      Perhaps you should try a lodge to find out how they treat customers during your three months in the Bahamas. I suspect the reality is that your 3 months in country doesn’t give you any more privileges, even over me who spends one or two weeks a year if you are not Bahamian. As in any other country, as I understand it, you can’t go anywhere anytime you want but you can fish within the law.

                    • Kevin

                      I hire a guide once a week during my stay. I’m sure the Andros Lodges treat customers very good while they are staying there. But look at what they say about them behind their backs. That is more important than their actual stay there. There are good Lodges and Bad Lodges. We are now able to differentiate the two. The Bahamas Bone Fish ‘Economy’ is far more than a BFFIA Lodge.

                    • Will Stephens

                      I didn’t say guide, I said lodge and I didn’t specify a BFFIA Lodge…. but I get it, it is all about you and choosing sides. An argument and position that won’t prevail and frankly doesn’t deserve further response.

                    • Kevin

                      I’ve stayed at lots of Lodges. Big Deal ! … Why should I stay at a Lodge on Grand Bahama, when I’ve rented an Apartment from another Native Bahamian for 3 months. So, yes, I have chose to be on the side of the Bahamians that don’t own a Andros or Out Island Lodge. BTW – The guide that I hire, does own a Lodge, but it is mostly empty when I visit there, so he is glad to get my business, and he doesn’t support these proposals either!

                    • Will Stephens

                      OK man, one more time because I just can’t resist.
                      I, I, I, I, you sound like God’s gift to the Bahamas and if it were not for you the islands would sink in the ocean. Your guide, that you hire, that owns a lodge that you alone visit and is glad for your business may change his mind and support the proposals after he reads your self centered comments.

                    • Kevin

                      Sorry Dude ! ….. I have discussed this at length with my guide. When I hire the Guide, it is the ‘Off Season’. So, it is just ‘gravy’ income for him. It’s in the middle of winter and those folks that book a week at his lodge don’t come until March, April, May etc. – So, his lodge is mostly empty. I work with his schedule. There are many, many Bahamians that don’t own Bonefish Lodges and these proposals will hurt most all of them.

                    • Heather

                      Will, I don’t think Kevin’s comments are self-centered. He’s simply expressing his opinions of the comments being made here. I too am shocked. This R Taylor person (who has yet to answer any of my questions) is attacking me for asking questions and making comments. He has no idea who I am or what I have done to advocate for the Bahamas. Just check out the Bahamas forum on Trip Advisor. I am an active member with over 2500 posts about the Bahamas. I help tourists with questions about their travel there and report back on trip reports. If I was against the Bahamas, would I take the time to promote the islands like that? The point is, even though the issue is about a country just trying to govern itself and preserve it’s resources, SOME of the comments being directed at us comsumers are lacking in the PR department.

                    • Will Stephens

                      Hi Heather,
                      I think one has to take the reasonable man approach to responding to these issues and my point with Kevin was that he is only thinking about himself and his point of view. While I hope he has honestly represented himself and what he does, you can understand why some might think that in his 3 months if he invites all his friends down to stay in his apartment on a regular and rotating basis, may even charge them a cover fee and takes them out wherever he wants in Grand Bahama to fish that this might be a problem for some. Not only BFFIA, but other established lodge owners who’s business it undercuts, environmentalists who see this practice as a threat to sustainability etc. etc. A reasonable man or woman like me who is seeing this from a distance could support regulation of this aspect. I heard time and time again that Kevin fishing while on vacation is not an issue and I think the government will take this into consideration in favor of legitimate tourism. As you know, the elephant in the room here is that there are also historical, cultural and even racial implications that overshadow

                    • Will Stephens

                      this discussion. For some this is hard to let go of and again from where I sit having seen this first hand in other parts of world deserves some consideration. Everyone in the discussion has a constituency they are serving even it is self, like Kevin. But for others it is community and family and the roots of their ancestry. R Taylor, I sympathize with for this reason and I understand why you may be taking it personally. In my view, the government however will take a balanced view in the best interest of all of the opinions expressed but obviously has an obligation to it’s citizenry.

                    • Kevin

                      Heather, thanks for seeing my posts as to what they are and for the vote of sanity. Will Stephens, No I am not sub-letting my apt. for friends to Bonefish, but you bring up an interesting point. What about a Native Bahamian that wants to build an apartment and advertises it as a “DIY Bonefish Lodge” and encourages tourists to fish there, provides them with maps and maybe even some boat transportation to the flats? Let’s Say this is on an out-island that is named in the proposals. In your mind this business would have to be heavily regulated, where your business does not have to be regulated. This to me seems to be the most ‘self-centered’ view of things. What you are seeking is less competition for your business. This is not a new reaction throughout history, but usually the result of an unsuccessful business going after a successful one. So your real opponents with these proposals are other Native Bahamians, rather than tourists. So, in your mind some Bahamians practice ‘legitimate tourism’ and others do not. Of course, you think your business is ‘legitimate tourism’ and would like the laws slanted in your favor to decrease competition. I would call that ‘self-centered’.

                    • Will

                      Kevin see my response to Ms Pinder, it has direct application to your comments and will save me a few key strokes. Putting words in my mouth will not solve your problem.

                    • Ted C.

                      First you make the wrong assumption that I sound like I’m getting paid for posting then you bluntly and falsely accuse someone of falsifying his identity by posting under a different name and now you are insinuating that someone may invite friends to visit and charge them a fee . All this without an arguable single shred of evidence to back it up, is that what you consider taking a reasonable man approach ?
                      With regards to second home owners being allowed to fish, would the government be willing to pay back the tens of thousands of dollars they paid in duty on their $30,000 skiff they imported since one of the proposed recommendations is to ban fishing from your own Bahamas registered and licensed boat without a guide. Perhaps some guides are hoping to score some nice state of the art skiffs for a song if they can manage to force the owners to sell but that wouldn’t be taking a reasonable man approach of me making such assumption.

              • Heather

                Hi Will, so will you be going back to the Delphi Club any time soon? I think they are against the legislation as well.

                • R. Taylor

                  Heather Lady, will you be coming back to the Bahamas seeing you are against our Government, and the majority of us Bahamians any time soon?

                  • Heather

                    Mr Taylor, how am I against your government? How am I against the majority of Bahamians?? And yes, I will be there November 19. Would you prefer we not visit? Please tell me why so that I can relay that to our guides, to our car rental guys, to the grocery store owners, to the restaurant owners, to Sky Bahamas and Southern Air, to the gas station owners, to our rental villa owners, to the ferry captains and to your Ministers for all the lost VAT money.
                    I simply asked Will if he would patronize the Delphi Club again since there would seemingly be a conflict of interest between what the BFFIA wants and what AFFGA wants. I am not even taking sides here. Don’t you understand that? Please tell me how that question offends you and makes me an enemy of your country??

                    • R. Taylor

                      Right! Well Heather you could sure fool me!

                    • Heather

                      huh??

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Heather,
                      R. Taylor is Geneva Wilson, and Will or Will Stevens is Prescott Smith. They won’t use their real names anymore but will continue being nasty and hateful against fisherman using their aliases.

                    • Kevin

                      I was wondering what happened to those two! And I was starting to get confused as to who these ‘New’ people were and why they started off so nasty.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      No kidding! The fisherman on this page have legitimate questions and concerns and they have mostly been ridiculed by BFFIA board members (or by BFFIA board members masquerading as non-industry concerned (and extremely nasty) posters.)

                      Unless they want to answer and discuss legitimate questions the conversation on this message board is done. I think we’ve all had it with their attacks. The most shocking thing that we have all learned during this dialog is how much BFFIA board of directors (that have been posting) despise their clients. It’s been an eye opener for me and it greatly saddens me to know that this is the group that a Minister of our Government has declared as representatives of our fly fishing industry.

                      I assure the anglers following this message board that not all guides and lodge owners in the Bahamas feel as this group does.

                      Please, don’t write our Country off just yet and please, please keep Abaco, with our professional and friendly guides and lodges in mind if you are planning a fishing trip because we truly like and value our clients and visitors and appreciate your friendship and business. Tight lines! Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association

                    • Ted C.

                      Very sad indeed and its a damn shame it came to this, probably the worst publicity ever in the history of Bahamas fishing industry. Regardless what the outcome will be, it certainly has left irreparable bad and bitter taste world wide.

                    • Prescott Smith

                      Ted, Kevin, and All

                      I sent an email to Cindy directly, and copied the Board and Officers of BFFIA on it. Also Will Stephens is copied in as he may choose to communicate directly via email or otherwise with Cindy.

                      Cindy’s sole purpose is to see how she can UNDERMINE the national Association of The Bahamas. Please show me one post on this forum where as President of BFFIA where I spoke negatively about their local island association? I want to see them grow and become a strong voice. Those things can take place, without her taking every opportunity to try and undermine BFFIA. If Cindy wishes to be taken seriously by Bahamians, she should seek to put them first in the country where she lives. Last time I checked Abaco was, and is still apart of The Bahamas.

                      All the talk about BSCA and BFFIA, when the sole reason she got the platform to speak in the first place is because of BSCA. One of the many goals of BSCA was to see a national association and Legislation for the fly fishing industry.

                      One of the many goals of BSCA was to shine a bright light on the flats, mangroves,and the terrestrial environment for it’s protection. That way they would not be run over by cruise ships, major chemical factories and many other such development that would destroy such an important resource. The fact that we are all talking about it today I rest my case.

                      One the issue of money ,and all the talk about what BFFIA agenda is. The Board of BFFIA I have found to have Bahamians with the highest integrity. The discussions are, work taking place, are about ALL The Bahamas and not just an island, or two in isolation.

                      Finally as President of BFFIA, no amount of money can get me to sell out the interest of Bahamian Guides and my fellow Bahamians.

                    • Ted C.

                      Whatever it is that’s going on between you and Cindy whether its personal or otherwise is none of my concern and I respectfully do not wish get involved. However, since you were kind enough to find the time to reply to my post, perhaps you may find a little more time to answer some of my questions, since they particularly pertain to and address some of the recommendations in the proposal made public by the association which you represent. If it’s opined that my questions don’t deserve to be answered because I’m not Bahamian so be it, just another opinion to debate.
                      Some reasonable explanations may be beneficial and productive with the hope that at the very least, they may alleviate some of the criticism and tension. It may also be a good indication of some form of willingness to work with others.

                    • Prescott Smith

                      Ted,
                      please don’t make an issue where it does not exist. What are your questions Ted?

                    • Ted C

                      I guess I should have been more specific and instead wrote “answer some of the questions I have asked ” but I’m sure you understood what I meant anyhow. If you go back and read some of the posts again as you have been all along, you will find plenty of questions in some of the comments, that have gone unanswered or without an explanation and clarification, not just mine but many others as well. I personally can’t be bothered repeating them now, I made my point just as well by being dodged and unanswered. If you had any intention or interest in answering the questions you should have answered them as they were presented. I believe I’m not the first or only one commenting about questions being unanswered or about the continuous deviation by BFFIA members on this blog. Trying to get a straight answer here has been like pulling teeth.

                    • Rob N

                      Dear Mr. Smith,

                      While reading this blog I have concluded Cindy Pinder knows that Abaco is
                      part of the Bahamas, as that is where she not only resides but spends countless
                      hours volunteering her time for the betterment of the bonefish industry and
                      conservation in the Bahamas. You don’t have to be born in the Bahamas to love
                      the country and care about what happens to all the stakeholders involved in this
                      legislation. In Cindy’s case that includes her husband, children and all the
                      guides on Abaco who happen to be Bahamian. I’m sure she is taken seriously by
                      the countless organizations she has worked with to make the industry the best it
                      can be.

                      Rob N

                    • Prescott Smith

                      Ted, Kevin,
                      I sent an email to Cindy directly, and copied the Board and Officers of BFFIA on it. Also Will Stephens is copied in as he may choose to communicated directly via email or otherwise with Cindy.
                      I chose not to engage with Cindy, as her sole purpose is to see how she can UNDERMINE the national Association of The Bahamas. Please show me one post on this forum where as President of BFFIA where I spoke negatively about their local island association? I want to see them grow and become a strong voice. Those things can take place, without her taking every opportunity to try and undermine BFFIA. If Cindy wishes to be taken seriously by Bahamians, she should seek to put them first in the country where she lives. Last time I checked Abaco was, and is still apart of The Bahamas.

                      All the talk about BSCA and BFFIA, when the sole reason she got the platform to speak in the first place is because of BSCA. One of the many goals of BSCA was to see a national association and Legislation for the fly fishing industry.

                      One of the many goals of BSCA was to shine a bright light on the flats, mangroves,and the terrestrial environment for it’s protection. That way they would not be run over by cruise ships, major chemical factories and many other such development that would destroy such an important resource. The fact that we are all talking about it today I rest my case.

                      One the issue of money ,and all the talk about what BFFIA agenda is. The Board of BFFIA I have found to have Bahamians with the highest integrity. The discussions are and work taking place, are about ALL The Bahamas and not just an island, or two in isolation.

                      With regards to myself as President of BFFIA, no amount of money can be offered to I Prescott Smith to sell out the interest of Bahamian Guides, and my fellow Bahamians.

                • Will

                  Heather

                  It is true I have been to Delphi on more then one occasion as well as other lodges throughout the Bahamas including the Leadon’s and the Smith’s, Cuba and around the world. All are motivated by my interest in fly fishing not political affiliations, country, race, creed or color or any other criteria you could think of. Fundamentally I would limit pursuing my passion if that were the case. I have read Peter’s position and appreciate that he presents a position that protects his interests and those of the investors and clients (me) from increased bureaucracy, cost and a damaged environment. Having said that I am sure that Delphi will comply with all applicable laws passed by and for the government of Bahama when that comes to pass. Why would that affect my decision to go there? Like many of the arguments that are put forward this is not a relevant point, it is an attempt to make this a devisive and personal issue rather than one of governance and the rule of law. I hope this addresses your question adequately.

                  Let me also use the opportunity to double back on your point of including the voice of the guides in the process. I would not want to hurt or jeopardize the guides who I’ve associated and of course they will not speak out against their employers but have learned that their lot can be improved. Generally around the world they are an asset of the business and a critical success factor yet disproportionately benefit or are not part of a sustainable enterprise. On the water, off the record they concede things could be improved. It is their governments obligation to take this on over other interests. Money aside this is about empowering people, either we take this on as an industry or it will be legislated. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

    • Beau Beasley

      Doug,

      A great deal of resistance is coming from local Bahamians themselves because the lack of involvement from local stakeholders when the proposed legislation was crafted. This has caused a great deal of concern and alarm (either rightly or wrongly) from locals who fear this action could cause great harm to their businesses.

      To your other point, DIY anglers ad other tourist who visit the Bahamas have a right to weigh in as customers and concerned anglers. This is not “Colonialism”. The onslaught of comments came at the request for “Public Comment” which has been significant to say the least. Many Bahamians themselves do not understand the far reaching affects this legislation could have if passed without heading the words of the local stakeholders and tourist the country relies on for most of its income.

      Also, I agree with you 110% that Bahamians must decide on their own what is right and proper for the management of their own natural resources.

      Customers are just as right to decide if they want to fish under the proposed management plan or not.

      Thanks again for your interest in this important topic, I very much appreciate your input.

      Beau

      • Doug

        Beau, thanks for the thoughtful response and for doing excellent work covering the isssues. Hopefully everyone will give feedback and input so the Bahamians can make a decision that makes sense for their world class flats.

        However, I am still extremely skeptical of foreign tourist, fishermen and business owners telling Bahamians what is best for them. I applaud the Bahamians for wanting more control over their natural resources.

        If there is one thing we should have learned in this country by now, is that when we meddle with the politics of other countries, mostly over their oil and other natural resources, it has turned into a disaster for those countries.

        I deplore the attitude that we know what is best for the Bahamians and how they should manage their own fisheries. As usual, I suspect greed and arrogance are what is really going on.

        I see no difference between what the BFFIA is trying to do and what the Canadians are doing in BC with their steell head fisheries and many countries in South America are doing. Maybe not the best things for non native guides and lodge owners but each country gets to make its own rules and manage its own resources. Offended “gringos” can take their business elsewhere, me, I will continue to fish for world class steelhead in BC, bonefish in the Bahamas and trout in South America.

        • Heather

          And how long have you been following this issue Doug??

      • Dan

        Dear Beau,

        I live in Florida and the Bahamas contributes about $2 billion annually to its economy. I was just wondering based on the 2010 $142 million Fly Fishing Anglers impact, against the 2014 Bahamian GDP of $9 billion that equates to less than 2% of their total GDP, who would suffer more from a boycott? The Bahamas, if DIY Anglers decide to boycott or Floridians, if Bahamians decide to collectively take a stand and boycott Florida, and go elsewhere?

        Also, it appears that lots of research are being done in the Bahamas by non-Bahamians. How have BTT, University of Florida etc, from your list above, contributed to the Bahamian economy in a viable manner? Who has proprietary rights over the research done in the Bahamas? The Bahamian Government? Their College of the Bahamas? Where do they do most of their research? Florida, the Bahamas….? Has BTT always advocated to the Bahamas Government for marine protection, implementation of conservation laws and management plans or only now since the draft legislation?

        I would suggest that 80% of the fishing license fees should go to Conservation and its enforcement.

        My opinion is this Sovereign Country is only trying to do what we and most other countries’ do, regulate in the best interest of their people. From my observation, what they initially put forth is just a working draft, requesting input. Not every law passed in a country will please all. It would be great if we would all stop using the term “self-serving” as WE are the ones demonstrating this trait more than BFFIA.

        Beau, on reading your article and observing your approach, I thought finally an open-minded view and refreshing piece. Mr. Cutchin and you are doing a great service presenting your article in the manner which you have. You definitely have not taken any sides but tried to represent All with the facts. Keep up the phenomenal informative journalism.

        Maybe a more palatable approach would be for an open-minded US contingent to visit the Bahamas’ Minister of Marine Resources and Attorney General to discuss the concerned areas of the proposed legislation with reasonable recommendations. Maybe AFFGA, BFFIA and BTT should be there as well.

        Looking forward to your response.

        • Beau Beasley

          Dan,

          First let me say how much I appreciate your kind words about me not taking sides. I try to do this with every difficult piece I write, from Menhaden ( an important slat water baitfish) to river bottom ownership, which I have written about extensively. I feel its a writer’s job to do the research, and provide facts and let the reader decide for themselves what they think, …in other words the readers don’t need me to think for them as you have so aptly displayed. Also, I believe everyone should be heard, my personal opinion on their take is almost completely irrelevant. They have the information, and I want to share it so why craft what they say, just let em say it and let the reader figure it out….which they do quite well.

          You’ve raised multiple points, some of which I am not qualified to answer, but I will try. I have no idea what would happen if Bahamians quite coming to sunny Florida. I have no data on this from which to comment, and even if I did I don’t think we could judge which Bahamians weren’t coming over our reaction to the proposed bonefish legislation.

          A great point you did make is the comparison in total contributions to the nations GDP from the fly fishing community. I am sure it is very small indeed compared to banking, the casinos and other hotels, but to the guy that depends on fly fishing anglers, (and there are a lot of them) it could be devastating.

          As far as BTT goes, they have been working in the Bahamas for years. As far as I know, they are the gold standard for saltwater conservation as it applies to bonefish and tarpon. They also seem to be working hand in hand with many locals, and have been for many years. As far as who “owns” the science and what type of relationship they have with the government officially, would be best directed towards them. BTT was pretty fast to respond to my questions, and is keeping an eye on this issue. Also, as far as I know they have been involved in bonefish conservation long before this proposed legislation was ever written. Actually, I’m not aware of a single conservation group from any quarter that was asked to give specif recommendations to the legislation prior to its first public release. This, and the lack of other local stakeholder involvement from the beginning has caused great consternation.

          I agree fully that the Bahamian government should have complete control of their own resources, but there economy is greatly affected by tourism. I found it regrettable that despite going through proper channels, they felt the issue not worth addressing to media outside the Bahamas. I fear this sends the message that bonefish anglers from abound who collectively spend millions of dollars a year in their country (or from DIY anglers on vacation) are not important enough to address,

          As far as a meeting goes with outsiders, Minister Grey has made it very clear that BFFIA is the only voice he will listen to regarding fly fishing concerns in the Bahamas. BFFIA strongly supports this proposed legislation and has stated publicly many times that they don’t feel it will be viewed as anti-DIY.

          This is why there is such an outcry from local critics who could be negatively affected by the legislation, and who feel disenfranchises since they do not feel that BFFIA is representing them accurately.
          Travel agencies, AFFTA, and multiple fly shop owners and anglers in the U.S. have also voiced their displeasure.

          Thanks again Dan, I hope this helps.

          Thanks again Dan, I appreciate your in put.

          • Dan

            Beau,

            Thank you so much for responding. Considering your lack of qualification in this area, I appreciate your comments. I agree, it would be best for BTT to answer my questions.

            As for my boycott comment, I was just trying to show that not only Americans boycotting can impact the Bahamas but the Bahamas is also capable of having an even more impact on us.

            Also, I am a little confused, because you state that BFFIA strongly supports the proposed legislation. So why, if they support it, in it “as is form”, has made recommendations? Or are you saying that BFFIA is strongly in support of proposing legislation? Just need some clarity.

            Thanks again.

            • Beau Beasley

              Dan,

              Thanks so much for you contribution to this conversation. Open dialog like this is how good ideas get exchanged, and all parties can contribute to a win/win solution.

              First, I want to be clear that BFFIA has a Board of Directors and they alone speak with a united voice for BFFIA, I am merely relaying my impressions having communicated with them both collectively, and through personal phone calls with President Smith. To get their precise take on this, I suggest you contact President Smith by sending him a message here so he has a chance to speak to this for himself. You might also contact Ms. Geneva Wilson who was kind enough to provide clarity earlier today ,and is in fact the Secretary for BFFIA (she’s also done a great job of providing me some documentation that I needed so I owe her a shout out!).

              I do believe (and again this is my opinion only) that BFFIA strongly supports the legislation overall, though they would like to see some additional language to the legislation concerning how the license fees would be spent. I have referred to this extensively in my article and provided their entire position paper. They feel this is not anti-DIY and provides a good starting point to provide conservation protection and will help ensure employment for some of their members who are guides.

              Local critics of the proposed legislation, such as AFFGA (who also helped me with documentation by the way) has a very strong conservation history and has worked cooperatively with BTT and other groups that I named. They object that the proposed legislation is very vague (and some of this is by design to provide latitude) and does indeed discriminate strongly against DIY anglers, and will hurt multiple local businesses if it passes. They also think it odd that the only conservation measures taken seem to be aimed against wading anglers, while turning a blind eye to dredging and mining to name just a few complaints. I would also point out that AFFGA can speak for themselves, and I would direct you to Justin Sands their President, or Cindy Pinder, their VP for direct in put.

              One thing I would like to address is that not a single person I interviewed, or any critics of this proposed legislation locally, or in the US, objects to purchasing a license in any way. This narrative that the push back from this proposed legislation is about increased cost is false.

              Instead, the push back comes from the fear that 50% of the funds will be funneled off to the general fund to never be seen again, while the conservation money is earmarked for projects and uses yet unknown.

              Dan, thanks again for your insight and positive contributions to this conversation, I’m sure the folks interested in bonefishing and all that entails appreciates it.

          • Geneva Wilson

            Beau,

            I need to point out to you, that when Minister Grey made it clear that BFFIA is the ‘only voice he will listen to as it relates to the proposed legislation’, he was referring to other local fly fishing Associations which represent a specific island or group, and unable to speak Nationally from Bimini to Inagua. If the Minister was not interested in considering others’ points of view, why have a National Consultation or invite Stakeholders to send their recommendations into to them at fisheries@bahamas.gov.bs? I think Dan’s suggestion for a meeting is valid.

            Please note that BFFIA strongly supports the need for flyfishing and conservation regulation and legislation and felt the need for amendments to be made to the proposed draft, hence our recommendations.

            • Beau Beasley

              Geneva,

              Thanks so much for providing the clarification on this point. I was under the impression that AFFGA and other guides had already weighed in on the issue at the AGM.

              As you rightly point out BTT along with BFFIA and AFFGA have submitted comments in writing as have a multitude of individual anglers. Still, I get the sense from some stakeholders that the time given to respond to the legislation was very brief.

              Perhaps Geneva, BFFIA might consider hosting a meeting where Minister Grey,could speak face to face with BTT, AFFGA, a few representatives from AFFTA since they are the national voice for fly fishing manufacturers and fly shops in the US.

              Like you Geneva, I think Dan’s idea could be productive.

              Thanks again for adding the clarification, I very much appreciate it.

            • Ted C.

              I just read the BFFIA Official Position and recommendation to the Proposed Bahamas Fisheries Legislation and in particular the last paragraph addressing Unguided Anglers (UGA) and I quote “Their fishing license should allow them to wade on a flats near the lodge to fish……..anglers should be permitted to fish on feet (wading) as long as they are staying at a licenced fishing lodge.
              Is BFFIA’s recommending that unguided fishing is ONLY allowed if you stay in a designated fishing lodge and can only fish near the lodge you are staying at, really ? Wouldn’t that be considered total disregard for other local accommodation businesses that are not designated bonefish lodges. Who in his right mind would be willing to pay premium money to be restricted to fishing the same football field size flat in front of the lodge every day for two weeks when you can have ALL of Belize, Mexico, Cayman. Los Rogues and a host of other welcoming destinations in total freedom ? If the BFFIA members lack the foresight to see this, I can only hope that the more important final decision makers are wise enough to and can !
              Just another thought, since unguided fishing is only allowed wading on foot and only near the designated fishing lodge you stay at, I’m assuming that second home owners who have several thousands of dollars invested in their country’s economy who happen to also own a Bahamian registered and licensed fishing skiff can’t fish PERIOD, not only because they can’t fish out their boat on their own without hiring a guide but because they are not staying at a “licensed lodge” !
              Seriously can one not help but read between the lines here !

              • Geneva Wilson

                Ted,

                BFFIA did realize after sending the proposed recommendation that Item 14. was unclear and ambiguous, so we clarified our position to the Ministry of Marine Resources below:

                “Anglers
                should be permitted to fish on feet (wading) provided they have paid
                their license fees and are staying either in a local fishing lodge,
                hotel, Bed & Breakfast, renting a Bahamian residence or apartment or
                visiting friends or family. In the genuine cases where such facilities
                have flats that are located directly behind or across the road from
                them, who cater to Anglers who like to fish by themselves, should be
                permitted, and not restricted, as long as they are staying at that
                certified lodge or facility.”

                • Ted C.

                  How generous and considerate !

    • Kathy Kanda

      Thanks, Doug. I don’t doubt the sincerity of all commentators’ desire to protect the fishery. But my experience with conservation groups and fly fishing groups is that they tend to operate in a vacuum without regard to the larger social context in which they are operating. I met Prescott Smith several years ago and was impressed by his comprehensive vision for developing the fly fishing industry as a means toward the larger goals of environmental conservation and sustainable economic development. Sadly, the other Americans who were guests at his lodge the same week I was there pretty much ignored his presentation because, for them, it was all about the number and size of the fish they caught, bragging about their money, and basically being drunk and obnoxious — poster boys for the ugly American. And the patronizing tone of many of the comments only reinforces my sense that this is really about self-determination for the Bahamian people and not just the perceived rights of individual anglers and self satisfied environmentalists.

      • Doug

        Thanks Kathy, I agree the patronizing tone represents some of the worst about Americans. The term “Ugly American” didn’t pop up out of nowhere. I can almost visualize the group you saw at the lodge. I think self detemination for the Bahamian people is a good thing and wish them nothing but success as they try to figure this thing out.

        • marie

          Whats all the noise about? As a Bahamian there is nothing wrong with people fishing in the Bahamas on their own. The problem is they should rent from Bahamian owned accommodations. Such as Bahamian owned lodges guest houses ect. Secondly anglers can fish on their own by foot alone , not in boats , kayaks etc and not be allowed to fish the same flats as Bahamian guides. Because it is not fear to the guides. We have nothing wrong with diys they just have to do things in the right way. I agree not every one could afford a full trip of guided fishing. lets be real no one is against it . But the rules have to be respected. I am a Bahamian and i do not go fishing where the guides go because i respect them. That is their living so how can i go against them. Give right where there is right. I know of alot of places where anglers can fish and not bother the guides. This is my five cents.

        • Will

          I’m curious if you would both accept an ugly American who supports self determination of Bahamian’s, I know Prescott quite well and and he would. While I may have been dunk and objnoxious on occasion there are segments of our population who have struggled and still do against very similar circumstances. Unfortunately many of them can’t afford to pay to go fishing in the Bahamas, those who can, can be allies as we have walked the road a long as you have.

          • Doug

            Why of course I will, I don’t have any friends who haven’t been drunk and obnoxious.
            Always battle for the underdog and the oppressed. Not everybody was born white and rich.

        • Will

          I appreciate your acknowledgement

  • Steve Marsh

    As an angler that uses guides but also appreciates the DIY experience, I am troubled by the ambiguity (or not) surrounding the DIY approach. From your article, it sounds like I and a group of friends can drive to a flat and commence to fish. But first we need a license which will be issued by a guide or other interested party. How, or why< would I make a trip to the Bahamas hoping that i can get a DIY valid license after I arrive. Ms. Cartwright from Greenwich Creek Lodge has a valid concern in that a portion of her DIY business will evaporate given the current uncertainty. I recently viewed some YouTube segments of an interview about this subject.
    Although I do not have the names of the interviewees handy, two of them were opposed to DIY. While agree with another commenter that the Bahamas being an independent nation has every right to decide for themselves the course they wish to take, we fishermen hare thw same right. I would say that I use a guide at least 75 percent of the time but I certainly enjoy finding, sighting presenting to and catching a bonefish on my own.

    • Beau Beasley

      Steve,

      Your point is well taken. One of the topics I didn’t have room to cover is the subject of how will the new fishing licenses be sold. Questions like by whom, how, where and when are not clearly spelled out. Most agree that on-line purchase is the way to go.

      Another factor is knowing which flats you can and can’t fish. Few anglers will take the chance to fishing illegally (and unknowingly on a closed flat) if the fine for doing so is $3,000 and or jail time.

      I agree not having this clearly spelled out could discourage anglers from coming to the Bahamas.

      Thanks again for reading MidCurrent
      Beau

      • Steve Marsh

        And thank you for the reporting on this topic of great interest

        • Beau Beasley

          Steve,

          You’re more than welcome. Rest assured MidCurrent will be keeping an eye on this issue and so will I. Be sure to spread the word to your friend who may have not read about this yet.

      • Shawn Leadon

        Hello Beau
        This issue was clearly look at by the department of fisheries. Anglers will be permitted to get licenses online and all information will be posted clearly for everyone to review. This process takes time and information will be sent out to all by the department.

    • bonefish simon

      to all that fish the Bahamas thanks ,Tuesday I meet a lady from Abaco she said my grandson want to be a bonefish guide ,when he get 19 ,I smile then she say what about .the new law that will past ,I said because of this new law your grandson will be able to guide ,
      think about this I fish all over the U.S.A
      MY LAST TRIP TO ALASKA I LEAVE MY LICENSE IN THE HOTEL ROOM
      HAD TO GO BACK AN HOW IT ON ME OR I GET DEPORTED.
      WHAT GOOD FOR THE GOOSE CAN NOT BE BAD FOR BAHAMIAN
      LOVE ARE CLIENTS THANKS .ENJOY FISHING YOU GUYS.

      • Kevin

        Yes, I would like to hear more from the Native Bahamians on how these proposals would affect them. I can understand why the Bahamians that own a Lodge want more guided business, but it would be interesting to hear about Natives that own Grocery stores, car rentals, Inns and other businesses that may have a stake in these laws. And as others have said, I can see no where in the proposals that address Conservation issues. The only issues I see are to almost eliminate the DIY angler.

      • Erik Cronk

        well, i think it’d be safe to say you wouln’t be deported for that. Nor would you receive a $3,000 fine or be put in jail. Worst case scenario you get a fine of less than $100 from most states. But I’d be willing to bet any conservation officer in Alaska that stopped someone for this would give him every chance to show proof at a later date before a fine was issued. One thing you would probably get though would be alot of questions on how you got there, i’m sure it’s not every day they run into Bahamians up there 🙂

  • Kevin

    Beau, Thank you for a well written part II. This article sums up the situation much better than Part I…… While the BFFIA motives are self serving, they would even have an adverse effect upon themselves. It is already affecting businesses in the Bahamas, because of these proposals.
    Everyone here pretty much agrees that regulations are needed for conservation. However they are directed at the DIY angler, that is not only a customer of the BFFIA, but is probably more conservation minded than anyone fishing the Bahamas.

    • Beau Beasley

      Kevin,

      Thanks for your kind remarks regarding my article. The topic is so broad and there are so many issues and players, you really can’t do it justice in one setting. To be honest, I had a lot more I could have written about but I don’t want to overwhelm my readers.

      As far as BFFIA being self serving, I think any special interest group is subject to that charge, because it is there function. The issue here is does this group represent a good cross section of the fly fishing business in the Bahamas, and will the policies they are pushing help or hurt their industry as a whole. As you rightly point out the efforts to safeguard their resources are directed at the potential damage done to DIY anglers, but doesn’t speak to other actions like dredging, mining or netting bonefish which by comparison quite small.

      I also agree that DIY anglers would be very supportive of strong conservation actions and would have no problem with buying a license to support those efforts.

      Thanks again for reading MidCurrent,
      Beau

  • Mark sides

    Issues such as this latest proposal will always have it’s controversies. Cause and effect will always follow the money. The income these fisheries generate is seemingly endless. The resource needs the proper protection.
    Given time one can hope that quality science, common sense, and smart people will prevail.

  • Al Alborn

    Exellent summation! I hope you keep doing investigative outdoor sports journalism. You just keep getting better and better!

  • Bjorn Stromsness

    Beau, I think you largely missed the most concerning points about restrictions on DIY fishing for most anglers.

    Six of the Islands, as the BFFIA language states, would have no DIY. There could be more of this as well.

    Others could have specific zones designated for DIY. Zones don’t really work though. What if the zone in on the South facing side of an island and you have a 30 mph wind from the South? Can you maneuver to get out of the wind? Are you going to take a trip if you aren’t sure if you are going to even have any fishable flats?

    So, if you make some Islands (including some of the most popular DIY destinations like Crooked and Acklins) totally off limits and the others limited to the point of being unpredictable… well… not much point in going, is there?

    You say “What’s more, wading anglers may fish on their own,” but that would not be true in most places.

    With six of the Islands totally off limits and designated spots only on others and no ability to fish out of a boat on your own… what percentage of the flats (and, yes, the Bahamas has the most flats of anywhere in the Caribbean) is the DIY angler going to be allowed to fish? .05%? And, really, what percent of the massive number of flats can the DIY angler really access on their own anyway? Haven’t seen the rental car that can get me to Ragged Island yet and it is a bit far for a SUP.

    The reason folks are concerned isn’t the fines or, mostly, the boat issue (most diy anglers don’t get to bring their own boats), and only a few get someone to ferry them out to flats. The real issue is that the proposals would effectively end DIY fishing in most places.

    I think that really is the heart of the whole thing. Everything else is just window dressing. Force anglers who want to experience the flats to hire a guide. The underlying belief seems to be that when all the math is in, there will be more guide dates booked than when you have free access to the flats. Folks like me, we disagree with that because we know our family trips with a guide day and DIY+a guided day trips will stop.

    This spring I took my family to Abaco. It was a family trip. Two kids, my wife, my dad and I. We dropped well over $15,000 on the trip, which included 1.5 guided days of fishing. I also managed to get out on my own for a couple hours. Otherwise it was pools and beaches. If this stuff goes through and I can’t put in those few hours of DIY (or don’t know if I’ll be able to, if the open zone is close enough to make that even possible), I would have simply gone somewhere else.

    You are right about the guide prices. I never saw a statement from the BFFIA about setting guide rates at $600. I think that came from a new story and was someone saying something like “You think people are going to come for $600 a day guides?” That number got picked up and repeated. Guides can set their own prices and most are below $600, although not by much.

    • Beau Beasley

      Bjorn,

      Thanks so much for your input here. I also really appreciate your passion as you are clearly motivated by your desire to help anglers understand what is going on, and where the can fish.

      I’ve looked at the legislation as written and there don’t seem to be area that are off limits now, but that could change. The recommendations of BFFIA are just that recommendations. They are merely putting in put forward the Bahamian government has asked for.

      You are in fact a classic case of what the critics of this legislation fear will actually happen if it goes through without major changes.

      You wrote

      “The underlying belief seems to be that when all the math is in, there
      will be more guide dates booked than when you have free access to the
      flats. Folks like me, we disagree with that because we know our family
      trips with a guide day and DIY+a guided day trips will stop.”

      The fear is precisely what you said, that not being able to occasionally fish on your own in a boat, or have easy access to the flats will drive many DIY fly fishing visitor away for good

      As far as the rotating flats goes, I can see where that might need to happen, but they need to make it public knowledge 6 months to a year in advance so traveling anglers can plan accordingly.

      Thanks again for your input, I very much appreciate it.

      • Bjorn Stromsness

        Hi Beau and thanks for the response.

        This is from the BFFIA proposals:

        “Islands like Long Island, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Exuma, Acklins and Crooked Island need special protection because of their the geography, the roads are constructed on the side of the islands directly on the flats, which exposes and makes the fishery very vulnerable for abuse to over fishing. UGA, because of the easy access, should not be allowed to fish these islands especially due to the limited flats, increased wading traffic and the already applied pressure on the fishery to avoid the already depletion of the fish population.”

        So, there are areas already being set aside as No DIY, although, yes, this isn’t the law yet, just a proposal.

        What isn’t clear to me (or I think anyone else) is if there would be UGA/DIY zones set up on some islands, or on all islands. Prescott has said things in the past that would lead me to believe he sees no restrictions being placed on unguided anglers on Andros, Grand Bahama or Abaco (which, I might add, have more mangroves and nursery systems than probably the rest of the Bahamas combined, so if this was really about DIY being a threat to the resource, you’d have to include those areas).

        However, this sentence “These zoned areas must be assigned with consultation with the Local Guides and Lodges on each island because of their unique geography…” would seem to leave that open as a possibility.

        Again, just a proposal, not back from the AG, not in front of the cabinet, but it would seem to suggest the DIY boxes could come to all the Islands.

    • Ted C

      So if specific restricted zones and areas are created for the conservation and “protection” of the environment in general, are they just restricted to DIY only, or “all fishing”, including locals and guided anglers ? because I may be missing something here. If they are only restricted to DIY only but still allow guided anglers and locals to fish these same areas or zones, how is that really going to protect the environment ?
      If that’s the case, although these restricted areas are supposed to be implemented for the protection of the environment as they say, in reality it sounds to me the real purpose of such restriction is simply to keep unguided angles out.

      • Kevin

        Bingo !…. That is the only way to read the proposals. I see almost no Conservation measures in these proposals.

        • Geneva Wilson

          Dear Ted & Kevin;

          “If specific restricted zones and areas are created for the conservation and “protection” of the environment in general”, BFFIA is of the view that it should be restricted for “all fishing”.

          As for our proposed zoned areas for Unguided Anglers, we recommend that guided anglers should be restricted.

          I disagree with you Kevin other than BTT, BFFIA proposed conservation and protection and were the only ones advocating against the mining and dredging of the flats and mangroves.

          • Ted C.

            Thank you for the clarification Geneva. Can you please also clarify whether the BFFIA is making a proposition that there should be restricted zoned areas or is the BFFIA actually proposing which specific zoned areas are to be restricted ?
            I’m to assume that such complicated task would be undertaken and decided by independent and qualified biologist backed by scientific research and data which will rule out any suspicion of conflict of interest from other parties.

            • Geneva Wilson

              BFFIA is making a proposition that there should be restricted zoned areas based on the tremendous communications we have had with most of our members and other stakeholders.

              We have only requested that Lodges and Guides should also be included in that consultation and decision .

  • Stephen

    Thank you for putting this information together! This is a great resource for educting people on the subject.
    Boy will things get interested when that first foreign law breaker gets arrested for wade fishing… Picture Tom Brokaw (or anyone from ESPN’s “Pirates of the Flats”) in handcuffs. If this is how they want to make it on world news, go for it. We can always send Dennis Rodman over to negotiate his or her release.

    Side note: Pass this ridiculously misguided legislation so that the potential clients are unhappy with restrictions and costs. Follow that up with further relaxation of the travel restrictions between Cuba and the US. Lets see how many of these “guides” are looking for other ways to make a buck in a few years. I know I will have been on my last Bahamian Bonefishing trip for a long time.

    • Beau Beasley

      Stephen,

      Thanks so much for your kind words about the article, I worked really hard on it.

      Now for a few points of clarification. This legislation would apply to everyone as I read it. Perhaps I am wrong, but I believe residents would also be treated the same way. This is why I stated even second home owners who owned their own boats, were NOT allows to go fishing without a guide as currently written.

      Also, please don’t write off the Bahamas yet as this legislation is still being formulated. What I’ve written my two articles about is what is PROPOSED, and what is not included (like clear conservation goals) or addressed.

      Again, don’t give up on the Bahamanian people, they are both resourceful and intelligent. I think they want to do the best they can and don’t want to turn tourist away. Keep in mind this legislation is still being crafted/debated among the policy makers.

      If you truly like the article, please feel to repost it, share it, tweet it, and do anything else you think you can to get your fellow anglers to read it. We all make better decisions when we have all the facts we can muster and include all the stakeholders.

      • Stephen

        Funding from license sales for the purpose of supporting guides and lodges should not be provided directly to a bank, but set asside in a government program that can assist with guarantees or as a second position lienholder to lower the risk banks have when making loans. They should check out programs like the SBA 7a (guides) and 504 (lodges) in the states as solid models. Give the banks the money and you will never see it again.
        My point above was that the BFFIA also needs to consider what would happen if another major player (Cuba) entered their market offering easy access, low cost, and no restriction DIY fishing adventures. Also, $3,000 or jail time for flyfishing is silly.

        • Dan

          Stephen,

          I like your funding suggestion.

          So Grand Cayman’s CI$500,000 and one year in prison is?

          • Stephen

            The penalty you site does not specifically apply to catch and release flats fishing. They are addressing a much bigger issue with that regulation and it is a far more inclusive conservation plan than what the BFFIA has proposed. The penalty you sight is not comparable. It is intended to address large scale poaching and reef damage issues, not a guy with a fly rod in ankle deep water catch and release fishing.

            There is also no licensing required for that in the Caymans (local or foreign) for catch and release fishing from shore, but I would have no problem buying a license. There are also no laws about having a Camanian Guide with every non-resident fisherman, which is what the BFFIA proposal is attempting to pass, and everyone has such a problem with.

            • Geneva Wilson

              Stephen:

              From my investigations and discussions with the Grand Cayman Chief Environment Officer, there is no fishing license required of short term visitors or Caymanians except Permit Workers, Second Homeowners, VISA Students,Ex-Pats…. and yes, no license required for C&R. But he was clear to point our that severe penalties are enforced if C&R is found fishing in any of the Marine Parks or Wildlife Sanctuaries, beyond the $3,000 proposed by Government NOT BFFIA.

              Your statement is misleading and untrue. BFFIA did and is not proposing that every non-resident fisherman, has to hire a Guide.

              • Stephen

                My mistake. There would be UGA zones. That approach makes it sound as though they would be rather limited. Would seem to make more sense to do smaller zones with guided only restriction rather than closing everything but a few spots. That is far less threatening.

                Your point on the Caymans is also misleading and untrue. You are permitted to C&R fish in all “Marine Parks” with the exception of 1 “Environmental Zone” and clearly not in stingray alley or the 3 Animal Sanctuary Ponds. That is it. Hardly a vast area restriction. This is a structure clearly focused on Conservation and not wasting effort Over regulating individual C&R anglers who have such little impact.

                • Geneva Wilson

                  Stephen,

                  You are correct in the Marine Park and also Replenishment Zones. It was meant to be Environmental Zone and Wildlife Interaction Zones. Thank you for pointing out my error.

      • Cindy James Pinder

        Hi Beau,

        Thanks for asking anglers not to write of the Bahamas as yet!

        As the draft was written, fishing permits would not apply to Bahamians. Second-home owners are considered visitors in the Bahamas unless they have Permanent Residence status. (Some do, some do not.) Permanent Residency entitles one to all of the legal rights of a Bahamian with the exception of voting. One must be a Bahamian Citizen to vote.

        That being said, at the second consultation meeting the Minister did say that a permanent resident in a Bahamian owned boat would indeed need to hire a guide to fish on the flats. It was all very confusing.

        It would be safe to say that everything is open to interpretation at this point and the worst part of all of this is that none of us have any idea what may or may not be in the clean bill being prepared by the Attorney General’s office.

        • Beau Beasley

          Cindy,

          You are more than welcome. I do not want to see anglers abandon the Bahamas as I feel this will not only hurt the locals, it will mean less awareness for the marine life that needs protection.

          Thanks also for your help in providing documentation for this important issue. I hope this article brings the issue to light, and helps provide some positive resolution.

    • Shawn Leadon

      Mr Stephen – You seem to believe in your mind that bahamians will ultimately die if American don’t come to the Bahamas. My find you are wrong! In fact the United States is trying to warm up to Cuba after all these years of an embargo they didn’t die. In fact they don’t need the US as the have shown for nearly 50 years. Your country always tries to impose sanctions on other countries that doesn’t comply with your capitalism approach. Our Anglers that visit our shores have become friends and families to our Bahamian people. Friends and families aren’t suppose to screw each other over. The hard facts are we are building and Industry which by right Bahamians are to be in control of. Ms Geneva Wilson has repeatedly shown you factual information. The reality of things are most of you will over sights the real objective here. My friends it is about empowering Bahamians. If you don’t, they have to revert back to culture which is extracting from the environment. The educational purposes of creating awareness and empowering the locals thus making them stewards of the environment. This is true conservation.,……

      • Cindy James Pinder

        The average state salary in Cuba rose 1 percent in 2013 to 471 pesos($20) a month, which maintains the trend toward slight increases seen in recent years, according to an official report published Tuesday.Jun 17, 2014
        Shawn, Maybe it’s different in Andros, but on Abaco, I don’t know a single guide who has ever been hired by a Bahamian. I personally find your anti-American and anti-foreigner rhetoric offensive and short sighted. I think it important for the readers of this board to understand that many Bahamians and I, along with the AFFGA do not support the values or beliefs of the BFFIA for obvious reasons. It is disheartening to me to see the things that BFFIA board members are saying about the very people who are our much-valued clients and visitors to our country. The Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association members welcome all fisherman to Abaco and hope that we may some day have an opportunity to fish you.

        • Shawn Leadon

          Good Marketing Mrs Pinder. I appreciate your efforts to clearly and continuely put forward your agenda. Who is AFFGA? I’ll bet you no one in the Bahamas outside Abaco knows who you are. The point am making is you as an American married to a Bahamian from Abaco have very little exposure to what is actually going on outside of Abaco with the rest of the Bahamas. I don’t expect anything better from you.

          Bahamas Sports Fishing Conservation Association ( BSCA ) has assisted Bahamas National Trust ( BNT ) with the Discovery Club, Andros Urban Renewal Program with their summer students, Young Marine Explorers ( YME ) with their ongoing educational programs. BSCA has hired the engineering company as it relates to opening blocked creek systems arround the bahamas . Presently they are working on a clean up national ramp litter free campaign. As for BFFIA this year we have been working with Andros Urban Renewal with the students, educating locals and students of the value and conservation of their marine environment and working with BSCA on ramp restoration programs around the Bahamas.

          So Mrs Pinder no where has the BSCA or BFFIA used any of these platform as a marketing agenda or any self serving reasons. Oh and to also point out to you and others who may read your harangued messages. You and your selfish team blocked all attempts to raise funds to he move these very same important agendas forward during the weeks leading up to the AGM. You and others are quick to point fingers at Mr Prescott Smith who has done nothing but educate and empower Bahamians everywhere. He also sits as Council Member for education on Bahamas National Trust appointed by the Prime Minister. All attempts to defame his character by you, Ian Davis, Cheryl Bastian, Oliver White, Benjamin Pratt, and a few others have failed miserably. The board of BFFIA led by Mr Prescott Smith will hold firm to our morals and continue to do what is best for the Bahamas at large inclusive of your little group of disgruntles.

          Re Cast Long strip!

          Shawn Leadon

          • Prescott Smith

            Shawn,
            Thanks for educating persons about the FACTS and not opinions. Additional facts which can be easily confirmed . The Prime Minister said publicly ,which is recorded, that it was BSCA that educated the entire Government of The Bahamas about the natural resources of The Country. This was done through Presentations to the entire Cabinet of The Bahamas, for a total of seven hours in Cabinet combined with all Ministers of The Government present. Secondly BSCA went with the present Attorney General to the Fly Tackle Dealer show in Denver Colorado.

            BSCA took Government officials to the IGFA in Florida . BSCA partnered with The Nature Conservancy with a grant to led to the westcoast of Andros being made a protected area today. BSCA first took BNT officials to the westcoast to see the importance of the area being protected for the protection of the largest concentration of Mangrove system in the entire Bahamas.
            Perk Perkins from Orvis who was the deputy Chairman of The Nature conservancy was one of the persons on that trip, and can easily confirm. Dr. Aaron Adams from BTT can confirm that his field work was launched in The Bahamas due to that grant being secured by BSCA, and TNC. The Bahamas National Trust joined the partnership as a third partner. It was the network of Guides from BSCA with the local knowledge which made the REA successful, as they were the ones with the local knowledge of the westcoast to navigate the area safely, and was able to share years of local knowledge with the Scientist including Dr. Aaron Adams and others.
            Finally it was one of the many goals of BSCA to bring about BFFIA. The fact that we are speaking about BFFIA, and Legislation is all apart of the democratic process.

        • Shawn Leadon

          Mrs Pinder this is not personal nor am I anti- American or anti foreigner as you would stress. Note: My family’s business has been built on the interest of foreigners. Heck my entire life I was surrounded by many person who made my Dad famous and he made them famous. They respected him and give him his recognitions. I grew up all my life seeing Ted Williams, Lefty Krehy, Flip Pallot, Sandy Moret, Jim and Donna Teeny, George Humal, Billly Pate, Harry Spears, Harry Huff, Jim McVay, Melvin koftman and others. These folks became family I saw them frequently growing up. Your sentiments are wrong! My family own the largest Lodge in the country but never once have I put a plug for any of my business. My interest is protecting what is rightfully Bahamian. Educating people about the facts so the don’t have to extract but preserve our natural resources through conservational efforts. Is that such a bad thing?

          • Cindy James Pinder

            Shawn, If you are not anti-American or anti-foreigner I guess you must be anti-business and anti-success as evidenced by the many comments you have made to the fisherman posting in this conversation.
            It sounds as though your family had a glorious past in the fishing industry and you grew up around all the fishing legends. Obviously, your dad understood customer service. It makes one wonder how you don’t see that the tone of the draft legislation makes anglers feel unwelcome in the Bahamas.
            We all want to protect what is rightfully Bahamian. Every single person that has posted is for a reasonably priced fishing license and for sound conservation. The most abundant fishery on earth has little economic value if we can’t utilize it as a sustainable tourism product.

            • Geneva Wilson

              Why is it that everyone keeps saying the “draft legislation makes anglers feel unwelcomed”, knowing that the Minister and Director said it was a just “Working Draft Proposal” to be given to all stakeholders for their input?! But instead of arranging meetings with the Department of Marine Resources to discuss, sending in recommendations with sound and reasonable arguments to them, set out to sensationalize, attack the Bahamian Government, attack and threaten Prescott Smith, Shawn Leadon, their businesses and attack BFFIA!

              Because Shawn would not cower, he must be anti-success or anti-business. I disagree.

              There is a clear indicator here as a Bahamian, which you are not Cindy, as well as most of the Commentators, that my Government is on the right path of regulating this industry in the best interest of the majority Bahamians. Your ‘noise’ says it ALL!

              • Cindy James Pinder

                Immigration would disagree Geneva.

                • Geneva Wilson

                  Okay! So you were born in the Bahamas, lived and grew up in the Bahamas and parents are of Bahamian descent or it is a Bahamian by spouse?

                • Bone<))<<< Colin

                  Hey Cindy
                  Are there any guided clientele that visits Abaco,
                  Or just the DIY anglers that come there to fish?

                  • Cindy James Pinder

                    Yes, we get plenty guided clientele on Abaco. Most of our guides are independent guides but there are 4 lodges and three guest houses that cater to anglers too. My husband has been an independent guide on Abaco for more than 20 years. Our first independent guides started guiding on Abaco in the early 1960’s charging $10 a day! There are probably around 50 guides making a living on Abaco and several more than that who guide on a part-time basis.

                    • Bone<))<<< Colin

                      Okay sounds good, so how are the bone fishing population there in Abaco, are they declining or not? Also are there any NETTING going on in the island of Abaco?

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Before Hurricane Floyd in 1999 our bonefish population was astounding. Since then we have had numerous hurricanes with 4 of them having the eye come right over Abaco. Hurricanes have been devastating to our fish population. That being said, our bonefish population is still amazing! The most exciting thing is that this summer we have had many schools of juvenile bonefish in The Marls which means our bonefish population is growing! We plan on becoming part of BTT’s DNA sampling project when our bonefish season kicks off in October. Dr. Adams is particularly interested in getting DNA samples from the tiny fish. And Colin, just like on Long Island, enforcement of the fishery laws is a problem on Abaco. That is why the AFFGA feels it is imperative that funds generated from a fishing license go toward enforcement. Hiring wardens or fishery officers that can patrol and enforce our fishery laws is the first step in effect conservation of our resource.

                    • Bone<))<<< Colin

                      Yes for Sure, I think our number one priority right now in the BAHAMAS are in urgent need of SERIOUS game and park wardens to protect our fishery for future lives in the guiding business. Did you see the video of the bonefish getting killed by cast nets in Inagua recently? Very Sad!!

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      No, I didn’t see the video. Was it on youtube?

            • Shawn Leadon

              Mrs Pinder:- This draft is/was a working document. You had ample time to send in your concerns. You and others motives were elsewhere. Might I remind you you were a ring leader in kidnapping most of the guides from all arround the Bahamas so I was told at the AGM. You were pointed out by many of them that didn’t know who you were. You attempts to change the out come of the elections FAILED. So that you get the number correct, there was 149 registered voters 127 voted. You decided to leave before that process this leaving a total of 127. So 22 of voting members didn’t vote many of whom was going to vote for the current board. Get over it!

      • Ted C.

        Shawn, I can’t speak for everyone but I doubt anyone is disputing or denying that the Bahamian people should have the right to govern their own affairs or is opposed to building and improving the industry for the best interest and the betterment of all Bahamians as well as the conservation of the natural resources and no one certainly has any right to do so !
        What I think is most concerning, whether it is intended to or not, is the tone the draft proposal is broadcasting by implementing such confining restrictions on unguided fishing which may consequently result in forcing some to vacation elsewhere.
        It is undeniable that the Bahamian sport fishing industry is just a small fraction of the quantitative measure of the GDP of the country and that it may have much smaller economical influence than some may perceive but its the small Mom & Pop business such as grocery shops, restaurants, bed $ breakfast, bakeries, taxi drivers, kayak and boat rentals, car rental, souvenir shop etc. that will be effected most if the implementation of such restrictions forces unguided fishing tourists out. If these businesses are already having a hard time making their bank loan payments as stated in an earlier post, what will the future hold for them if they loose more business ?
        Do these legitimate stake holders have a consolidated voice in this, is the BFFIA representing them and considering their future in improving the industry for the best interest of the Bahamian people ?
        I find this rather ambiguous and hard to comprehend and I am saying this with sincerity not sarcasm.
        Regardless of legislation’s outcome or consequences, the unguided fishermen will always have alternative choices and the freedom to chose where to go and what to do even if it may not necessarily be their favorite and beloved destination but somehow I can’t see the same being said for the small local businesses and it is them that will be effected the most by poorly thought out legislation and the approval.

        • Shawn Leadon

          Mr Ted as I’ve said in the pass we will not die. It is incumbent upon every government to find economic solutions to improve the way of life for its citizens. Your attempt s to overly sensationalize this topic doesn’t help your point. By choice a angler can choose any çountry heshe would love to fish. These are our rules made by our government. We may choose to adjust them in short order but for now it is what it is. Poorly as they may seem to you. These set of rules will help to govern this chaotic situation here in our country. No American life change drastically when you guys decided same sex marriage all over the united states. As much hype surrounding that issue it clearly went through without a hitch. All I say is come and have a bear foot bandit special ( cold kalik and a bowl of conch salad) and just chillax in the warm of our country. It ain’t that serious buddy!!!!

          • Kevin

            No chillax is what we used to do! Now you are threatening with Jail sentences and $3,000 fines and no one knows what the rules are. Why make any plans until the situation is known?

          • Ted C.

            So in other words bring my money but leave my fly rod at home, thank you for your kind invitation Shawn that’s very generous and considerate of you.
            Not over sensationalizing by a long shot, just stating genuine facts and not disguising or in denial of other intentions.
            Am I to understand by your writing that the government has already made the rules and just waiting to make them public or are they being discussed and evaluated ?

          • Ted C.

            Oh I’m confident you will survive, human nature can be surprizing resilient however, there is a considerable difference between survival and prosperity. Perhaps we should ask our other neighbors in Cuba which of the two they would prefer given that choice.

            • Shawn Leadon

              You know I find it quite disturbing your tone. Typical of those who think by diagreeing with you there would be a economical shift. Many have tried in the pass and failed. The new generation of leaders are quite aware of what has happened in the pass. You like many in the pass can choose to go where you want to. It’s your choice! I will and continue to say its better in the Bahamas. If you believe for one second that Cuba and Avolon will allow all of this chaos you got another thing coming. Castro and his leaders have proven to be no joke! Good luck with your Cuban Adventures. They to will learn not to be exploited and bam boozled. Then what?

          • Cindy James Pinder

            That you think that this issue “ain’t that serious buddy!!!!” is nothing short of stunning and appalling coming from a guide, lodge owner, BFFIA board member, and BSCA board member. The people opining on this message board find the issue extremely serious. Your callous statements are an example why a change of leadership of the BFFIA was so important to many of us.

          • Ted C.

            It may not seem that serious to you sir but perhaps you should make an honest effort and ask those who will be victimizes and effected the most how serious it is !
            I can’t speak for Avalon or Castro but I do know that they are not creating any chaos but instead are presently in an ongoing negotiations process to ease and elleviate their own existing restrictions hmmmm, I wonder why !
            It will be interesting to see which people will eventually benefit the most, the once that choose to negotiate and ease existing restrictions or the once that rather choose to implement them, only time will tell.
            If the BFFAI want to use other countries such as Canada as an example of unguided restrictions on certain salmon and steelhead rivers in specific Provinces, perhaps they should consider implementing similar restrictions for North Andros and similarly let the other islands decide and choose for themselves since the BFFIA does not represent all the Islands.
            What I’m having difficulty with is understanding why the BFFIA or its representatives are in denial that they just don’t want unguided anglers, why not just man up and admit it instead of hiding behind unrealistic restrictions and then state that unguided fishermen are welcome.
            Having read hundreds of posts on several websites and blogs I have yet to come across a single post opposing or denying Bahamians control over their own sovereignty or disputing the need for conservation measures and environmental protection or denying Bahamians better education, or against implementing a non resident fishing license, in fact everyone seems to agree and is in support of these serious issues, so what is the real issue ?

            • Shawn Leadon

              That question is redirected to you Sir what is the real issue? Lmao! At least you’ve come to grips with this. Lol. Thank you! I’ ll tell you, Bahamians taking charge of their own destiny……..

              • Ted C.

                BFFIA’s denial and deceit with regards to unguided fishing !

                • Geneva Wilson

                  Hmmm!

      • Stephen

        Bahemians should absolutely control the resource, educate the population, and find methods to earn a living from it while ensuring it will flourish for all future generations. I am just missing how some unguided catch and release fishermen are such a large problem. Why not see what happens with stiff regulation of mining, netting and poaching do, before this minority population so heavily restricted. I could not agree more that licensing is needed to generate revenue to fund these changes and, as long as they are easily available at a reasonable cost (which they are proposed to be), I doubt anyone gives it a second thought.

        Never said or implied that anyone is going to die, future clients will only be discouraged and search out other options. No Cubans didn’t die either and they don’t necessarily need Americans. I am just pointing out a direct competitor to a large number of potential bonefish guide clients that should not be taken for granted.

        • Shawn Leadon

          Sir the Bahamas has no competition. We have the largest nursery system in the world the most fishable flats in the world no comparison anywhere. A prime example of lack of conservation effiorts to protect its resources is Florida. When your fish stocks have nearly been depleted then you try to raise awareness. Look the point is The Bahamas will do what’s best for our country. Your opinion is your opinion. You cannot predict the future for you don’t have the miraculous skills for future economics or do you? Nothing personal but I feel as though you have turn the wrong signal on you are headed in the wrong direction. Check closely at your country faults before engaging in others. I am happy to debate clear goal on achieving a rational approach to government about certain issues. But don’t keep curt tailing this issue with DIY and business lost as a result of sensationalism.

    • Ted C.

      Avalon in Cuba is totally booked for 2016 with just a few openings left .

  • Martin Clark

    What about a Bahamian that wants to DIY????

    I’m not clear if I will be restricted to the tourist only DIY areas or as a local can go anywhere I want with or without a boat? Do I risk a $3000 dollar fine for fishing my own waters DIY style?

    • Beau Beasley

      Martin,

      You’ve asked some good questions so let me address them.The short answer is YES, you will have to abide by the same rules as any other DIY tourist, even if you own your own boat. I believe I mentioned this in the beginning of the article.

      As to wading flats the flats, I find nothing in the legislation that says you would be immune from prosecution, so yes you are subject to the same rules as currently written. If you have no permit and fished in a closed area you could be fined $3,000, or go to jail for three months…or both. As a matter of fact, they can also confiscate all your fishing gear that was used as well.

      Thanks for being involved in this important Bahamian issue.

      • Dan

        Beau,

        I do not think it applies to Bahamians as I cannot see where it speaks directly to locals. Can you please direct me to it? Maybe someone from BFFIA or the Bahamas Minister of Marine Resources need to clarify. If Martin is Bahamian then he has direct access to obtain that from them and kindly advise us.

        Also, in Grand Cayman, I note that you can be fined up to CI$500,000, a year imprisonment and the possibility of vessel and equipment confiscation. So $3,000 sounds………

        • Beau Beasley

          Dan,

          It does indeed apply to locals.

          I find nothing in the proposed legislation that exempts locals from the fines, or the need to buy a license. There is a link to the proposed legislation in Part I.

          • Bjorn Stromsness

            Note that there is no Foreign or Bahamian difference in license cost. No way anyone is thinking Bahamians would charge a Bahamian $20/day to fish their own waters. That is certainly, 100% not a part of this.

            Nowhere is there talk about a Bahamian vs. foreign angler and you shouldn’t read that it applies to all there, that would be a mistake. This only applies to non-Bahamians.

            • Dan

              Yup! I was kind of thinking the same thing myself.

              • Beau Beasley

                Dan,

                Bjorn is right, I miss read the legislation.Currently Bahamians wouldn’t be subject to the license. They would however still need a guide to go fishing as second homeowners are considered visitors.

                There is still a great deal of murky areas in the bill, and I suppose it will continue be this way until the final bill is released by the AG’s office.

                What is clear however is it will effect DIY anglers to a large degree, and fishing by a foreigner from a boat without a Bahamian guide would be illegal.

                • Bjorn Stromsness

                  When they say “Second home owners” they are talking about foreigners who own a Bahamian home, not about a Bahamain who owns two homes. A Bahamian is a Bahamian. What is a bit sticky, and something that might not make it when the Attorney General writes this up, is restricting Permanent Residents, as they are supposed to have “all rights and responsibilities” of Bahamians. You could be married to a Bahamian and not be able to fish out of your own boat. We’ll see what happens. All this has a long way to go, of course, and things may change or be stripped out altogether by the time it gets to the Cabinet.

            • Cindy James Pinder

              Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) (Flats Fishing) Regulations, 2015 Draft. #3. Permit required for foreign fishing in the flats. (1) A non-Bahamian shall not, unless the holder of a personal permit, engage in foreign fishing with the flats.

      • Martin Clark

        1. Happy to buy a DIY permit……Not happy to be restricted to DIY areas for tourists! What’s that all about??????

        2. What would an annual DIY permit for a Bahamian or permanent resident cost? I’ve only seen day and week prices til now.

        3. I grew up DIY fly and spin fishing for bones and now you are saying I may not without a licensed guide if these proposals get approved…… Maybe I should take out a guiding license just to fulfil my hobby………..? Don’t be so blinkered Bahamas, I’sa a Bahamian bey!

        4. Just watch the fly fishing tourist numbers dwindle.

        • Beau Beasley

          Martin,

          There is no clearly defined DIY as of yet.

          Some areas are under consideration since the bill is still being crafted, but nothing is solid. The same answer applies to the license fees, and just as importantly, who will sell them. Again, there are no answers to these questions.

          There is clarity however that everyone, not just tourist at this point will need to purchase a license of some sort.

          The are many anglers (and quite a few local guides) that are opposed to this bill.

        • Beau Beasley

          I meant to say no clearly defined DIY angler area as of yet.

        • Shawn Leadon

          Just like many others your speculations and sensationalism doesn’t act in good favour for the Bahamas. There are going to be rules follow them and you are good if not then face the penalties. It is the same anywhere else! Is it harsh hummmm? Yes but we must start from some where.

  • North of You

    As a DIY traveling angler I find the proposed regulation beyond disheartening. I’ll be making another trip to the Bahamas next month for a combined independent guided and DIY fishing trip. The best action I can think of at this point is to tell everyone accepting my dollars on the island that the only reason that I’m there is to DIY fish and if that is taken away I won’t be back.

    It’s very clear that this has been about eliminating DIY the entire time, the conservation portion is merely a footnote. I can only image this will be as successful as BahamasAir, BEC, BTC, etc… I can imagine that the only way to enforce this would be the guides patrol their respective areas. Conflict on the flats….

  • rogerthat

    ,,

  • rogerthat

    I’m a Bahamian and fly fisherman ( not a guide). I’m not happy at all about these proposed legislation.I feel that the government /guides are targeting the wrong group of people here. 99% of the anglers that visit our flats practice catch and release and are great stewards. The biggest threat to our boneifsh population are not the foreigners , its the locals yes. The ones the net the them by the hundreds for dinner/ fishing.I know guys who have been doing this on my Island for years and have net to be punished for it.

    • Kevin

      Thanks for this !

  • Craig Rickey

    I will preface by saying I have family in the Bahamas. Family that is directly, as well as indirectly effected by this legislation. I find many parts of the proposed legislation to be very necessary and will benefit my family, but more importantly will help the Bahamas and aid in the fight to preserve and protect its fishing grounds.

    As with any legislation there are consequences. Some of the consequences are unintended others are very well planned and manipulated to benefit certain groups or specific people. I decided to follow the money trail after reading the 2 parts of this article, as it was obvious there were winners and loosers in this legislation. Where there are winners and loosers there is money to be made. The money is wildly misappropriated, and the money is to easily manipulated and ultimately controlled by a very small group of individuals, who have shown themselves to not work in the interest of all by limiting the input of others as well as altering existing rules to best suit the needs of the few.

    $20 a day per fisherman. That seems like an insignificant amount, but considering in the US they will add a sales tax of .05% to raise millions in revenue It can add up. Let’s
    look at the numbers provided by the legislation, and use the numbers provided by the Economic impact study to see how much is at stake andwhy it matters who and has access and who has control.

    – 40% to a “Consolidated” or general fund.
    $20x 40% (20x.4=8) $8 of every licenses to be placed in a fund with no indicator of who will manage the fund and it’s exact purpose. (proposed to be used for enforcement but no specifics provided) Who will decide how this money is used? Will it be an appointed board, or elected? From where will this pool of individuals be taken? Currently the BFFIA is claiming to be the representative voice of the industry, which is greatly contested by many groups, will they be the source that chooses or fills these
    administrative roles?

    -15% to Banks.
    $20x 15% (20x.15=3) $3 of every licenses going to a “Bank”. The proposed reason is
    that it will give the Bahamians wanting to open lodges an even playing field with those who are non Bahamians and can procure loans from outside the Bahamas. First of all if the legislation passes No more outside, or Non Bahamian lodges, ventures will be opening, so it would defeat the outlined purpose. Secondly who will be in charge
    of deciding who will get loans, how will we decide who is on the
    board of the “Bank”? As it stands BFFIA is placing it’s self in a place of Control of many aspects of how funds will be used in other areas, will it be they (BFFIA) who vote on, or decide who is controlling access?

    -5% to BFFIA.
    $20x 15% (20x.05=1) $1 of every license will go to a group that is a self proclaimed
    voice of the Bone fishing industry. They are not an accurate representation of the guides across the Bahamas as indicated by several who were mentioned in the article. They refuse to accept solid science and research. Reasoning that they only accept research
    from a specific group “Bahamas Sportfishing Conservation Association”, which was started by Prescott Smith himself. This may not be, but appears to be very self serving. Refusing sound scientific input from others in the industry. For personal gain seems very short sighted and not in the interest of the industry, but of a single individual or small section of a large industry.

    The BFFIA contends that they will use the moneys to train individuals. Teaching a guide to fish in Andros will not fully prepare a guide to navigate and fish in Abaco, teaching them to fish in Abaco will not prepare them to navigate and fish in Eleuthera. Guiding is best taught by the guides who work and live in the specific areas the new guides will be fishing. It is an investment that must be made by the guide who intends to make
    this their living. Making it an exercise in jumping through a hoop will make them no better a guide. It is a skill that comes from passion. A Mentor ship program would be much better in preparing guides and developing skill and knowledge needed.

    More than half 60% or $12 out of every license will be placed into funds that will not directly be used in the effort to protect and conserve bonefish or the environment in the
    Bahamas. All of those funds instead will be subject to a system that can very easily be used to benefit or profit a single group or small set of individuals. A single group(BFFIA) guaranteeing themselves a large portion of those funds, as well as control in key areas.

    So how much money is it? According to the Economic Impact of Flats fishing study, there were 316,374 guided fishing stays, plus 254,304 self fishing days for a total of 570,678 anglers that would buy licenses. Plug that into the percentages above,
    and below you see the results.

    -“Consolidated” General Fund
    40% or $8 (8×570678) $ 4,565,424 with no clear idea who or how it will be controlled.

    -Bank
    15% or $3 (3×570678) $1,712,034 into a fund that will really have no purpose if the law
    passes. That unneeded bank will need a board. Who gets to say who that board is? How much will we be paying that board? Who will regulate that board? Who gets to decide which lodge is a risk, and which is not? Who gets to pick the winners and looser? They have no plan, just another pool of over $1,000,000 that someone will have
    the opportunity to misuse and squander.

    -BFFIA
    5% or $1 (1×570678) $570,678 in the control of a group who refuses to allow voting members to vote, who refuses to accept scientific data from any group except that from a group its own president founded. Of course they need 5% or half a million. The Guides will still pay for the guide class, and they will use the money to pay the researchers of the research group they founded which consist of members of the board. And who wants to work for free?

    That is a total of 60% of the income from the sale of permits $12 of every permit (12x 570678) $6,848,136 in control of a very small self elected self proclaimed voice of an
    industry that refuses its own members a voice. It is almost $7million that will not be used for conservation and protection, but instead has no reasonable function other than to pad the pockets of a few.

    The victim in this proposal is not the DIY fisherman. He will go to Florida, Belize, Mexico, or soon Cuba where they do not openly despise and prevent him from fishing. He
    will still fish. It is not The Guides, there will always be fishermen who want that little extra guarantee they will catch something, and have no boat, or knowledge of where to go. Yes they will loose some business, but they will survive. It is not necessarily the local
    business, who are the victim, that will loose the millions that are brought in by the fishermen who came and fish a guide a few days but stick around a week more to fish on their own . They survived before Bonefish’s popularity rose. The victim is the Bonefish, and other fish who call the Flats and spawning areas home. The ones who will loose $7million to power hungry, and money hungry boards controlled by a small few. Sure they may throw a few hundred thousand here and there at it, but why settle for a fraction of what should go to the Conservation and Preservation of Bonefish habitat?

    The Permits stand to raise $20 a person, for 570,678 fishermen according to the available numbers used, in the Economic impact report(and that is an extremely low estimate according to the report) or $11,413,560 How about administration gets the 5% and conservation gets 95% or better yet Conservation and preservation gets 100% since that is what this is supposedly about. When you follow the money you know why, this bill is not about and has nothing to do with true conservation, it has to do with power and control.

    • Geneva Wilson

      Dear Craig,

      I think you have made some interesting points but I will not accept your
      disparaging remarks about BFFIA which point at its Board of Directors. I
      am certain you, nor most of the Contributors here, do not know us personally and to make such defamatory remarks of us like “wildly misappropriated and easily manipulated the money”, is downright nasty! Your tone to say the least is patronizing. Since you have made such bold statements, let’s see you provide us ALL with the hard evidence.

      1. Where is your evidence that BFFIA has limited input by others? Please not hearsay evidence!

      2. BFFIA doesn’t claim to be the voice, we are a National Association who
      represents Guides, Lodges and General Members from all around the Bahamas and are concerned about the ENTIRE BAHAMAS, not just a single island or group. The Government acknowledges BFFIA as the national association’s voice for the Bahamas fly fishing industry as AFFTA is to the USA.

      3. Obviously you know little of how our Government’s Public Treasury
      works. All funds are controlled by the Ministry of Finance that go in
      the “General Fund” (Public Treasury). Your $4.5M annually to man our 700 islands and over 2,000 cays in our marine environment is nothing. Our Royal Bahamas Defence Force annual budget alone is almost $60M.

      4. As for the Bahamas Development Bank, it is owned by the Government and
      its people. They have a Board and staff already in place who takes care
      of the day to day operations. They don’t need BFFIA to tell them how to do their job.

      5. Show me where BFFIA refused to accept solid science and research? Please not hearsay evidence!

      6. Can you please explain when BFFIA says as a part of their certification, that a “Guide must do 1-year apprenticeship with a certified guide” any different from
      your “mentorship” comment?

      As for, let us follow the money calculation, we all know that the fly fishing Angler fishes an average of 3 to 5 days so your daily $20 math does not reflect a realistic picture, it is only reasonable to say that most Anglers will opt for the $50 per week license. I will use an average of 3 days and 5 days and you will note the dollar value will begin to dramatically decrease beyond the 3 days and even more for those “UGAs” who stay for a month or more. So 570,678/3 days = 190,226 and 570,678/5 days = 114,136:

      General Fund: ($50 x 40% = $20) $20 x 190,226 = $3,804,520
      (5 days = $20 x 114,136 = $2,282,720)

      Conservation Fund:
      40% = $3,804,520 (5 days – $2,282,720)

      Bah. Dev. Bk: ($50 x 15%= $7.50) $7.50 x 190,226 = $1,426,695

      (5 days = $7.50 x 114,136 = $856,020)

      BFFIA: ($50 x 5%=
      $2.50) $2.50 x 190,226 = $475,565 (5 days = $2.50 x 114,136 = $285,340)

      I am certain that you are aware that marketing alone can easily eat up a $250k budget.

      As far as the power and control, it appears that it is you and others attempting to take away our Sovereign rights and Bahamian determination by dictating to us how we should regulate it, more in favor of yourselves, should carry the “power and control…”.

  • Scott Deal

    Thank you for the excellent reporting and, in general, the civil tone of all the posters here. I have nothing to add regarding what has been said that would add meaningful dialogue to many of the excellent points made here. I don’t want to, or intend on, “getting into it” with about ultimate intent, what’s right, or what’s smart. I can, however give some hard facts.
    I’ve been fly fishing the Bahamas for bonefish since 1980. I have a house there, and as a foreigner I pay RE taxes, unlike native Bahamians. I pay a lot for power and other municipal services (that work on occasion) , American $ that that stays in the Bahamas. I provide employment to care takers and have a never ending stream of trades folks who charge me handsomely to keep my place working. I buy groceries, eat in restaurants and buy locally made goods, including art which I pay way too much for in the effort to help the locals. I pay insurance, and have paid close to $200K in Bahamian duty charges on recent expansion and renovation and kept 15 people working for 10 months while the project was underway.
    I recently shipped a new Skiff over as I like to pole and really enjoy exploring new areas on my own. I’m no longer “angry at the fish” and would rather catch a few in new found territory, or find a new permit or mutton spot, than to rack up numbers. I release most everything save the odd snapper caught on a jig in a channel. I paid ~$10,000 in duty to get the skiff there and paid an islander to pick it up from the port and take it to my house. Last winter, I had plans drawn up for a garage with a care taker apartment and which would house two cars, two boats, and the individual charged with taking care of my house. He was to stay there for free. My plan was to send a small offshore boat to accompany the skiff, planning on paying freight, duty, etc. an other associated costs.
    I had the property picked out and the contractor’s quote, which was not at all likely to be confused with cheap or a bargain. I’ve put all that on hold, wholly because of this pending legislation. No duty on building materials, no work for the masons, electricians, etc and no domicile for the caretaker who currently lives with way too many family members in a dirt floor house.
    Honestly, my take as a 35 year significant foreign contributor to the Bahamian economy, primarily due to my interest in flats fishing, is that this proposal says, in essence, “We don’t want you here, just your money”. For obvious reasons I’ve followed this closely.
    The proposal has already cost the Bahamas a lot of money, just due to it’s existence. Mine is just one of what I am sure is many hundreds if not thousands of examples that have already occurred. Will I dump my assets if this goes through ? I don’t know for sure but I do know that I will not hire a guide out of a principled revulsion to extortion. I’ll do my bonefishing elsewhere, thank you very much.
    I’m also involved in a lot of conservation efforts. I know what they look like and this is not it.

    • Shawn Leadon

      Sir thank you for your indept version of what you think is happening. Firstly, you took measures to claim the Bahamas as your second home. Thus accepting first hand what was presented to you, which made it attractive enough for you to make such an investment. Secondly, no one is banning anything or anyone from doing anything. A set of rules were made by the Bahamas government they asked all parties inclusive of you to be involved. Share your thoughts on the draft proposal. Everyone is graciously commenting on these various blogs inserting sensationalism which in my opinion carries no weight. What you decide to do with your investment is indeed your business. Your perks are for your pleasure that best suits you Sir. Oh and about your defamatory remark about “way too many family members living on a dirt floor house”. I think it is very distasteful and rude of you to say so. The same people that you seek to gain assistance from? You and others who seem to have an issue with this stance our country is taking can choose another route. We will not be bam boozled by you or any other individuals who do not want to respect our do process of creating laws that will benefit Bahamian.

      • Scott Deal

        Shawn,

        Sorry if my remark offended you. The point I was trying to make was that this proposal will likely will cause more economic harm than economic good and that that process has already begun. I’m fine with paying for a license, of course and am a doner and BOD member of BTT, who has sent a lot of time and money developing data and conservation measures to help ensure that bonefish in the bahamas and elsewhere get the protection they deserve. I give back and I give back a lot.

        My offer of a free place to live so my 22 year old friend could move out of the family house was well intentioned. It would have been good for him and would have been good for me from a security standpoint. Now its DOA. Who benefited from that?

        The Bahamas clearly belongs to the Bahamains – all the Bahamians -and the resources must be conserved and the benefits accrue to the many, not the few.

        • Scott Deal

          Shawn,

          Also, and In response to your comment that “nobody is banning anyone…..” I have to disagree unless there is a different set of proposed new rules than the ones I have read. If thats the case, where can I see the amended proposal? Rhe one I read was pretty clearly forbidding me from fishing from my skiff with my kids while I try teach them to pole dad in a straight line!

          • Shawn Leadon

            Mr Deal so thats what is reads. You just like everyone else inclusive of me had my opportunity to seek to address such concerns. There have been many attempts by the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association to properly inform everyone. Misinformation spread by our own in the Ministry of Tourism Benjamin Pratt, Ian Davis Yellow Dog Adventures, Cindy Pinder Abaco Fly Fishing Guide Association, Cheryl Bastian Swain Cay Lodge , Oliver White Bliars Lodge and a few others. They brought about this boycott the bahamas scandal. How do you think the government of the Bahamas feel when they allow these shallow minds to shed a bad light on improving what we can see as a chaotic situation. Well let me explain. These folks have their own self agendas. From raping locals of profits to buying homes and disguising them as lodges. Avoiding taxes from our government. Notice clearly most of the above mentioned have become silent. They have created these harsh positions. The only one being seen is Cindy Pinder by right she wants to look colourful to the body she represents ( second home owners and a handful of guides from Abaco) just in a couple of week a couple of folks from grand Bahama. She knows of nothing outside Abaco. But yet she wants to scorn the efforts made by the only recognized Association BFFIA. I do not expect anything better from her. BFFIA represents the voice of all Bahamians and foriegn stakeholders in this industry. It’s seeks to ensure a voice around the table with government to decide a level playing field for all. That means also finding mains by which you and your family may enjoy such pleasures as before. So rest assured in the end it’s a win for everyone. But make no mistake Bahamians will benefit throughout the course of making such strategic laws.

            FYI. No Bahamian is boycotting American airline, Orvis, Maverick, Sage, Afta, Expedia etc. The Bahamas has the service side of the industry. Allow us to run this with no ill interpertation.

            • Cindy James Pinder

              Shawn, I will reiterate again, at the risk of being colourful or sounding like a broken record. The BFFIA does not represent the voice of all Bahamians nor the voice of all foreign stakeholders in this industry because many of us were denied a “voice” when your board of directors prohibited the Abaco, Grand Bahama and South Andros BFFIA members from casting a vote at the AGM. Your board of directors did not adhere to the Articles of Association which are the rules that govern BFFIA. Respect and trust is earned or lost by example and behavior. BFFIA is not an organization we trust to represent our best interests.

              • Geneva Wilson

                Cindy,

                Your comments are misleading and untrue! The Board did adhere to the Articles of Association, which you, Cheryl Bastian and other Non-Professional Members tried to change. Fact, I have your communique! Only a resolution by the Members at an AGM can do that. Tampering with the Members’ List. Fact, I have your communiques! Not all of the Guides you speak to not being allowed to vote paid their dues prior to the deadline established. Fact, I have the records! Not all the Guides you also refer to was voting against Prescott. Fact, for example Paul Pinder, Omeko Glinton, David and Jeffrey Pinder, the Rolle Brothers….. Starting the smear campaign. Fact, I have your communique!, and told members not to vote for Prescott because he ‘ONLY CARES ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF GUIDES AND BAHAMIANS’. Fact, I have a copy of the document, YOU gave out to the members! Note the Guides do make up 80% of the Voting members.

                If voting was that important, like other members from Long Island and Acklins, who flew in and stayed overnight. Why didn’t you? Your Group’s tickets were paid for by Cheryl. Everyone was given the 2015 AGM Agenda on attending and it stated that the the Election of Officers would take place at 3pm. As you should know, the voting process takes place after the Business Session of an AGM is closed. The AGM was called to order about 11:20am, a time difference of 35 minutes from the scheduled 10:45 am, once a quorum was established by the Registration and from the Department of Labor’s letter, the elections started at 4 pm., about an hour difference but your return flight was 5:45pm. So given that rarely AGMs commence or end as scheduled, you and your group should have organized your travel arrangements accordingly and not mislead persons that some deliberated act took place.

                Yes, so your words back at you, “Respect and trust is earned or lost by example and behavior.”

                • Cindy James Pinder

                  No Geneva, they did not adhere to the Articles of Association. You did not even attend the AGM so how do you know what is or isn’t true? Have you read the transcript provided by the stenographer that took notes at the meeting? Every single person reading these posts would probably love to see her unedited account of the meeting! Would you kindly share that with us?

                  Once again, let me congratulate you (and your boyfriend) on
                  hacking the private email account of one of your board members. That was indeed a classy act of which you both seem most proud.

                  The purpose of the BFFIA AGM was to elect a new board of
                  directors. That was why all of us got in planes on our home islands and flew to Nassau to attend the meeting. To vote.

                  It is customary (but not necessary) for meetings in the
                  Bahamas to be conducted in such a manner that out-islanders can fly in to Nassau on the early morning flights and return to their homes on the early evening flights. It is also well known that same-day-return air lift is possible from Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera and Exuma. The members who attended from Acklins and Long Island had to stay over in Nassau because same-day-return air lift is not available to those islands. It also customary for travelers to book both the departure and return when buying a plane ticket. There was no reason for any BFFIA member to not expect that the AGM would be conducted in a ‘customary manner’ as none of us were privy to the Agenda for the AGM until we arrived at the meeting.

                  Many of us left for the airport at 4:15 pm. I have been told that it was just before 8 pm that the election was finally completed and the new board of directors was announced. Do you think that a
                  meeting that runs four hours past the scheduled adjournment time is what members should have planned on when they were making their travel arrangements?

                  • Geneva Wilson

                    Oh how sad! The fact that I may be the “girlfriend” of Prescott does not in anyway take away that I am first and foremost a Bahamian going back many generations, my academics and intelligence are mine and it is my inherent right in this Country to fight for what is in the best interest of my Bahamians. Nor does it discredit or lessen my views on what I have written or the facts presented.

                    The Minutes of our BFFIA is not open to the Public and neither are other similar Associations, Private Corporation’s etc. Believe me our Minutes reflects exactly what took place at the AGM.

                    As for hacking, please explain to me and everyone here, if Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association (BFFIA) is the owner of the domain “bffia.org” and is the owner of the assigned @bffia.org emails, ” CAN HACK INTO THEMSELVES”? Obviously you know something I don’t.

                    The unofficial count was finished at 8pm not the actual voting. Nobody is able to predict exactly how long the voting process would have taken. Your comment is irrelevant!

                    I reiterate, if the voting was that IMPORTANT, you should have arranged to overnight, like most members did.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      That’s the problem with the BFFIA leadership Geneva and why many of us wanted change. We are all irrelevant to you! The members are irrelevant, the clients are irrelevant. From days of reading all of these posts I now realized that the only thing that was relevant was Prescott staying in power from day one to follow the money.

                    • Geneva Wilson

                      Cindy,

                      I will not get drawn in your game of twisted words and personal attacks. If you haven’t read Chris Miller’s Comment featured, here is a quote from it, “3. Don’t dredge up old feuds and grievances…no one gives a f#%k, and it makes you look desperate.” I suggest you read it again. If you do not understand it, have someone read and explain it to you. On that note :

                      “1. Criticize ideas not people
                      4. follow Mr Beasley’s lead and stick to facts about current state of affairs.”

                      Enjoy your day!

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      This is not now, nor has ever been a game Geneva. My husband is a bonefish guide. That is where our income comes from. Every penny he makes comes directly from our much-valued clients. I take all of this dead seriously.

              • Prescott Smith

                So as to put this whole matter “to bed”, I wish to request in this public forum to The Board of BFFIA that all communications relating to Cindy, Ian Davis and Jim Klug from Yellowdog, Cheryl Bastian, Benjamin Pratt, Oliver White and all your others who were working behind the scenes to take control of The Board structure of BFFIA be released in the public domain. For the record, ALL communications about the affairs of the association was voted on by the Board for the members to have full access to. So when Yellowdog, Cindy and others were plotting behind the scenes, Guides all around The Bahamas knew what your full agenda was well in advance. That is why out of the ten Board positions during the election at the AGM your group did not get one even if you caught a flight back the following day or week, the result would be no different. Remember Cindy, you sent a clear message to the Guides, Government and Bahamians about their rights, when you wrote in your document handed out at your “secret meeting”…..”Prescott Smith ONLY CARES ABOUT THE GUIDE’S RIGHTS AND BAHAMIAN RIGHTS”

                • Brian

                  ALL oarties,
                  Now that’s a good idea and likely entertainmen ( document release etc)
                  Frankly, I’m tired of all this elementary school, he said, she said, bounce off me stick to you, naa naa stuff. So I will be spending 10 days in October fishing Fla keys, figure out where to go in February a:i think TX or LA for redfish and spending 2 weeks in Belize in June 2016 with my family and best friends family.

                  I hope this works out for the Bahamas. I’ll check back in 5 yrs and see. If it blows up, we’ll that’s biz and your welcome to call me in 10 yrs I’ll offer 50 cent on the dollar for your properties.
                  Adios.
                  Brian

                  • Geneva Wilson

                    :-)!

                    • Brian

                      Sit small, cast short.
                      Na, na.

                    • Geneva Wilson

                      :-)! De Nada!

                • Cindy James Pinder

                  Prescott, since I’m the only one of the folks you are calling out that is actually engaging you and your board members I vote no on the release of documents for Ian, Jim, Cheryl, Ben, and Oliver but I don’t really care if you post anything I wrote. Everything I had to say to you about the private emails you took from Cheryl Bastian’s BFFIA e mailbox I said to you in the letter I sent to you in July. I’d be happy to share that on this wall if you want to swap dirt. Also, for the record, so all can see, we wanted a new board to run BFFIA. That is true. While you were politicking all the over the Bahamas to keep your ‘job’ we tried to get a group together to vote you out or at least seed the board so you wouldn’t be re-elected president. As you can see by the various posts on this message board our ideas are nearly polar opposite of what your “Team” of directors believes. We all felt that BFFIA could represent us better with new leadership. I know your style of leadership does not tolerate different ideas and that anybody that thinks differently is a renegade or anti-Bahamian. That’s fine. I can live with that. That’s why I left BFFIA 3 years ago. But if you really want to put some matters to bed I respectfully request that you share the minutes from the AGM meeting for all of us to see.

                  • Geneva Wilson

                    Again, cheryl@bffia.org belongs to the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association, as do all the others @bffia.org, and is NOT a privately owned by her. So cease with that fallacy. And a great job you did “politicking”, after telling the Guides and the Bahamians, “Prescott Smith only cares about the Guides’ Rights and Bahamians’ Rights!” Case closed!

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Hey Geneva, It is called the Bahamas Fly Fishing INDUSTRY Association not the Bahamas Fly Fishing GUIDES Association? I was on the steering committee that put the organization together and I assure you BFFIA was not intended to be a ‘guide only’ organization. I will reiterate again, at the risk of being colourful or sounding like a broken record, BFFIA does not represent the voice of all Bahamians nor the voice of all foreign stakeholders in this industry.

              • Oswald neymour

                I don’t think you understand anything lady pinder about what’s going on here, were you was all this time the same people you pointing out take there own money make the BFFIA happen . We’re you was when the local guides of andros risk their lives crossing oceans and high seas going to nassau in the very same flats boats they had hoping to get a opportunity just to speak with someone in the ministry of tourism about protecting the fly fishing industry and the Bahamas after a long hard day of fishing with are clients Also have to be back in andros the next morning for 7:00am to fish are clients and miss a beat doing it . I want to no this lady pinder with out us there is no you , we the BFFIA Demond respect from you

                • Cindy James Pinder

                  What about my own money that I spent on numerous occasions to fly to Nassau to help start the BFFIA Mr. Neymour? All this time I too was working to make the BFFIA happen. We started trying to put a national group together in 2009. Yes, it took that long to get it started. My husband has been a fisherman for 45 years and has spent much of that at sea and more than 20 years poling a flats boat so I think I understand enough. I don’t know who you are but I assure you without you I am just fine and any respect from me will be earned not demanded.

            • Scott Deal

              Shawn,

              I stand by my position that this will, if enacted as proposed, do significant damage to the Bahamian economy and hurt the thousands of businesses and workers who depend on the “soft” tourist industry. It will benefit you only if your customers continue to come, something that is anything but certain.

              To counteract the decline in revenue in the “soft” tourist industry, the county will be forced to step up efforts to further grow the “hard” tourist industry- namely cruise ships and the drunken zombies who spend hours ashore and pennies compared to the folks you will have run off. Yes, in your opinion you will benefit from this if enacted. I don’t think that will be the case, however any benefit you may accrue will pale in comparison to the damage done to the rest of the “family islanders” who’s very livleyhood depends on the “soft” tourist and the dollars, pounds, and euros they spend. MS Pinder makes this point quite well.

              For some reason you steadastly refuse to address this. Why?

              • Shawn Leadon

                Mr Deal
                We are all saying the same things here. What seems to be another chorus is the fact that stipulations will be place on certain aspects of DIY. Just look closely at what the government is proposing Sir. As I have started in recent communique. Those mentioned areas have to be protected simply because of the threat of over fishing. You on the other hand had a concern about being able to fish without a guide. I strongly feel there is no issue with this and to assure you recommendations were sent with respects to this. Ensuing this amendments copious amounts of recommendations will be put forward by BFFIA to soften the language and help to ease the now seen tensions. By no ill interpertation is BFFIA not willing to work with its conservation and industry partners to help establish a unified industry which benefits all stakeholders here and abroad. I look forward to establishing such relationships.

            • Doug Mcknight

              Shawn,

              Sorry I am late to responding to your comments from a few days ago. Your comment about certain people and groups engaged in a “boycott of the Bahamas” couldn’t be further from reality, it is garbage in my opinion and you honestly think that real? you think that I am going to let that comment slide without a response after honest efforts to get folks to the Bahamas, your mistaken. Nothing could be further from the truth, or maybe I just work in an office to talk people out of bone fishing in the Bahamas? Truth is, i have been busy working hard to send guests to the Bahamas, despite the negative press that is out there Negative press that these certain groups invented, c’mon really? BTW, that guy you cut off in June on Gibson flat, fishing with another member of the smith family(not Prescott), was me. He is one one the best guides I have ever fished with anywhere period, also happy to have his friendship, which I cherish. No big deal though, turns out we were not after the same fish.

              Doug McKnight

        • Shawn Leadon

          How would you know can you predict the future? Every American said the same thing when your government decided to make same sex marriage legal in every state. No one died nor did it change any economics in the United States. Laws are made some of us may not like them but we obey them, live and move on.

          • Kevin

            Shawn you are greatly mistaken about the Same sex marriage laws in the States. That debate was going on long before the Bahamas was an Independent Nation. And you are also wrong in that no one died in the last 50 years of these laws being changed.

            • Geneva Wilson

              Oh! Please! You understood exactly the analogy Shawn was making.

        • Oswald neymour

          Scott deals you should be the guy to talk all doing is the bahamas for tax loop hold you can speak your mind about what spend in the Bahamas but you are not saying is you get it right back at the end of year as a big tax write off have you putting your tax return so the dirty floor Bahamians can what you get back off them ,why don’t you say how much care about the guides in the bahamas think about this Scott deals the same people you talking down to now made your boats hot in the bahamas now you showing us your ass now I was one of the first guides to buy your boats in andros ,remember this Scott deals play the game how it go stop pushing on the bahamian people be a good team player and relex yourself

  • Prescott Smith
    • Brian

      The same Keod (former MP) that was:
      1. Left parliament after having fist fight.
      2. Charged with vandalism etc 2 yrs ago? Didn’t like other guys opion so smashed out his car window.
      3. Currently in hot water for contempt of court, facing prison.
      4. Video is 3 or 4 yrs old.
      All of this info I pulled up from Google. The list and number of articles are long.
      If I’m wrong, I’m happy to retract and apologize, but I don’t think I am.

      • Geneva Wilson

        And your point as it relates to the proposed fisheries legislation?!!

        • Brian

          Hey, I didn’t put out the post vid as a way of showing we have the ear of the administration and their support.
          But, I think it speaks to the character, mentality and gives some nice insight on the people that are representing the Bahamas in the crafting of this legislation.

          • Geneva Wilson

            Really???!!! I am certain we can all find “skeletons” in most all countries’ politicians. Even you may have a few! So like the old saying says, “Ye of no sin, cast the first stone”.

  • Pingback: Damning | Bonefish on the Brain()

  • Kevin

    All of those speaking here that favor these proposals seem to think this will help all of the Bahamian people. They don’t seem to understand the problems that it will cause. Don’t believe me? Hear it from a Native Bahamian that depends on this business. This is what these proposals have already done to him. This is a quote from another forum on this topic:

    “I am not shore what
    is going on I have lost a lot of business
    for next year I hope I
    don’t loose you and all of your friends
    and family.
    I know there is a lot of bad information out there, I hope this all go
    away soon if their is no DIV I will have closed my business.
    I have been in
    business for 15 years this is the worst
    I have ever seen
    it. Most of my client’s said they are going to Cuba where they
    feel safe something need to happen very soon before it is to
    late.”

    Maybe the BFFIA can explain to this guy how these proposals are going to be good for him!

  • Ted C.

    Beau, thank you for your time and effort in maintaining order and keeping things civil.

    • Beau Beasley

      Ted,

      Thanks for the kind words but I must admit Marshal Cutchin the editor of MidCurrent is the controller of this comment section. He alone can block or delete messages, however he is normally in favor of letting everyone have their say as long as they are civil and don’t engage in personal attacks or foul language.

      As you can see some of the comments listed here run the full spectrum and include thoughts on conservation, nationalism, finance, the positive influence of tourism, or the fear that this policy could drive DIY anglers, (and their tourist dollars away).

      What I know for certain is lots of folks are reading this, some of which are getting unfiltered information for the first time. Also I can’t ever remember a time when I saw this many comments made on an article appearing here. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, I’m just saying I’ve never seen any generate this much of a response.

      Clearly folks are very interested in this topic, and I hope that means lots of folks are weighing into the issue with their own stakeholders to come up with the best solution possible.

      Thanks again for the positive comments, and for supporting MidCurrent.

      • Ted C.

        Beau, we can agree to disagree, holler, scream and shout at each other till we’re blue, the bottom line is that relatively speaking the people that have the most at stake in all this and are at greater risk of loss unfortunately are the innocent small family owned and run businesses and they most likely have no voice in this whatsoever. I’m assuming the small businesses I am referring to are not even aware of this blog’s existence and it would be interesting to hear from them and hear whether they support the draft in its present form or not.

        • Beau Beasley

          Ted,

          I know for certain that many professional guides and other folks living locally in the Bahamas are reading this article. I agree with you to some extent that the overwhelming majority of Bahamians have not read anything this in dept about the comparison of the pros and cons for this legislation. Most of the local media has concentrated on the fight for control of the BFFIA Board of Directors, and not the language of the bill. You are however quite right this bill has the potential to have a large impact on many businesses associated with DIY anglers and the ancillary money they spend locally.

          This lack of knowledge is understandable, however I suspect some folks like the owner of Greenwich Lodge do know about it as do others. My take is that many fine Bahamians believe this is nothing short of a vote on their national sovereignty and their right to self determination, however it is other local guides and lodge owners who are up in arms about this issue. It is local Bahamians and lodge owners who employ them that notified the media to begin with, so it’s not as cut and dried as it might seem.

          One thing is pretty evident, the fly fishing community that travels to the Bahamas is most definitely engaged in this debate and is eagerly looking for what is made public in the bill after the AG’s office releases it. I am sure the DIY anglers who feel they are being discriminated against (if even unintentionally) will be making their voices heard here and to their local fly shops,and travel agents.

          Thanks for weighing in Ted, and expressing your cogent thoughts on the issue.

          • Ted C.

            I totally agree but making their voices heard unfortunately doesn’t necessarily equate to the decision maker’s willingness to consider or even listen to what is being said. The lodges lobbying for this proposal particularly the unguided restrictions obviously don’t benefit from or pocket any of the DIY generated money so they have nothing to loose in this but plenty to gain. Not necessarily monetary gain because even if unguided fishing is banned, in many cases DIY fishermen are either on a budget and can’t afford to hire them or just simply prefer to fish on their own but with the implementation of the existing proposed restrictions, they will at the very least gain the assurance that when they pole their paying client around the point they will not be surprized by the presence of an unguided fisherman on the flat that rode his bicycle to the same spot from his rental unit a couple of miles down the road even if he is staying at a designated lodge.
            By the tone of some individuals who are lobbying and in favor of the draft, I suspect this is already a done deal just waiting to made public.

            • Kevin

              Ted, I disagree that the Lodges lobbying for these changes won’t be hurt. I believe that U.S. Travel Agencies are already Boycotting them and will continue to do so in the future. I think this will hurt everyone involved. They will understand this after the laws are enacted.

              • Ted C.

                Hate to see anyone hurt especially those that have done nothing to deserve it but can’t honestly say I have any sympathy for those who bring it upon themselves.

              • Shawn Leadon

                You should have your own blog you can call it the ” Speculations Report “”. You’d be just like the weather channel. 85% incorrect.

                • Ted C.

                  I honestly hope you’re right Shawn, I’ll be the first to admit it publicly and without any reservation. After all that’s said and done, I sincerely would much rather hear you say I told you so than making that same statement myself down the road. Regardless of the outcome, I will not be the one that has to weather the storm and I certainly wouldn’t want to be in that situation.

                • Ted C

                  Sorry Shawn, I misread who the above reply was intended for and thought it was addressed to me, my apology !

          • Prescott Smith

            Beau,
            This is being read by Bahamians all over The Bahamas, and the world.

            • Beau Beasley

              Prescott,

              Thanks for the follow up, glad to hear that some locals are reading the articles as well. I hope it provides insight for all parties concerned.

  • Skip

    Outstanding job on this two-part article on the proposed fishing legislation in the Bahamas. Like Mr. Beasley’s reporting on the Jackson River (Virginia) access controversy, his writing is extremely clear, accessible and most of all, fair. As a communitarian by conviction and one who is generally skeptical of the globalization of recreational activities (fishing, mountaineering, big game hunting, etc.) because the indigenous population usually gets the short end of the economic and environmental stick, he really stopped me in my tracks. The fact that BTT and the NGOs and universities Mr. Beasley lists (who all have on-going research projects in the region) are not a part of the conversation makes the entire project smell “fishy.” (Sorry!)

    • Beau Beasley

      Skip,

      Thanks so very much for your kind words regarding this article. It is a complex issue with lots of moving parts, and there are many who share your convictions regarding the conservation aspects of the pending legislation.

      Thanks again for your kind words and insight.

    • Geneva Wilson

      Really??!! Because a lot of Bahamians travel to Florida and contribute about $2 billion annually to its merchant economy they should take part in their law making conversation? Hmmm….

      • Ted C.

        Perhaps not but they are not restricted to stay in a designated bonefish lodge should they wish to fish while visiting nor are they restricted to fish only in front of the lodge they are staying at either. Providing they are in possession of a non resident sport fishing license they have the freedom to fish where they please .

        • Geneva Wilson

          Oh my! There you go! Importantly, you understood the point I was driving.

          • Ted C.

            I’m glad we agree at least on one subject, that’s an improvement and we’re making progress !

  • Cindy James Pinder

    Well said and to the point.

  • Geneva Wilson

    Dear Craig,

    I rest my case! It is clear who you are and who you speak for! If defending myself, BFFIA, the Bahamas Government and my God’s given right as a Bahamian are attacking you and foreigners then so be it! I stand by my earlier respond to you. Sadly, the threats that you have made and the tone you use are a clear indication of your character. You have the freedom to do as you please as long as you abide by the laws of the Country you are in. Again your tirades are mostly hearsay and you have a right to your bias opinion.

    I will share your comments with all our Members, Government and Bahamians so that they can see just how valuable our marine resources are and the need to regulate and protect it, in the best interest of Bahamians.

    • Kevin

      Sorry Geneva, you don’t speak for the Majority of the Bahamians.

      • Geneva Wilson

        And I guess you do?!!!!

      • Ted C.

        May I add to that, but rather a small group of self serving individuals with an agenda crafted in their sole best interest with total disregard of the rest of the Bahamian people who don’t agree with their point of view yet they repeatedly claim “in the best interest of the Bahamians” and hiding behind environmental and conservation claims that all the opposition undeniably agrees with and support . I wonder if the old man pushing a conch salad cart is being represented by BFFIA ? I bet he is not even a consideration to them let alone being represented by them. I find it very repulsive and insulting to their own people that fat ugly rich foreigners have more respect and are more concerned for those already struggling to make an honest living than the BFFIA does.
        Yes, they are admittingly strong words but as the old saying goes, you don’t show up at a gunfight with a knife !
        Face it , the two real issues mostly debated here are unwanted unguided fishermen and where the money is going, that simple ! T

        • Geneva Wilson

          Ted,

          Your words are baseless, as you cannot speak for the rest of the Bahamian people as I cannot speak to yours! Attempting to “lynch” BFFIA will not work! But I can assure you, if a survey is taken today in the Bahamas, the majority of Bahamians will Vote YES to BFFIA!

          Yes, I agree, you should keep your “knives” out of this gun fight.

          BFFIA’s recommendations do NOT ban Unguided Anglers, so your last statement is untrue and where the money is going, we gave our position but the final decision will be made by the Government not YOU, BFFIA or AFFGA.

          • Ted C.

            I totally agree, unfortunately I can not speak for the rest of the Bahamians since I’m a foreigner, if I could they would be hearing the whole truth and nothing but truth. Although I wish I could, all I can do is voice my opinion and hopefully shed some constructive and beneficial insight to those who may have been blind folded and manipulated however, assuming you are a Bahamian you can but are not speaking for the rest of them either.
            I respectfully disagree, about my last statement being untrue, proposing such ludicrous and absurd restrictions is no different than bluntly admitting it , the intent is there in writing, just a little twisted to shelter denial and so is the proposal where the money should go, yes the government will have the final say in deciding but again the intent is there in writing.
            We all know who the “lynch’ posse is and where they are coming from it’s obvious.
            I also understand why you advice me to keep my knifes out of the fight but that’s another subject that has been discussed here in detail already by those that were not even allowed to come to the fight.

            • Geneva Wilson

              Keep reading and you will see that they were allowed and are upset because it wasn’t done under their terms.

            • Geneva Wilson

              I guess the truth as you see it! As a Bahamian, I would think I have more right than you to speak on their behalf. You may respectfully disagree and opine as to the intent but it is still untrue.
              For the record, as a Member all were entitled and allowed to come to the fight but as with any election, there will always be “sore losers”!

              • Ted C.

                Sorry Geneva the truth is simply that, the truth, not as people see it or how they choose to interpret it. Having more right to speak on behalf of the people is one thing, speaking for them is another and when I voice my opinion its genuine and sincere.
                The evidence is in the first recommendation the BFFIA made with regards to unguided fishing which I quoted in an earlier post and that you acknowledged , the reason it was amended is because someone realized that it had monopoly and conflict of interest written all over it.
                I’m not a psychic but an astute observer and a good judge of character.

                • Geneva Wilson

                  No need to be sorry. Again its your opinion and only you can speak to its genuity and sincerity. Yes, it was amended and not because someone realized it was a monopoly but pointed out by one of the Board Members after its release. So send your recommendations to our Government like everyone else and do a “Brian”! Adios!

  • Geneva Wilson

    Wow! Now you are a Psychic! Thank you! I am flattered, but I can fight my own battles and more than capable to write for myself! I think you need to readdress your comments.

  • Shawn Leadon

    Wow! I didn’t know Ms Geneva own words. I am sorry to deflate your ego however i would hasten to add, I Shawn A Leadon have never been lost for words. I stand alone no mischive, no motive other than inserting facts. Mrs Pinder you were there, it was stated by the Minister himself V. Alfred Gray the BFFIA is the only known national voice recognized by government. You all fully aware of what funds because you were copied on every email that I got with attempts by your team. Would you like me to email you to refresh your memory? It was the same time you were lobbying for you and other tickets to be bought for the AGM.

  • Chris miller

    Again…for the record, as I noted in comments to part one….I am a longtime friend of Prescott Smith and am generally supportive of this effort. I have expressed to him that BFFIA is not doing good work in communicating what they are actually trying to accomplish. As was pointed out by a few posters here and in Part One, the major issue is conservation of the flats and having the Political forces to stop mangrove destruction, Asian factory fishing, rampant overdevelopment, and all manner of corruption so prevalent here in The Bahamas. However inelegantly put forth, this is the overall mission of the effort.

    From their standpoint, the best, most effective way to accomplish thisis to make all Bahamians invested in flats fishing a a driver of economic growth, and that when someone comes to dredge a flat, rip out a mangrove, haul bonefish, harvest baby conch, or otherwise degrade the environment, these citizens will view it as stealing, and stand up and say something. If all they have invested is “making the beds, pouring the drinks, and banging the drums, poling a skill” that belongs to Us, Uk, or EU investors, they are not going to care one way or another. We must find a way to engage as many Bahamainas as possible in “equity” positions in preservation of the resource, like a Silicon Valley start up pays comp. In stock options ( rather inadequate analogy). Of course there will always be employees for hospitality industry, but all Bahamina citizens need to know that Flatsfishing is a small but growing part of the economy that they cannot ignore, and that their well being depends on it, especially in disenfranchised out islands.

    Regarding licensing, I think everyoneis on board with this at this point. Since I’ve been going to The Bahamas and fishing offshore, it has been required that I get a crusing permit and a fishing license good for 6 unnamed anglers at any one time ( it’s been awhile since I was interested in fishing offshore so someone check me on is point). Just returning from a few weeks fishing in Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine i got a license everywhere. And in fact in Maine and NH, the guides are required to be licensed and trained. And they were all extremely professional and knowledgable about all things not just fishing, CPR, emergency situational training etc….so I think it’s far to say that o one is objecting to buying a license….just how the money is spent. Fair to say that I know of no state that reserves all licensing revenue for fisheries or wildlife mgmt. some or all goes into a general fund, for the use of the state govt as they see fit. You can be sure that some of our funds go to support efforts we find contradictory to a thriving fishery. Not sure I hear any boycott threats or such here in the states.

    Regarding DIY…not sure how this one got off on such a wrong path. I can tell you that I had a one hour conversation with Prescott when this came out, and as he pointed out, it’s not the intent of the legislation to remove DIY fishing. Many times he has pointed me to flats I can fish unguided for a day, extracting only promises from me to use local cab drivers ( when it would have been easy for him to drop me off) and to patronize local restaurants for lunch or cocktails. He made it a point to make sure I conveyed how important bone fishing was to me to the drivers and restaurant owners. Same when I had to change planes in Nassau (ugh)

    Mr Vletas asked him in part one discussion to so state that Mr Smith is not opposed to DIY, and he so did ( albeit in his typical elliptical way).( BTW. I know I speak for many when I say I’m very happy to have Mr Vletas’ book back in print online. Mine is falling apart after years of reference. I even used it as a pillow in Govs Harbour airport. I don’t recall taking a multi day fishing trip without referencing it’s checklist. And I knonw mr Smith and yourself are on the same page re independent guides)

    But let’s be clear…if you feel as a tourist angler that you are entitled to simply show up and fish wherever yo want whenever you want, you will in fact be facing changes. Those changes are much needed. “Tragedy of the Commons” is a major issue on bonefish flats re: Excessive pressure and degradation. I have fished on 4 continents, and it’s safe to say
    Fishing is restricted in every place I have fished, and when it wasn’t (EG Greece), there were no fish. So if you are a “DONT tread on me” type, good luck finding a place to fish. You probably won’t be happy in The Bahamas. And better get it before it turns into the North Atlantic cod fishery.

    That said, Prescotts point is that there are vulnerable flats on certain Islands where fishing of all kinds needs to be restricted. They are vulnerable for a number of reasons, close to the road, some islands with very few flats, etc. A free for all is not ok.

    Let’s use Quebec fly fishing as a EG of a well managed fishery. Natural areas are established and managed by a “ZEC”, a French acronym for a controlled exploitation zone ( note phrasing). They oversee the management of various watershed specific activities, including fishing. The access to Salmon fish ( and it’s not just salmon but I’ll stick to that) here, is run by a group of stakeholders with a vested interest in the management. They may be First Nation groups, local fisheries scientists, power companies that may be generating power from the river, and YES local guides and lodges/hotels. They are running a business and all have equity in its long term success. While like Francophone cultures around the world, they have made it both maddening complicated and irresistible (think: Bordeaux). But it provides some access on two different types of draws, and some open water permitted by the day. But you can’t simply show up and fish for Atlantics anywhere you want. Further there are a number of beats and rivers where one must fish with a guide, even if you won the beat in a draw. I have a terrifying invoice for Grand Cascapedia Society for next month to prove it! It’s great well managed fishing. And as I noted in a comment in section one, you must have a New Brunswick licensed guide with you to fish Atlantics if you are not from the Province.

    So I gather from Mr Smiths comments to me that management of flats fishery in the Bahamas the time has come so that they are not over exploited, destroyed, and most important,y, the local folks who are involved in the industry don’t lose interest and return to netting, and apathy about the resource.

    To Mr Deal below, let me first say that I have owned a number of your skiffs over the years, have on in my garage in Delray Beach at the moment, and am a happy customer indeed. I too have owned RE in the Bahamas in the past and it is indeed a labor of love from a resource stanpoint. I do not believe it is the intention of the legislation to restrict such persons as yourself from fishing on your own. Some methodology must be found to police unauthorized lodges from operating, not to mention motherships, but that strikes me as an enforcement issue. It’s like the vandalism that occurs by folks on DI Y anglers
    Cars etc. I can show you any number of fishing spots, and many more surf spots, here in Florida where exactly the same things take place. Again
    That’s a law enforcement issue.

    And Mr Deal….Not sure you meant your post to be as pedantic, threatening and combative as it appeared, but you were very transparent about your personal situation which serves as a good eg of unintended consequences. I would ask you personally to use your substantial voice in the Fishing industry in a positive way to make sure your well founded concerns are addressed. They will be my same ones at some near future date.

    I hope to add more later around lodge equity ownership, where I think BFFIA, while again is well meaning, is off on the wrong track, and I find the BFFIA stance on BTT ridiculous and inexcusable. I don’t want this to become a tome.

    I do however want to make one respectful set of suggestion to both the BFFia and the gang from Abaco and other Chicken Littles (which I made directly to Mr Smith personally)..

    1. Criticize ideas not people
    2. Speak with one voice instead of having all sorts of O and D weighing in
    3 Don’t dredge up old feuds and grievances…no one gives a fuck, and it makes you look desperate

    4. follow Mr Beasley’s lead and stick to facts about current state of affairs.

    once again thanks to Mssrs Beasley and Cutchin for such a great piece of journalism. I know I speak for many when I say I am happy but not surprised Midcurrent put a stake in the ground to return a semblance of constructive debate after this got WAY off in the weeds.

    • Geneva Wilson

      As we say in the Bahamas- AMEN!

    • Prescott Smith

      Chris
      Thanks you for your fair approach. I would address the situation on BTT, or any other Conservation organization once and for all.
      The Prime Minister of The Bahamas made a public announcement, as it relates to the Government’s position about research going forward will not be to the detriment of The College of The Bahamas. I am not oppose to BTT, TNC or any other organization doing research in The Bahamas, but make is clear that Bahamians interest must be paramount in The Bahamas.

      I was appointed by The Cabinet of The Bahamas and The Government’s representative on the Council of BNT for Education. I would encourage BTT or any other T to seek partnership with our institute of higher learning so Bahamians can be strengthen about our wonderful resources and the need to protect them.
      Finally Chris will follow your advice.

    • Bone<))<<< Colin

      Hats off to Chris Miller for sending out such a POWERFUL and IMPORTANT message. We really need to hear the REAL AND TRUE FACTS of what are going on.

      • Bone<))<<< Colin

        IF A PARTY OF 2 ANGLERS CAN PAY HIS GUIDE 300 – 400 BUCKS PER DAY, FOR 6 FULL DAYS OF GUIDING, WHICH IS 1800 – 2400 DOLLARS, PLUS AN ADDITIONAL TIP.OF 300 PLUS BUCKS, FOR THAT WEEK, I CANT SEE WHY THE HELL, ONE UNGUIDED ANGLER CANT PAY THE GOVERNMENT 100.00 PER DAY FOR FISHING ON THEIR OWN, IF SO THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN HIRING A GUIDE TO FISH THEM. COME ON MON, DON’T BE TOO CHEAP!! THEY ALL HAVE MONEY TO SPEND, IF THEY MOST LIKELY LOVE THE SPORT, WHICH I KNOW THEY LOVE IT TO HEART.

        • Kevin

          This was NOT the Proposal and This was NOT the issue and this was NOT the Price. But otherwise you seem to have gotten all the facts straight.

        • Bone<))<<< Colin

          WE JUST CANT LET THE WEALTHY SECOND HOME OWNERS MAKE ALL THE MONEY AND THE POOR LOCAL PEOPLE DIE FOR WANT. IT LOOK LIKE EVERYBODY WANTS TO GET INVOLVED IN MAKING MONEY FROM BONEFISHING, THERE IS A SAYING THAT WHEN TOO MUCH OF EVERYTHING ARE BLOODY WELL GOOD FOR NOTHING.
          MOST TOURISTS COME TO THE BAHAMAS FOR A GOOD TIME, LIVE IN HOTELS AND PARTY THEIR BUTTS OFF, THE FLYFISHING ANGLERS ARE ONLY A DROP IN THE BUCKET, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT THE DARN HELL IS GOING ON ABOUT ALL THIS BULLSHIT TALK AND CRAP THAT HAVE BEEN GOING ON NOW FOR MONTHS, THESE KIND OF TALKS WOULD DRIVE PEOPLE UP ON THE CRAZY HILL IF THEY DONT STOP.

          THATS MY 2 CENTS MON!!

          • Bone<))<<< Colin

            I MYSELF HAVE BEEN GUIDING NOW FOR BONEFISH FOR SOME 22 YEARS, I HAD REPEAT CLIENTS COMING DOWN TO FISH WITH ME FOR 16 SOLID YEARS IN A ROW. THIS SPORT ARE NOT FOR JUST FOR THE MONEY MAKING, YOU GOT TO LOVE THIS TO REALLY DO IT MON. SOME NEW BUSINESSES AND PEOPLE ARE ONLY GETTING IN THIS FOR MONEY SAKE AND I KNOW FOR SURE THAT THEY WILL EVENTUALLY DESTROY IT IF THEY DONT KNOW HOW THE WAY IS TO BE CONTROL.
            ITS A WHOLE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FULLY DIY AND PARTLY DIY ANGLERS, PARTLY DIY HELPS OUT THE LOCAL BAHAMIAN GUIDES, FULLY DIY DONT.

            • Craig Rickey

              Bone,
              I think your Shift Key is broken, or your Caps lock is on.

              Yes, Every Foreigner, especially Americans, has money just pouring out of our pockets. We try to get rid of it all but it is just in there. I burn what is left at the end of the day, but when I put on my new pants in the morning, there it is, more money that I have to spend. I tell you it is so annoying having to find ways to use this money.
              I guess from now on when I DIY fish I will just fly in on my Private plane and fish a few hours, then get on my plane and fly home instead of burdening one of your fine Bahamian owned hotels. I will fly in my personal chef to cook for me so my DIY money doesn’t go to your Local Restaurant I would hate to make them take my filthy money. I will not need a Taxi, or rental car as I will just use my jet pack, because I am rich and have one. I will just walk on water to get to the area I want to fish, Jesus wasn’t really God, he was just super rich and we super rich can walk on water. I will not stop on the way home to get my usual night cap at the bar, I will just turn the water into Wine, remember Jesus was just super rich we can do that.

              That sounds as stupid as thinking that DIY fishermen do not impact the economy.
              Something you said made a lot of sense, it was that everybody is jumping in to make money. Follow the money, 60% is going right into someones pocket instead of Conservation. I hope the Banks, General fund, and BFFIA enjoy that pay check. 100% SHOULD GO TO CONSERVATION. Sorry the caps lock was on.

              • Geneva Wilson

                As eloquently spoken by Mr. Miller:

                “But let’s be clear…if you feel as a tourist angler that you are
                entitled to simply show up and fish wherever yo want whenever you want, you will in fact be facing changes. Those changes are much needed. “Tragedy of the Commons” is a major issue on bonefish flats re:
                Excessive pressure and degradation. I have fished on 4 continents, and it’s safe to say Fishing is restricted in every place I have fished, and when it wasn’t (EG Greece), there were no fish. So if you are a “DONT tread on me” type, good luck finding a place to fish. You probably won’t be happy in The Bahamas. And better get it before it turns into the North Atlantic cod fishery.”

                “Fair to say that I know of no state that reserves all licensing revenue for fisheries or wildlife mgmt. some or all goes into a general fund, for the use of the state govt as they see fit. You can be sure that some of our funds go to support efforts we find contradictory to a thriving fishery. Not sure I hear any boycott threats or such here in the states.”

                • Kevin

                  The North Atlantic Cod fishery was depleted by Local Fisherman with Nets. Not by Catch and Release fisherman with Fly Rods. Are these proposals addressing the Local Bahamians with Nets?

                  • Geneva Wilson

                    Yes they are addressing netting. Obviously you haven’t read that proposal put forth.

                    • Stephen Vletas

                      Hello Geneva, I’ve read all the draft legislation, all the specific comments, the BFFIA recent proposal, had Bahamian friends involved send me everything available in writing….haven’t seen anything about addressing netting, so can you please tell me where to find that.
                      Thanks

                    • Geneva Wilson

                      BFFIA’s Recommendation 1. Speaks to the Game Wardens enforcing the law of “no netting”.

                      Recommendation 10 I quote:
                      “Prohibited Commercial Fishing in the Flats: – No commercial fishing or netting of Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, Snook or Stingray be allowed in the flats.”

                    • Stephen Vletas

                      Ok, thanks, I knew those things, thought you meant something new. Commercial netting on the flats is against the law now, so the issue is enforcement, and it has to be applied to everyone, including Bahamians. Hope everyone agrees that enforcement is vital.

                  • Cindy James Pinder

                    Kevin,

                    Statute Law of the Bahamas has outlawed netting for 29 years.

                    Chapter 244 Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Regulations, (Section 19) [Commencement 3rd March, 1986]

                    PART V SCALE FISH, #34. No person shall – (a) buy or sell bone fish (Albula vulpes); (b) fish for bone fish (Albula vulpes) within the exclusive fishery zone by means of nets.

                    Since Bahamians still participate in illegal netting one could argue that Bahamians and lack of enforcement are the biggest threat to the fishery. This why the AFFGA recommended proceeds from the sale of fishing licenses go toward enforcement. Before we start adding more laws with no mechanism for enforcement our country should enforce the laws currently on the books.

                    • Ted C.

                      Is the sale of equipment used in netting bonefish legally sold in the Bahamas, is there anything in the draft proposal addressing the sale of such equipment ?

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      I don’t remember reading anything in the draft proposal that addresses the sale of equipment. Buddy tells me that his family always bought their nets, leads and corks separate and then ‘hung’ it (put it together) when it arrived the Bahamas from Florida. Nobody makes nets in the Bahamas so they would all be imported.

                      Statute Law of the Bahamas. Chapter 244 Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Regulations, (Section 19) [Commencement 3rd March, 1986] #7. (1) No person shall use a net to fish within the exclusive fishery zone unless the net – (a) is a gill net, drag net, cast net or seine net; and (b) has a mesh the gauge which is two inches minimum. (2) Subparagraph (b) of paragraph (1) shall not apply to – (a) nets used for the harvesting of cultured resources; or (b) hand nets used for capturing small species of fishery resource; or (c) nets used for catching goggle-eyes or members of the herring and silver-side families, and shall not have effect before the expiration of two years from the coming into operation of these Regulations.

                    • R. Taylor

                      In our Bahamian Facebook Group, members who are Guides from Abaco and Eleuthera, said that BTT and Cape Eleuthera Institute were using nets to haul the bonefish in their tagging programs and they were very upset by this because first, it is illegal to net bonefish and quite a few bonefish died in the process.

                      I am sure that alot of us Bahamians would like to hear about this and will be reaching out to our Government about this.

                    • Heather

                      Do you mind sharing the Facebook group’s name? All of us are interested in hearing from the Bahamian people. We all love your country and hope to be blessed to visit for as long as possible. Thank you.

                    • Heather

                      Nevermind, found it. ANDROS PEOPLE

                    • Craig Rickey

                      It should be noted that Andros is only part of the Bahamas. The views of Andros, and its people, do not represent the Bahamas as a whole. Much like New York does not represent the USA or all of the views of Americans. There are many different social as well as economic factors that completely change from Island to Island. Also The Andros People Page was used by BFFIA Board members in attempts to slander my, as well as others names.

                    • R. Taylor

                      Wow! A Non-Bahamian speaking on our representation! Well let me inform YOU, that the Andros page you refer to, that I am NOT a part of, filters into many other Bahamian Groups AROUND the Bahamas and World on Facebook and quite a few of them live on different islands in the Bahamas. So the Math, if each one has say 100 Bahamian friends they share it with that can easily equate into hundreds of thousands of persons. GET IT! I am not an Androsian and I do not like your tone used on my Bahamian Brothers and Sisters! What make you feel that you and your crew can slander and attack BFFIA and Bahamians and it is okay when it suits you and when BFFIA exposes you, its SLANDER? Believe this, we Bahamians can read through all of yall comments and we clearly see YOUR IDEOLOGY!!!!! This legislation will be passed. And you and your crew “can take that to the bank better yet the flats”.

                    • Craig Rickey

                      BFFIA exposed nothing. I provided proof of who I am. They are liars. If they are willing to lie about me in a public place, what will they do to others who stand up? I live half way around the world in Korea, I can read the Andros People page, I know how far it has the potential to reach. When people go on the page and outright lie to people, even when proof has been given, that paints the Bahamians as Liars. Most of the Bahamians I know are not Liars. They are not arrogant, boastful bullies.
                      I have not at any point in anything I posted knowingly lied, When I did speak in error, I took time to publically admit my error and apologize, and corrected that error. I have integrity, something the Board of BFFIA seems to be lacking as of late. When will they admit their errors? It seems that they are above any accountability for their actions. People are allowed to be sheep, I can not change that. If people want to believe the lies of BFFIA that is their own issue, I only seek to inform. I have done that, now it is others job to decide to follow like sheep or stand as Men and Women agains the Lies BFFIA is trying to feed them.

                    • R. Taylor

                      YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW THE PERSONS of BFFIA and you, just like me, have never even heard about BFFIA until recent! You sit in Korea as you claim, Spewing your poison from others who you hide behind! So who made you GOD to pass judgement on these individuals? If they look you in your face you probably wouldn’t even know who they are!!! You speak rubbish! I suggest you stay in Korea and I pray to God they see you for who you truly are and ship you out!

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Wow! YOU sound just like Geneva from ANDROS Hmm.

                    • R. Taylor

                      Lady, what’s your problem?

                    • Geneva Wilson

                      Well I take that as a compliment! But again Cindy, I am able to speak for myself, thank you. I do not need another’s mouthpiece or the need to speak from the shadows. I will reiterate, I will not get drawn into personals, so just “the Ideas & Facts, Mon” :-)! I will leave you to continue to play your empty word games!

                    • Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

                      R. Taylor,
                      All of the research done by BTT and its many collaborators including Cape Eleuthera Institute, College of the Bahamas, Fisheries Conservation Foundation, Bahamas National Trust and many lodges and guides are done under research permits given by the Department of Marine Resources. Sampling techniques covered under this permit include the use of seine nets and hook and line to capture bonefish for tagging, measuring and tissue samples for genetics and after sampling, bonefish are released. Although bonefish occasionally die during sampling, it is a very low mortality rate and is a smaller percentage than the estimates of fish mortality from recreational catch and release. Some of the studies require sacrificing small numbers of bonefish to study growth rates, disease, and reproduction. The number of bonefish sacrificed is kept to the minimum required to provide the necessary information for conservation. The small number of bonefish mortalities resulting from this sampling is far outweighed by the conservation value that the studies provide. Without this research, there would be little information to guide successful bonefish conservation.

                    • R. Taylor

                      So it is okay for you to break the law by netting bonefish in the name of research while killing them? I guess they are just causalities of war! Well a few of the guides said they took videos, so I hope our Government gets the opportunity to see them! I would encourage you to find a more humane method.

                    • Erik Cronk

                      Please retread what BTT said…..appropriate permits were applied for and received from the Bahamian department of natural resources so no laws were broken. Please, let’s not let that escalate into something it isn’t. Thank you.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      I’m so disappointed, I just saw a post on the BFFIA FB page exploiting research efforts because of nets being used. How can one educate the FEK’s to understand the importance of scientific research?

                    • R. Taylor

                      Why are you disappointed? You are posting negatives things about BFFIA. What makes you any different? They posted the entire MidCurrent.Com link as well.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      I am disappointed because of their disregard of the scientific process. And now because of your statement above – “All your scientific talks mean nothing to us.” Are you a BFFIA member? Are you a BSCA member? Are you one of the people that will help decide how part of the Permit Fees that BFFIA is hoping to receive will be spent?

                    • R. Taylor

                      Nope! I am not a member of either BFFIA or BSCA but it sounds like I, most Bahamians and non-Bahamians who really care about the Bahamas and its people, should and need to be!

                    • Erik Cronk

                      Cindy I can understand where someone without knowledge of all the processes involved would hear the terms “nets” and “mortality” and go off the deep end, given how this whole entire discussion has and is continuing to go. But what I cannot understand is why someone with access to the BFFIA Facebook page seems to be stoking the fire even more with their posting of R Taylors comments from this site. I would like to believe someone in BFFIA’s leadership will catch this, and then educate whichever member is asking the questions as to how the law reads (thank you for posting that) and how and why such conservation measures are important and very swiftly put an end to this discussion. Such sensationalism has no purpose or value to the matter at hand, and to the contrary, does not put BFFIA in a very good light by spreading and promoting such misinformation (while they go around and accuse everyone else of spreading misinformation themselves). I would think dragging a world class conservation organization like BTT into all of this would be extremely counter-productive and very mesy for BFFIA in the end. Like they even need any more bad publicity at this point. What a public relations trainwreck.
                      I have and continue to be extremely open minded to both sides, but I can’t help but shake my head at this and ask “why?”.

                    • Ted C

                      Balance and resolve has many times over proven difficult although possible to achieve even when basic common sense, rational, diplomacy and wisdom are applied, consequently a deficiency or complete lack of these elements from the equation renders it impossible ! To say that I’m simply astonished by the mentality with which some comments are made wold be an understatement.

                    • Doug

                      You have a vastly overstated and delusional opinion of yourself. I bet most of life has astonished you.

                    • Heather

                      I hope that video has also been taken of illegal bonefish netting by local Bahamians and reported

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      When we are doing research we have permits that allow us to use seine nets. We are not breaking the law. And we are not killing the fish with the nets. I have numerous pictures and videos of all aspects of the bonefish tagging we have done and have shared them extensively with interested parties over the years. There is nothing we do that needs to be hidden. We have 3000 bonefish tagged on Abaco. I would guess 1000 of them were caught by hook and line and tagged and 2000 were tagged using special fine mesh seine nets to capture them. We’ve had close to 100 recaptures over the past few years and many of those fish had been tagged 3 years earlier during a spawning run and were recaptured 80 miles away where they live. Some of the fish have been recaptured more than once. A great majority of the fish survive with no ill effect and that is why we have been able to validate all the things the guides have observed about fish behavior and have so much scientific information that we were successful in having so many important fisheries protected yesterday with the declaration of 18 New National Parks in the Bahamas.

                    • R. Taylor

                      So Cindy Pinder & Justin Lewis, is there an exception in our law that states “only seine nets” can be used to NET BONEFISH? Or is our law broken to serve a Few? As “Bahamians” promoting conservation, you should have been encouraging these Scientists to find another alternative method which is more humane to our Bonefish population if you really cared. All your scientific talks mean nothing to us. How could you chastise the Bahamians for netting when you are not setting any better example? Maybe their reason is to support their families and put food on their tables but it still breaks the law.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      R. Taylor,

                      The exception in the law is that the Minister by virtue of granting the Research Permit allows seine nets to be used for that specific research project. It is legally referred to as “Exemptions for scientific, education purposes, etc.” in the Statute Law of The Bahamas book of regulations.

                      When Bahamians illegally haul bonefish with a gill net that has a 2″ mesh the bonefish get caught in the mesh of the net and tangle up and die. That statement is FEK. (Fishers Ecological Knowledge) My husband grew up in a Bahamian fishing family and has 50 years of netting experience.

                      When the researchers haul bonefish with a seine net that has a 1/4″ mesh the bonefish do not tangle up in the net. To land fish, all over the world, that are caught on a fly rod or spinning rod, fisherman us scoop nets made of similar sized mesh because it doesn’t harm the fish.

                      The survival rate of the bonefish is in fact extremely high. We have recapture data that scientifically proves that.

                    • Justin Lewis

                      R, Taylor,

                      Quick question, what was the purpose of placing Bahamians in quotation marks when you were referring to Cindy and myself? Are you implying that we are less of a Bahamian than you are, and that we have less credibility when it comes to bonefish conservation in the Bahamas?!

                      Science is key to the conservation of bonefish populations and their habitats around the Bahamas. What we have found through scientific research and working closely with bonefish guides around the Bahamas has helped the Bahamas government make informed decisions and set key areas aside with bonefish in mind.

                      As for the netting issue, as the BTT and Cindy have already stated we have been granted permits by the Bahamas Government which allows us to use soft fine mesh nets to capture bonefish for our research. After a fish is quickly tagged after being captured they are released unharmed, and very few die during this process.

                    • R. Taylor

                      I don’t need to be a rocket scientist or have a science doctorate to know that “murder is murder” regardless if you are pardoned and “netting is netting”. Both acts in this case are inhumane! As a Bahamian, where YOUR first loyalty should lie, YOU should have been advocating and encouraging BTT to use an alternative method for tagging etc, it may be a bit more work involved but it would have sent a more palatable and acceptable positive message to Bahamians and others who do not like the idea of you killing off our bonefish in the name of science!

                    • Sam M.

                      Your comment is the equivalent of saying that people shouldn’t fly in airplanes because sometimes people die in crashes. Air travel is one of the safest and most effective ways of transporting large amounts of people in short amounts of time. The deaths associated are very rare (out of the many hundreds of thousands of successful flights) and unfortunate side effects that cannot always be prevented. Should flying be considered “inhumane” and banned because the airlines are apparently “murdering” people, which is, in your opinion, no different than a dictator committing mass genocide? “Murder is murder”…? Even though an accidental and unintentional death is never legally considered as murder, but that is besides the point.
                      As someone who is very familiar with the currently used bonefish tagging methods, it is the most efficient way to tag many fish at one time with often very limited manpower and resources. Scientists are doing the best they can with what they have and a couple of fish casualties here or there does not equate to mass killing of bonefish due to netting for their use as bait. If you have a better idea than these professional, post secondary educated individuals for efficient and effective tagging that leads to exactly zero bonefish casualties, then everyone would love to hear it. Until then please keep your extremely ignorant and uninformed opinions to yourself; they are doing nothing to help the greater cause of conservation.

                    • R. Taylor

                      You think! Watch & See!

                    • Erik Cronk

                      Mr. Taylor I’m trying hard to see both sides of all this but I’m now very confused. It’s inhumane if done by the BTT but if Mr. Smith and the BFFIA had is way they’d be doing the same kinds of scientific research with the same methods only under control of a totally Bahamian group of scientists. Only difference being who would get the credit. They’ve stated as much in their own words. Perhaps even some of them have partaken in various BTT studies already? If so would that make them the things you say? Of course not that’s ludicrous and downright crazy. Help me understand where you are coming from with these statements because it’s the very work that BTT is doing right now that will have the most impact on both yours and my Bahamian friends who make their livings off the bonefish industry.

                      To Mr. Lewis – I commend you for the position you have achieved, the work you are doing, and the impact you will have as a role model and educator on this subject for all Bahamians. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Statute Law of the Bahamas
                      Chapter 244 Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Regulations, (Section 19) [Commencement 3rd March, 1986]

                      PART XIII PERMITS AND LICENSES
                      62. (1) An application for a permit under section 7(c) of the Act to conduct foreign fishing for scientific or research purposes shall be made to the Minister in Form 9 in the First Schedule.
                      (2) Where the Minister decides to grant the permit it shall be in Form 10 in the First Schedule and the fee to be paid therefor is that specified in the Third Schedule.
                      72. The prohibitions pertaining to the possession or taking by a person of fishery resource as are imposed by the foregoing regulations by reason of the application thereto of . . . .shall not apply in so far as the possession or taking by that person is in accordance with a permit or licence held by him under these regulations for the purpose of aquaculture, scientifice, educational, or research purposes.

                      FORM 10 (Regulation 62(2)
                      PERMIT TO ENGAGE IN FOREIGN FISHING
                      CONDUCTED FOR SCIENTIFIC OR RESEARCH PURPOSES
                      This Permit –
                      (c) is granted on the understanding –
                      (i) that the results of the scientific research project are communicated to the Government.
                      (ii) that observers from The Bahamas shall be allowed to
                      participate in the project.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      I find it interesting that Prescott Smith says in the article that he has no intention of working with the BTT but in the comment section he then says, “I am not opposed to BTT, TNC or any other organization doing research in The Bahamas, but make is clear that Bahamians interest must be paramount in The Bahamas.”
                      I just posted (part of) the wording on an actual Permit for research that is issued by the Government. It explicitly states that results of the project are to be communicated to the Government and observers from The Bahamas be allowed to participate.
                      If it is a requirement for information to be shared, how is research not in the interest of the Bahamas?

                  • Badger

                    The North Atlantic Cod fishery was destroyed by otter trawlers that scooped up every living thing in their paths and destroyed the habitat on the bottom of the bays and banks — not by locals fishing with nets (they used jigs in the old days).

                    • Kevin

                      Yes, that is what I said.

                      trawlers = “Local Fisherman with Nets”

                      From Wikipedia:
                      Trawling is a method of fishing that involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats. The net that is used for trawling is called a trawl.

                      Not very many Sport Fisherman show up trawling!

    • Ted C.

      I don’t have a stake in this but like many others I have been following it with great interest. When I stared reading your post I thought I was finally reading something with substance and an unbiased, objective point of view for a change and continued reading with great interest and came to the paragraph where you indicated that you wanted to respectfully make a set of suggestions to BTTIA and the gang from Abaco and other Chicken Littles which with all due respect, I thought tarnished an otherwise eloquently written and insightful piece. One may even interpret it contradictory to the first suggestion.

  • Kevin

    After studying this issue for the past couple months and listening to both sides of this issue, I have a very clear picture of what is going on now. You would have to be ‘Brain Dead’ to understand these measures any other way.

    1.) The proposed rules were written by a few lodge owners to benefit their businesses.
    2.) The rules are being ‘sold’ under the guise that it is conservation.
    3.) The enemy is the Foreign Angler that fishes in the Bahamas without staying at a Bahamian owned Lodge and fishes without a Bahamian Guide.
    4.) The proposed rules do nothing for the environment of the Bahamas
    5.) The proposed Rules will have a negative impact on over 90% of the people of the Bahamas.
    6.) The 3 vocal people here in favor of these new proposals are all Directors of the BFFIA and have personal interests in Bahama Fishing Lodges.
    7.) We have read all of their posts and they speak in General terms of how ‘The Bahama people should be in charge of their own country and destiny’. Of how it has the biggest flats in the world etc. etc. — The average DIY Angler protects these flats much better than the Average Bahamian. The Bahamian people have not learned how to NOT Litter their beaches yet.

    What is most disturbing to me is the animosity of these Local Bahamians against Americans. They pretty much Blame them for all of their problems. They actually seem to despise the Americans. Even their customers that stay at their Lodges. We have seen many posts that say Americans only want the Bahamians to pole a boat, serve them a Cold Kalik and make their beds.
    What these new proposals do is only attract the very rich individuals that treat people this very way. They operate this way in the United States also. They view everyone as their slaves. The DIY angler is more of modest means and would do the opposite. But the BFFIA does not want the DIY angler to fish the Bahamas anymore. They will be stuck to wait on the very rich and lick their boots.

    We can only watch this unfold now. Be careful what you wish for!

    • Prescott Smith

      Kevin
      You are wrong from one through seven. No one is trying to stop you from fishing.
      Read what Chris Miller wrote.

    • Geneva Wilson

      Wow! From the featured Comment:

      “But let’s be clear…if you feel as a tourist angler that you are
      entitled to simply show up and fish wherever yo want whenever you want,
      you will in fact be facing changes. Those changes are much needed.
      “Tragedy of the Commons” is a major issue on bonefish flats re:
      Excessive pressure and degradation. I have fished on 4 continents, and
      it’s safe to say
      Fishing is restricted in every place I have fished,
      and when it wasn’t (EG Greece), there were no fish. So if you are a
      “DONT tread on me” type, good luck finding a place to fish. You
      probably won’t be happy in The Bahamas. And better get it before it
      turns into the North Atlantic cod fishery.”

    • Shawn Leadon

      Lol. Sorry but I just had to respond. Mr Kevin you are undoubtedly the most self centered person on this blog. Why is it that you think your opinion is the holy grail of conversation. It’s what you believe Sir. Apparently you’re not getting it. This is the Bahamas we are very capable of handling our own affairs. I am greatful for your opinions. Thank you!

  • Ted C.

    A few years ago four of us, had the privilege to stay and fish with a guide and his gracious wife on one of the remote out island. At the time of our stay, he was in the process of single handily building a separate full efficiency unit in the back of his property to afford more privacy to his valued clients and hopefully improve business, his property happens to be inland nowhere near water. He had good work ethics, was motivated and worked hard and all he had he acquired himself through hard, guiding, accommodating DIY fishermen and dropping off and picking up unguided fishermen. We had a wonderful time and cherish every moment we spent with our host and his gracious wife who also prepared lunch and dinner for us every day. Every evening after having dinner with us, he would go out back and work on the unit he was building till dark. Not long ago I got the disturbing news from another source that he was loosing his eyesight and may not be able to guide much longer.
    Can someone, without being abnoxious or sarcastic, please enlighten me and tell me if there is anything in the new proposed legislation draft that this poor hard working Bahamian is going to benefit from or even be compensated by ?

    • Cindy James Pinder

      Ted, Before the first Consultation with the The Department of Marine Resources one of our AFFGA members, Capt. Maitland Lowe, an Abaco “Legend”, whom started guiding in 1963 and is still guiding today, phoned me and instructed me to, “Tell the Minister to use some of that money for a retirement fund.” During the meeting I did just that. The suggestion was very well received by the entire room and the Minister turned to the AG representative sitting next to him and said, “Write that down.”
      Will that be in the Bill? Nobody knows. But we can hope.

      • Ted C.

        That’s a start in the right direction but I assume establishing a pension fund and the payout process will take a considerable amount of time. What about the present, if he looses all the business from unguided and DIY fishermen which makes up for a large portion of his business ? So much for “build it and they will come” ! and ” let the Bahamians decide their own destiny”. I can’t even begin to imagine how empty he feels after all the hard work he has put into it and the shattered dream he once envisioned is pulled right from under his feet by some ill conceived legislation restrictions. All the “equity” this man has and owns he earned, by hard and honest work not a hand out, which I’m certain he is very proud of.
        I guess you can’t please and make everyone happy !

        • Cindy James Pinder

          The Bahamas already has the National Insurance Board in place which is equivalent to Social Security, SSI, Workmen’s Comp and Unemployment all rolled into one. Since the infrastructure is there adding a guide pension benefit or disability benefit wouldn’t be complicated. As for the present, all we, Bahamian guides and entrepreneurs, can do is hope and pray that this legislation doesn’t destroy our life’s work and livelihoods It is worrisome since nobody has any idea what the final Bill will look like.

          • Ted C.

            I’m glad to know that he will be eligible for compensation although that compensation may not be relevant to the new legislation, his loss of opportunity, prosperity and gainful income just may.

          • Ted C

            After revisiting your reply and giving this particular subject some additional deeper thought I couldn’t help but think and please someone correct me if I’m wrong , that as a consequence of the recommendations if the draft proposal in its present form and contents which I will not repeat, is indeed approved, passed and made into law regardless to who’s credit or responsibility. Instead of support and incentive for growth and prosperity and rewarding or commanding this guide in appreciation for his effort and motivation to bring additional foreign money to his community and country, the new regulations will basically not only restrict him from fulfilling his dream and desires but also force him to forfeit his aspirations and reduce him to having to accept social security, a predicament I’m certain he will not be very comfortable and would struggling with.
            Would I be wrong in assuming that if this guide chooses not to belong to a specific guide organization/association and wishes to remain neutral for whatever reason, that his voice will not be heard ? I’m making this assumption based on a statement I read somewhere that said something to the extent that the BFFIA is the only voice representing guides that the Minister will listen to.
            If what I have written here is right, I’m sorry but I just don’t see how anything of this nature would be considered for the betterment of anything or anyone let alone a country and its people, just my thoughts !
            If on the other hand I’m wrong please by all means correct me.

  • Ted C.

    is there an edit option somewhere on this blog that I’m missing ?

    • Ted, you should see an “Edit” link right below your post (along with “Reply” and “Share”

      • t

        There are none. the only other icons to the left of “reply” and “share” are vote up and vote down icons ^ .

        • If that is the case then I guess your only option is to delete and re-post. Sorry!

          • Ted C.

            No delete either, no worries Marshall. I suspect it may be because I’m posting as a guest.

  • Scott Deal

    Chris, very well written by the way and no, by no means was my intent to be, as you say, threatening. I only wanted to provide a real world example of unintended consequences that hit the non guide community and that didn’t appear to be part of the calculus being applied to this effort. That’s all. If I came off otherwise, shame on me. Pedantic ?!?! Had to look that one up ! 🙂 Any yes, I did send in a few letters but the brevity of the comment period caught a lot of folks off guard. Hopefully the one’s who draft the ultimate rules take a holistic approach and protect the fishery while allowing for diverse access. I think everyone is on the same page in that regard.

    • Geneva Wilson

      Amen!

  • Ted C.

    Judging by the tone and confidence in the words of some posters, it sounds like some may already know what the final regulations or restrictions are in the yet to be released and made public legislation.

  • Ted C.

    If the local authorities don’t have the resources to stop the illegal foreign owned second home/lodge operations and the rampant outboard motor theft in populated communities or are unable to for whatever reason, what strategy do they plan to employ to monitor and eliminate bonefish netting in remote out islands flats ?

    • Heather

      There are comments all over the place about the illegal lodges. From the Platform TV show, they claimed there are “100s of illegal businesses” operating in the Bahamas. So far, two have been named. One seems to be a legit lodge (Bair’s Lodge) and the other seems to be a vacation home with local independent guide prices listed on their website (Coakley House). I keep hearing about these illegal 2nd homeowner lodges over and over but no one has given any hard facts and only just now have we heard actual names. I am all for cracking down on illegal activity so that locals can get their piece of the pie but it’s hard to back up this speculation if no one has hard evidence.

      • Ted C.

        Hundreds of foreign second home owners are looked upon as illegal lodge operators and if they happen to be bonefishermen, owns a skiff and have friends and family visiting they are also looked upon as guiding whether by certain individuals or the masses. They are blind sighted by their own misconception and conviction and they either lack the capacity or refuse to consider the large amount of money these same people are pumping into their community and the number of people they keep employed from the gardener to the kid that wants to wash their skiff at the end of the day and earn a few dollars.
        I wish I could have earned a few dollars washing my neighbor’s skiff when I was a kid in school, instead I delivered newspaper for two hours in sub zero temperatures and two feet of snow every day.

      • Geneva Wilson

        Sorry, I am responding to this comment but its just too many and a bore
        to go through them all, to find your current comment to me. Thank you, I
        prefer and am only interested in constructive criticisms and
        solutions! You pointed out a default and we are making every effort to
        follow through on the members marketing. Which has been an awesome
        success with a huge positive impact! Let’s Just “stick to the facts and
        put forth reasonable arguments for our ideas”, suggest solutions
        knowing at the end of the day, even after all the dialogue in this
        forum, the final decision of this legislation is up to the Government,
        they will either listen to us or do what they want. Hopefully it’s a
        happy median for us All.

  • Ted C.

    Thank you for the link Geneva, although it’s another anti American website administered by europeans, it does provide information and an alternative destination to those that may be interested in exploring and broadening their horizon. I also fish and have been fishing in Cuba myself for sometime, its a beautiful country with wonderful and gracious people.

  • Ted C.

    I don’t know if you read this but here is a quote from the link to the website page you provided.
    ” We have seen some sites which is against controlled fishing. We agree that it should be possible to take a walk on your own along the beaches to fish without paying big fees or license . What we don’t like to see is killing fish…..”.
    At least the Americans they bluntly despise on their website are willing to pay for a license to fish LOL !

  • MD Bones

    Beau,

    Nice article. Only comment that I have is really more directed at Simon, Geneva, Prescott, Leadon and company. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, I have fished extensively throughout the Bahamas over the last 15 years – frequented a couple of lodges repeatedly (NRP, Mangrove Cay Club, Rickmons, Small Hope Bay etc). But I have also fished with fine gentlemen with the names of Glister, Bradley, Tommy F his brother and his Dad, Graveyard, Ivan, Perry, Simon, Ricardo, Wilka, Prince, Vincent, Rolle, Saunders, Jackson, Pinder (GBI), Pinder (GTC), Joe, and Petty to name a few. Had a great time with each and everyone of them. I also have spent considerable time on my own during two week family vacations. So I see value and enjoy both.

    However as I read posts from the above – I would suggest that you think about what you are trying to accomplish. If its to convince everyone to come to your side – you are certainly not accomplishing that objective. Instead you are inflaming a segment of the Bonefishing travel population that currently patronizes your lodges. Your comments have effectively put someone from your target audience (me) in a position that will impact you or your boyfriends business as my net takeaway is that I will never fish from a lodge associated with anyone named Prescott, Smith or Leadon.

    The kicker is – the responses are not required, the proposed legislation is a Bahamas issue and in no way, shape or form be impacted, by you winning snark points on a public message board. I would highly suggest securing a public relations and or a Marketing 101 book and look up when and how to manage your message – it might just save you and your friends a significant number of bookings over the next few years

    I wish all of you the best, and sincerely hope that your actions do not drive you to obsolescence….

    • Kevin

      This is pretty much what we all have been trying to say, but you said it much better And Yes, I also have my ‘Boycott List’….

    • Ted C.

      When you have the right people on your side you don’t need everyone else. This thing is a done deal, you can bet your first born on that ! All there is to do is just wait and see how severe it will be and whom it will negatively effect the most, foreign fishermen or local business.

  • Mac McKeever

    Beau,

    Well-done. I have been reading your work for years…your work on menhaden, access issues and other articles, like this, are always well-researched, well-thought out, well-written and objective. It’s obvious you put a lot of time into this article and we the readers garner the benefit. Thanks for a great piece.

    • Beau Beasley

      Mac,

      Thanks so much for the kind words, I really appreciate it. All the readers of this article whether Bahamian or foreign need good hard and unemotional facts from which to make an informed decision. This is what I try to provide on all my investigative pieces regarding access and use issues.

      Thanks again for your kind words, and for reading MidCurrent.

  • Ted C.

    Does the Bahamian Government have a reciprocal agreement with the US Government with regards to declaring rental income ? Can a foreign owned property in the Bahamas be legally rented out on short term bases providing the income from such business transaction is declared in the Bahamas or the US ?

    • Cindy James Pinder

      There is no income tax in the Bahamas so nothing to declare or reciprocate with Uncle Sam. Yes the property can be legally rented short term or long term. Most (if not all) rental payments would be made in US dollars in the US and would be declared by the property owner in the US as income. If a second home owner rents their home they have to pay a room tax to the government on each rental, the same as a hotel. I’m not sure what, if anything, gets paid on a long term rental. Foreigners pay Bahamian property tax. Bahamian’s in the family islands don’t pay property tax.

      • Cindy James Pinder

        Upon further investigation I have learned that there is no longer room tax but instead VAT must be paid on the rental. (VAT threshold at present is $100,000 gross before a vendor must charge/remit VAT to the government.) Property Tax (after a $250,000 exemption) is payable at 1% of the appraised value yearly. (Vacant land is 1.5% of the value) When the property is built/furnished/maintained both Duty and VAT are paid on every dollar spent.

        • Ted C

          The threshold and exemption figures are in my opinion relatively generous which clearly indicates, at least to me, the intention to encourage investors and the 50% premium on vacant land over developed land is another indication of the desire for development.
          These are the kind of beneficial incentives that equate to growth and prosperity and I can only hope the new fishing regulations are viewed upon by the cabinet and members of parliament with a similar open minded point of view instead of suppression.

  • Craig Rickey

    It is apparent that discussing the Economic impact of this legislation has become somewhat of a sore subject, and I am noting more and more the interest in the “Science”. I will make a shift in that direction for a moment.
    Can someone that is a Biologist, Icthyologist, or Environmental Scientist, or in an actual field of research, please explain the difference between what is being labeled as research and science and what is actually reasearch and science.
    I am not in any way claiming that Experience is not important, I am saying that it is only a fraction of what is needed. Some who have posted are suggesting it is all that is needed and should trump Scientific research others have brought forth.

    • Justin Lewis

      Hi Craig,

      That is a very good question you asked! I am a marine biologist who works for the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and I am from and based in Grand Bahama.

      What is being mislabeled as “research and science” is actually called Fishers Ecological Knowledge (FEK). The difference between the science and FEK, is that FEK is based on observations and traditional knowledge whereas science is based on the scientific method. It is important to note that separately they are different from one another, but at the same time when they come together they complement each other nicely. Observations are an important part of marine science whether it be by the scientist conducting the research or that of a guide or commercial fisherman. But observations are subjective (qualitative), and need to be quantified (measured) in some way shape of form, that is where the scientific method comes into play. By following it you can take those observations and quantify it into something measurable that can be used, for example to help make a case to a Government to protect an area because it is a vital migration pathway for fish.

      There are countless of examples where FEK and science have come together for the purpose of conservation and have been able to succeed. BTT works closely with guides around the Bahamas to conduct research such as tagging, genetics (looking at the connectivity of bonefish populations), identifying spawning sites, and identifying juvenile bonefish habitats which has helped support the expansion of national parks in the Bahamas with bonefish and their habitats in mind.

      • Cindy James Pinder

        Hey Justin, Nice to see you jump in here and explain FEK and the scientific method. Our guides FEK and Dr. Adams’s scientific method = The Marls of Abaco National Park and Cross Harbour National Park! And I see a bunch of new and expanded National Parks on Grand Bahama and throughout the Bahamas. Congratulations! It feels good, doesn’t it?

        When we were at the DMR Consultation meeting I talked with you about the AFFGA guides getting involved in the genetic study. Any chance of you bringing us materials, giving a talk and getting us going on the project so we can learn more about the connectivity of our fishery? How’s October look for your schedule? Give me some dates and I ‘ll rent a venue and call a combination AFFGA & Town Meeting. Thanks!

        • Justin Lewis

          No problem, I thought it was important to clarify what actual research is from what is being mislabeled as it. It is important that science and FEK come together for the common cause of conservation, as seen this has helped vast areas of the Bahamas to set aside as national parks with bonefish and their habitats in mind.

          We must also remember, that we love this sport because of the fish and their habitats. That is what drives us to pursue the sport of bonefishing which is challenging and rewarding, regardless of whether you catch a fish or not. If you catch a fish awesome! If you don’t you still get to see beautiful country, lots of fish and a variety of organisms that call it home. The conservation of tarpon, permit, and bonefish habitats is paramount in the continued conservation of these important flats species.

          Cindy I am looking forward to giving a presentation to the guides on Abaco about the the work we are doing in Bahamas, what we’ve found, and how the guides can be part of what we do. I will contact you soon to figure out the details.

          • Cindy James Pinder

            Great! We will look forward to it too. Tight lines!

  • Cindy James Pinder

    Something good happening in the Bahamas tonight. At 6PM this evening Minister Kendred Dorsett, the Minister of the Environment and Housing, announced the creation of 18 new National Parks throughout the Bahamas. I couldn’t be prouder of all the hard work that members of the AFFGA, Friends of the Environment, BNT, BTT and other supporters put in to make this happen. Thank you Minister Dorsett. It’s a proud day on Abaco and throughout our country.

    The new additions to our protected areas system
    are:

    In Abaco:

    The Marls of Abaco National Park

    East Abaco Creeks National Park

    Cross Harbour National Park

    South Abaco Blue Holes National Park

    In Crooked Island / Acklins:

    Southeast Bahamas Marine Managed Area

    Bight of Acklins National Park

    In Andros:

    Andros Green Cay National Park

    The Joulter Cays National Park

    The Cay Sal Marine Managed Area

    In Grand Bahama:

    The North Shore – The Gap National Park

    East Grand Bahama National Park

    Lucayan National Park Expansion

    Peterson Cay National Park expansion (further consultations are being held with
    the key Grand Bahama Stakeholders)

    (All Grand Bahama Parks exclude Grand Bahama Development Company
    holdings)

    Hogsty Reef Protected Area

    In Mayaguana:

    Booby Cay National Park

    In New Providence:

    Southwest New Providence Marine Managed Area

    Perpall Tract National Park

    In Great Exuma:

    Expansion of Moriah Harbour Cay National Park.

    These new areas will conserve and protect habitat for Grouper and Bonefish
    spawning aggregations, coral reefs, sea grass meadows, mangrove nurseries, and
    important bird areas.

    • Ted C.

      Congratulations ! Did they announce how many additional acres to the existing 2 million the new parks consist of ?

      • Cindy James Pinder

        Thank you! It’s an exciting time!!! I was so excited when I got the email about the parks I checked to make sure the 3 parks I worked on were included, then I cried, then I drank a few celebratory shots with my family and then posted the good word here. lol. I just went back and read the ministers speech and copied information relevant to your question below.

        As well as the creation of these new protected
        areas, the government of The Bahamas realizing the cost of managing protected
        areas increased its subvention to the Bahamas National Trust in the 2015
        budget. Additionally as part of the Global Environmental Facility Full – Sized
        Project “Building a sustainable network of marine protected areas for The
        Bahamas “ a mechanism for sustainable financing, the Bahamas Protected Area
        Fund, has been legislated and implemented.
        I am advised that The Bahamas is the first country to enact legislation
        establishing a legal trust fund dedicated specifically to financing protected
        areas management.

        In our Charter for Governance, the current administration committed to
        safeguarding and protecting our nation for future generations, including the
        preservation of our environment. Today, we have set the foundation for the
        protection of approximately of 7.5 million acres (3 million hectares) of land,
        nearshore and marine environment. This includes the new San Salvador National
        Parks announced in April of this year and in total exceeds the target of 2.5 million
        hectares set for our GEF Full-sized MPA project, thus achieving the protection
        of 10% of our nearshore and marine environment. This major achievement and
        commitment moves us closer to our national goal of protecting 20% of our near
        shore and marine environment by 2020.

  • Doug Mcknight

    Shawn,

    Sorry I am late to responding to your comments from a few days ago. Your comment about certain people and groups engaged in a “boycott of the Bahamas” couldn’t be further from reality, it is garbage in my opinion and you honestly think that real? you think that I am going to let that comment slide without a response after honest efforts to get folks to the Bahamas, your mistaken. Nothing could be further from the truth, or maybe I just work in an office to talk people out of bone fishing in the Bahamas? Truth is, i have been busy working hard to send guests to the Bahamas, despite the negative press that is out there Negative press that these certain groups invented, c’mon really? BTW, that guy you cut off in June on Gibson flat, fishing with another member of the smith family(not Prescott), was me. He is one one the best guides I have ever fished with anywhere period, also happy to have his friendship, which I cherish. No big deal though, turns out we were not after the same fish.

    Doug McKnight

    • Craig Rickey

      The groups that I have spoken to will not be boycotting the Bahamas. They will be boycotting BFFIA and it’s members. They are the ones pushing this legislation, they are the ones who need to reap the backlash. I know of at least 3 groups of more then 30persons that make regular trips to 4 areas throughoutthe Bahamas to bonefish, who have all agreed that they will not fish BFFIA sponsored Lodges, or Guides. They will take their money to the guides who have stood up for Conservation and against exclusionary policies.

    • Shawn Leadon

      Doug McKnight I would truly which that your team bring something substantial to the table rather the raping profits from locals. Folks are tired of seeing you and Ian and the rest of you cloud there visions with stickers, decals, buffs and hats from yellow dog. Every professional guide knows not to cut of a boat. As you would seen how far I stop from you guys. We had lunch and proceeded to wade fish. That flat is know for wading at low tide. 12 boats with anglers can position themselves there. It’s not for poling at that time your good friend as you calm ought to now this. However, back to reality your company as choose this destination a while back because you saw the money. Never thinking about the locals because you and others have the networking capabilities to form such relationships to bring our destination to higher standards. Get from behind that dam desk and start working. My five cents! Start by reaching out to Mr Scott Deal.

      Strip! Strip!

      Shawn

      • Doug Mcknight

        Shawn,

        Bringing something substantial to the table, go ahead and get specific please? This does not seem to be a strong point of your board members, hence the problems. The term elliptical is very generous. Since you dn’t mention anything specific there, I will tell you that we did send a lot of anglers to the Bahamas to fish with guides last year, that we did bring something significant to the table, or is that not matter in your book? I take offense to you language about booking agents “raping” lodges in the Bahamas. That is a pretty strong word, are you sure it is appropriate? Our relationships with partner lodges in the Bahamas go back a long ways, many of these lodges are Bahamian own and we are proud to send anglers there year after year. Our confidence with these lodges that clients will be well taken care of is really high. We are actively booking them right now. They consistently blow us away their ability to deliver a quality experience that keep people coming back year after year.

        You saying that we rape lodges out of profits that can’t make their bank loans, care to cite any specifics there? You are absolutely right that we make money in booking the Bahamas or any other destination that we book. However, the lions share stays local always. I have a great deal for you Shawn. I will promote the hell out of you, print 200000 catalogs with a great picture of you, put you on a website that gets 100000 hits a month , put together an entire staff and office to take care of working with prospective clients 24-7 and book clients for free. All I ask is that in return, is that you put me up in your place and fish me .15 percent of what we sent to you. Is that fair, or are you still feeling raped?

        Bottom line Shawn, ultimately we all work for the client who pays all of our bills and supports our families. Sometimes it works out with partner lodges and sometimes it doesn’t. It has to be a MUTUAL partnership with the guys that get it done showing clients a great time. All parties have to be in agreement or it doesn’t work.

        Conservation in the Bahamas, or anywhere else that the fish we love is really important to me. You call us out for not supporting it, it’s up to us to work together and protect that the fish and habitats. If you guys could come up with specifics and plans and work with other conservation organizations, I have no doubt that it would be widely supported by all stakeholders.

        If the bffia could bring more people together, rather than dividing them, wouldn’t that be better for the fish and everyone involved? I would personally appreciate some answers to specific questions than any elliptical answers that have been to common in all of this debate.

        Sincerely,

        Doug mcknight

        • Shawn Leadon

          Doug now we are talking common sense! Finally we can get on to the specifics. Firstly, BFFIA is the only recognized entity which drives the vehicle for this industry. Sway away from this organization and it would be detrimental for all of us. All stakeholders inclusive of foreign partners here and abroad need to establish formidable working relationships. Segregating one self from this organization would mean that you don’t respect the laws of this country nor its citizens. Never mind the nay Sayers. This entity represents a broad spectrum of stakeholders across the Bahamas thus seen by government as the voice of the majority. Having said that, as a stakeholder we must united to bring about changes for all. Your job is to send anglers, mine is to provide a quality experience unlike no other. There are lots of guides and lodges that does not have the proper tool and equipment to deliver such an experience. A perfect example rather than continuely sensationalizing one mere point of DIY. Is to look at the specifics. Those commonly said areas for which the government will undoubtedly protect we have to bring closure to this issue. If not those areas will become like florida. No boundaries between recreational tourism and sports fishing tourim. That invasion and traffic drives the fish populations down. We never want to see this on any Island.

          Moreover, we have enough heads in this game to establish serious business relationships which can benefit all. Presently I can say without a doubt boats, trucks, jeeps, tackle, apparel, exposure to market place are needed. Serious trade talks are needed to establish a quality standard. If you and I are on the same page we can now lead the charge in creating economical changes for all. This my friend is true empowerment….. Would love to hear your thoughts on this….

          • Cindy James Pinder

            Would you kindly explain your perfect example as I didn’t understand a word of it. Thanks.

            • R. Taylor

              From my observation, I am surprised you understand anything at all!

          • Stephen Vletas

            Hey Shawn,
            Have been reading your exchanges, and specifically your exchanges with Doug. This one is finally moving in a positive direction. When you and I last exchanged posts, you backed off the “raping” rhetoric, so I told you I appreciated that, and hope you will continue to stay away from that, as it just isn’t the case. Doug made the same point to you that I did….good agents, and good guides and lodges work together as a team to deliver a high quality product to visiting anglers. Agents negotiate with the lodges and guides about commissions and procedures for doing business. When there is an agreement, they work together in a mutually beneficial business relationship, and when there is no agreement, they just don’t work together. Neither side forces the other to do anything. It seems to me that Doug and you should be able to work together and back off from all the other non-productive talk. So why not give that a try?
            And also, you have mentioned several times that specific flats have to be protected, and I’ve read elsewhere that BFFIA is saying that also. Can you please tell me what specific flats have been selected to be protected from DIY fishing, from guided fishing with a guide, and also if any of these flats will have “seasons” when they are open, when they are closed. I would really appreciate knowing this, and if there is a document written about this, please let me know where I can get a copy.
            And finally, what was the science, the research, that went into creating this list of flats?
            Thanks,
            Stephen

          • Doug Mcknight

            Shawn,

            Thanks for the response. I raised some specific questions to you that you did not answer. That’s ok though, as I do like what you say in your last response as it seems genuinely positive and with the idea of moving forward, I will forget that you referred to folks as rapists, when in fact we helped(and are currently helping) getting paying clients to the Bahamas.
            I completely agree with you that relationships with people with skin in the game, both Bahamian and others is critical. You guys could gain a lot of support by not demonizing others when they do not agree with you. There are a lot of people that do not recognize the bffia and are looking to have their voices heard and concerns addressed. You have repeatedly demonized them because they don’t agree with what you say. You would do a lot better for your organization, by respectfully agreeing to disagree rather than smearing them with names. Be descriptive on exactly how and why you disagree with them, rather than going around and around and not addressing what they say. Be inclusive and respect people that care about what happens in the Bahamas and you you might have additional support
            I stilll cannot believe that you guys do not recognize BTT and the work that those guys do for the fish in the Bahamas and elsewhere You guys would be better served by recognizing and partnering with any conservation organization that is willing to help. You want to open up blocked creeks on andros? You guys should identify and present what needs help and partner with organizations and only together will get the job done.

            Shawn, I respect what you have to say and I would encourage you and the leadership of the bffia to stop with the finger pointing and assume t

            • Ted C

              BTT has made a list of comprehensive recommendations and although not a proposed management plan, they are intended as a constructive contribution.
              A list of countless signatories by businesses and individuals alike, in support of their recommendations is included and keeps growing every day. I’m sure most are aware of their website and already signed in support but still worth revisiting if only to see how long that list has grown.
              Hopefully at some point in time that list will also be submitted to the government of the Bahamas.

            • Shawn Leadon

              Look Doug
              Not because I didn’t respond to you. That makes you or anyone feel as if I have yield my position. No one is pointing any fingers nor is BFFIA not willing to work with any organization. I simply stated what has been happening here for years. And hell no I will not allow you or anyone 15% and fish free. Decide if you want your percentage or pay for your own trip. Cost of living is extremely high in this country. The same things you do any Lodge or guide can do it for themselves. Don’t talk smack cause I haven’t responded. BFFIA is the voice, I stand by our position and I will not be hood winked and bam boozled by no one. BTT and others who seem to want to ridicule BFFIA needs to realize there ain’t no way around BFFIA. If you or anyone dismiss this organization you would have dismissed every Lodge and every guide that is apart of this organization. These views are not mine nor are they Prescott or Geneva’s. It’s the voice and concerns of all in this country associated with BFFIA.

              I said lets move forward with mending relationships. I don’t need you or anyone giving me a lecture or anything. You and everyone else have seen the position the government is taking. Let’s find ways to create a robust sector which allows all stakeholders to continuely benefits. Enough of all this drama and BS. Oh and Mrs Pinder I am truly not interested in none productive comments. Too much time on this BS. Guides and companies are failing here in this country while you and everyone apposing the draft shoot dice with their lives. I think this will be my final post its none productive here. Most folks here think we ought to become like the Irabs, or Africans. Take control of their resources and feed them pennies.

              In closing I will thank Mid Current for trying to bring closure to this issue. However the masses here still believe that we are incapable of handling our own affairs. The Bahamas shall hold firm to our beliefs and trust that the government shall do the right thing for its people. I thank you all for sharing your views. I will take them and make the best use of them while I am apart of BFFIA. Thank you!

              • Prescott Smith

                AMEN.

              • Geneva Wilson

                Amen!

              • Doug Mcknight

                Hi Shaun,

                Thanks for taking the time to write me back. I understand why you want to walk away from my conversation with you and I can respect that. I am all for for moving ahead and mending relationships with anyone that genuinely wants to walk that road and have real conversations.

                You missed the point of what I was making about “fishing for free”. I am not sure that anything else I can say to you other than read that carefully what I said.

                I apologize if anything I said offended you or that you think that I was talking smack. I would accept your apology as well for some of the distasteful comments about us, if you were willing to give it.

        • Erik Cronk

          Mr. McKnight,
          What you charge for your services is your own business. With simple economics, I’m assuming what you charge, and what the lodges accept, is fair given the very valuable service you provide. If you didn’t provide a valuable service, you wouldn’t have people coming to you in the first place, and your repeat business wouldn’t be what it is. Not to mention you wouldn’t have any lodges willing to book with you and you would be out of business. They could all book direct and cut you right out. But people obviously see the need and value to use your services because of the quality of service you provide. In essence, you take all the legwork out of the process and provide logisitcal assurances for your clients. When we’re dealing with faraway travel destinations in foreign lands, most people want that before they committ their financial resources. So for that, you should be commended. And if it was that easy doing what you do, then why aren’t more people doing it, whether they be Bahamian or not? (not that where you are from should matter in this discussion).
          Because marketing, when done right, is alot of work and almost an art form in and of itself. I can appreciate all the back and forth phone calls there must be, questions answered, logistical concerns, etc that must go into it because I face them each and every day in what I do. If you didn’t do it, the lodges themselves would have to. Are they geared up for all that? That is up for them to decide. When would they find that time for all that detail work with all the time they committ to being on the water and the logistical nightmares they have just in ordering supplies and making sure the roof doesn’t leak and the engines in the boats keep running? But what a Bahamain sees is yours and the lodges mutual customer showing up off the plane, they do not realize all the time, effort, and yes, money that has gone into it on your end just to get that person to the Bahamian Island to do what they love to do—fish. I would think it could be argued you must really love what you do, for all the time and effort you put into it to receive 15% of the income. 15% is more than fair and perhaps even on the low side from what I’ve seen in alot of other industries around the world. Then on topo of your cut, and the lodges too, you each have overhead and expenses that come off that. So the bottom line “profit” to each is a very different figure than what is started from.
          To call what booking agents do as “raping” or to make them out to stealing from Bahamians is way more than a falsehood. What about the airlines that bring people to the Bahamas? The travel agents? Who should be attacked next for getting a perceived, too big a piece of the action?
          I’ll end this by saying Mr. Mcknight, I’ve never used your services before. For me, part of the fun of a whole trip planning process is lining up alot of this myself. But I realize alot of people just don’t want to commmitt to that time, hassle, and uncertainy. I’ve certainly had my share of uncertainties when I show up someplace…..both in the Bahamas and other places I’ve been to. But to me It’s what keeps life interesting and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Bahamians in the time I’ve spent on their islands, it has forced me to find that inner resourcefulness they all seem to possess when something goes wrong.

          • Erik Cronk

            Mr McKnight, how I started with that first line wasn’t meant in a negative way towards you…..sorry if it came off that way. Now that I reread it see where it could.

  • Cindy James Pinder

    There has been quite a bit of talk on this site about illegal lodges, which are being defined by BFFIA members as second-homeowners that rent their homes to bonefisherman. The Bahamas has a foreign investor policy and various laws which allows foreigners to buy property in the Bahamas, build homes in the Bahamas, and rent their homes in the Bahamas.

    Nassau and Freeport have huge hotels and market themselves as ‘big city’ areas with shopping, casinos and night life – lots of people and lots of fun. The family islands, or out islands, are all the other less populated islands throughout the Bahamas. Accommodations on the out islands are generally boutique hotels, lodges or rental homes. Some of these accommodations are owned by Bahamians and some are owned by foreigners.

    I live in the little settlement which is situated on one of the prettiest and prolific bonefish flats on Abaco. There are about 60 homes in our community. It is a mix of Bahamian residents and second-home owners. Of those 60 homes 25 of them are rental homes. Of the 25 rental homes 11 are used exclusively by the homeowners and 9 of them are rented to vacationers throughout the year. The other 5 rental houses are owned by Bahamians and were built exclusively for vacation rentals. Some of those vacation rentals include a little skiff so the renters can enjoy the water. Some include kayaks and some include stand up paddle boards. The ocean is after all why people come here.

    All of the houses are marketed as beach rentals along with all of the fun leisure activities available on Abaco. Nobody needs a boat in order to bonefish here. 80% of our flats are accessible by foot. We get a lot of tourists on our beach vacationing. Some of them fish. Many of them do not.

    There are a few bonefish guides that live in the neighborhood and most of the owners recommend them in their rental literature along with other guides on the island. The guides get a lot of bookings from the anglers that stay here in the rental houses.

    Some of the anglers come for a week and book their guide for a week. Some fish for a week and book two different guides for the week in order to fish in different areas. Some bring a big gang and book a guide for the week and while two anglers fish with the guide, the rest of them fish the flats on foot or via the little boat that came with the house. Some of the groups hire two or three guides for 3 or 5 days of bonefishing. Some anglers stay for a week and hire a guide for a day or two or three and fish the other days on their own. Some stay for a week and never hire a guide at all and fish every day from sunrise to sunset. Some of them catch several fish and some of them catch none at all.

    Should a Bahamian be restricted from renting lodging to fisherman if they don’t want to hire a guide? Should a foreigner be restricted from renting lodging to a fisherman if they don’t want to hire a guide? What about hotels? Can a fisherman stay in a Bahamian hotel if they don’t hire a guide? What about a foreign owned hotel?

    How would this community fit in to the suggestions by BFFIA of where anglers could fish in relation to where they stay since their are no lodge accommodations available here?

    There are abuses of our immigration laws and some people do work here illegally. Wouldn’t it be more effective to police and enforce immigration policy than to destroy the out-island tourism model?

    • Will Stephens

      I said reasonable man or woman and it was a hypothetical analogy involving a person who was not Bahamian on Grand Bahama. I don’t pretend to know the level of detail you are delivering here and I suspect your government won’t either. Clearly there are exceptions that should be considered but it will not deal with every situation in the little settlement which is situated on one of the prettiest and prolific bonefish flats on Abaco or anywhere else in the Bahamas for that matter. Kevin doesn’t vote, you do and my advise to you Ms. Pinder is to direct your energy toward the government that is making the decision not me or the BFFIA.

  • Heather

    Found the Facebook group R. Taylor is referencing. ANDROS PEOPLE

    • Prescott Smith

      Also Try Concern Bahamians abroad also. That is about 50 to 60 thousand

      • Heather

        Ok, thank you Mr Smith. The Andros one didn’t have a ton of comments from the locals. I will try the other one. I am truly interested in what the general public thinks. I think this issue has been over shadowed by Baha Mar fiasco. I did think it was very telling that one poster said he only knew of one bonefish guide and that was because he was a famous musician as well.

  • Chris miller

    greetings Mr Rickey….a few things

    first, if you manage to get the Barbel fishing in Korea sorted out, i for one would love to hear about it. I did a quick search, and it looks like an interesting and fun quest….

    second, if i came off as boastful about having fished on 4 continents, i did not mean to. Not sure that is too far from par for Midcurrent audience.

    third, i know i speak for the FF community when I say thank you for your efforts around the world on the conservation front. Your actions are a great example of how we should all act when we engage a fishery. All id say is don’t make assumptions about how much others posting here are or are not involved in conservation, and in what form that involvement manifests itself

    fourth…I am glad that you corrected me that Kansas reserves all funds from licensing for activities related to fishing or hunting as appropriate. Sounds like we should be asking all of our state Representatives to follow suit. I’ve never thought of Kansas as a destination but now I will. It is certainly the exception

    Fifth. I have tried to be completely transparent in all my postings in this and the previous thread. I am a longtime friend of Prescott Smith.
    I admire his efforts overall to make sure the Bahamian flats fishery doesn’t turn to dust. I have significant disagreements with him on some of these proposals. But I am not a member of, a board member of, or an officer of BFFIA. I am posting as a decades long South Floridian, who loves The Bahamas, and who loves the marine and estuarine environment. As I have expressed to Prescott, BFFIA has done a very poor job of making their case, and has done nothing but add fuel to the fire since the draft was released, with their destructive communication efforts.. I don’t blame Ms Pinder and others for objecting. And as Mr Deal pointed out, the short public comment period was shameful.

    That said, I think their collective heart is in the right place. When this first broke, the sky was falling and everyone jumped on the “BFFIA is stealing your bonefish” bandwagon. Whenever everyone runs to one side of the boat, my instinct, especially when I know the parties involved, is to raise my hand and say “hold on”. Thats all I am doing here. I do not represent the BFFIA or any party in any way. They may be going about it in the wrong way but it will resolve itself.

    Sixth…you made a great point somewhere deep in the thread about who exactly is the scientist in this effort. ( Mr Beasley will need to insert an index) You received a very learned response from a scientist from BTT who has much for us to learn from about what is and isn’t the Scientific method. I apologize for not being able to locate that part of the thread. However, I applaud the both of you for raising the discourse bar. GREAT contribution and I for one would love to hear more on this.

    Once again, thank you for your thoughtful response.

    • Craig Rickey

      Thank you for trying to continue the conversation in a civil maner. Not attacking me and making accusations. I in poor taste made my response in tone wich matched the atmosphere that had been created ,that is why in editing I chose to apologize. It was not my intention to attack anyone I presented facts as they were available, taken from what I had read, and what I had seen in the course of what had been posted. Truth can often be very damming, it can also be very freeing.

  • Fred Rickson

    In its most simple form, they bring folks who use local guides, drink and eat items supplied by locals, and, at times, use local transportation. That represents new, external, hard money brought into the local economy. If Yellow Dog brings these folks in, well, how is that bad.

  • Doug

    Did you really mean to say “banging the drums”? That’s about as condescending, racist and arrogant a comment as you could make.

    Your attitude of “here’s what these ignorant fishing guides really mean” disgusts me. I am certain they don’t need you or anyone else’s patronizing and offensive language telling Bahamians what is best for them.

  • Doug

    Nobody cares how many continents you have fished in or how many states. That attitude is part of the problem the Bahamians are having to deal with.

    • Craig Rickey

      If you had read the previous posts you will see that what I wrote was in response to someone else mentioning how many places that they had fished. I assumed wrongly that it was Geneva, and made and editing note at the bottom to apologize to Mr Miller for my mistake. It was much in the way it was used in origional context to show that I have some knowledge of how fisheries works in other areas of the world. Also I would like to point out this is not the Bahamas’ proposal, this is BFFIA’s Proposal, and BIFFIA alone.

      • Bone<))<<< Colin

        Sorry Sir & All, Let’s be CLEAR on this point. BFFIA are not just a FEW persons and Prescott alone,, FYI, 90 % of the Bahamian guides, from Inagua in the far South to Grand Bahama in the far North of the Bahamas,are involved and are fully members of the BFFIA. Of course, By the way, BFFIA do have the Majority of the bahamian guides at large, that have such their concerns on this proposal issue.

        And further more, the DIY fishing will NOT be STOPPING at all, but it most certainly, HAS, to be regulated at one point, a must, in some how to protect the fishery and also to keep the ba ihamian Guides well and alive. To my knowledge, DIY’s can fish anywhere they want, on islands where fishing access

        • Bone<))<<< Colin

          are easily attended, by rental car,motor bike,bicycle etc. Mainly all shorelines or coastlines saying a boundary line some 150 – 200 feet away from the main islands shore. Access to Guided flats by boats, kayaks, Sup’s etc, without the proper use of a guide should be prohibited.

  • Craig Rickey

    Groups who stand to profit from this Proposal: BFFIA, Banks, General fund.
    Groups loosing: Conservation, The Bahamas.

    A $141,000.000 industry is currently being affected by BFFIA and a
    board of directors that refuse to answer simple questions. They have Zero
    accountability. Yet ,wish to given control of Millions of Dollars. According
    the math anywhere from $7 to $11 million. BFFIA in the way They wrote the
    proposal decided to put the majority of the money into the hands of themselves
    or other groups, that should have no access to those funds. They have awarded
    themselves 5%. To do a job that should be written into the legislation, to
    prevent Human error, and hands in cookie jars. But if it goes to Conservation,
    No one can miss appropriate it. They want to put 40% into a fund that has more
    hands in it than a candy dish at the Dr’s office. The excuses are, “It’s for
    funding patrol and protection”, which can be written into the Conservation
    funds guidelines. BFFIA proposes to give 15% of the money to a bank, which can
    choose winners and losers. If the Bank guesses wrong, it makes everyone a
    loser. It is a completely unnecessary role. Let the crappy lodge fail, and the
    crappy Guide too. Rules to success: Do a good job, build client base, succeed.
    No bank needed.

    The real teeth come out when you mention BSCA, Prescott’s child. BFFIA
    has written this proposal, in a way which they will have the ability to direct
    funds for Research. Prescott said he does not now, nor does he plan to use BTT
    in the future. BTT has verifiable results, and has on staff a Bahamian Marine
    Biologist, who has a Master’s Degree and is working on Conservation Projects in
    his Native Bahamas. BSCA does not have verifiable research, but does have a
    familiar face on the Board, Prescott himself. Would using your position as
    president of a board, charged with managing and awarding contracts or funding,
    to an organization that you also are on the board of, be a conflict of
    interest? I think they used that exact example in my Economics 101 text book. But hey, they do not need any accountability; it is just a few million Dollars, and it only affects
    a $141,000,000 industry, which is already suffering just because of the
    proposal Written by BFFIA. BFFIA’s hands are in the cookie jar, follow that
    money and you can see it. It, this is about power and control and getting more. Not
    conservation. Otherwise Conservation would get 100% and not the scraps at 40%.

    $141,000,000 and another $10 million, those are Big numbers, and
    no accountability. BFFIA is acting like they are simply playing the cards they have been dealt, that is untrue. This is BFFIA’s Proposal, BFFIA built it in a way that allows for exploitation. BFFIA wants to get its hands into the cookie jar.

    • Cindy James Pinder

      After reading this post I went to the BSCA web site to see who the board members are. Some of them are: Prescott Smith, President Committee Coordinator: Science. Shawn A Leadon, Director and Chris Miller, Director who is a US based businessman, angler and conservationist. He has been involved in BSCA since its inception, and is dedicated to preserving the unique natural resources of the Bahamas. I suppose this the same man that is in the featured comments. (Now I understand why he was trying to explain Prescott’s message to the readers of this message board.) Geneva Wilson, Secretary . . . .these are the only names I’ve seen posting here. Captain Kendal I. Williamson, Director, Committee member: Education & Outreach.

      Prescott, is that the same Kendal Williamson that is on BFFIA’s board?

      BSCA’s partners in conservation are Stafford Creek Lodge, (Precott’s establishment), Shawn Leadon and the RARE Conservation Organization from Virginia. Their web site states that Rare currently runs programs in the Philippines, Indonesia, Micronesia, Latin America, China and Mozambique. Due to the highly targeted nature of Rare’s work, we do not accept general applications.

      Prescott, what exactly does BFFIA do with RARE?

      About us: claims BSCA is incorporation in the Bahamas and Texas with US Tax Exemption status.

      Prescott, does BSCA still have duel country incorporation and registration?

      The tab “Working with the Government” has the following information:

      FIELD REPORT: From the Desk of the Executive Director Bahamas Sportfishing & Conservation Association (BSCA) Tuesday, 11th March 2008 Meeting With Ambassador for the Environment, & Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr. Ronald Thompson

      On Monday, 10th March 2008 the BSCA President, Prescott Smith and Executive Director Troi A. Ferguson met with Dr. Ronald Thompson, Ambassador for the Environment and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister to discussed those areas addressed in the BSCA’s letter submitted for and on behalf of flyfishermen in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The areas discussed included the following:

      Research practices / Knowledge drain

      Lack of training for Bahamians

      Lack of legislative recognition

      Poaching

      Unfaircompetition

      Lack of Government respect and response

      Unethical practices by Government officials

      Disregard for Bahamian small businesses, such as flyfishermen

      Inability of The Bahamas to keep pace with market trends

      Limited Government resources

      It was agreed that the BSCA would submit for Government’s consideration points, opportunities and remedies in the following areas:

      Research practices

      Poaching

      Unfaircompetition

      Flyfishing as small business

      Keeping pace with market trends

      Alternatives to limited Government resources

      It was also agreed that the BSCA would provide the following documents for Government’s consideration:

      Draft legislation for the flyfishing industry

      Updated copy (copyrighted) of the BSCA training manual for flyfishing

      Draft copy of standards (copyrighted) in flyfishing that would be incorporated in flyfishing law/regulations

      After reading that message I quit reading because I realize since BSCA started the message hasn’t changed only the vessel for the message has changed.

      Seriously Prescott, why couldn’t you just keep at the government with your BSCA and leave BFFIA as an Industry organization to promote members of the entire industry?

      If BFFIA is rewarded with a portion of the licensing fees home much do you expect BSCA to get as BFFIA’s primary partner?

      I’m curious as to your national conservation vision. Other than the few examples of BSCA conservation efforts on Andros (excluding mining operations on GB and education) name a few specific conservation projects you anticipate nationally.

      • R. Taylor

        Lady WHO DOES NOT CARE ABOUT BAHAMIAN RIGHTS, your above ranting does not and WILL NOT change the proposed legislation, nor what we think of your support of netting our bonefish. Trying to discredit Mr. Miller and others, to justify your selfish agenda and racist ideology, is as low as someone can get. Persons of discerning minds should be repulsed by your nasty behavior! I will say it again, THE LEGISLATION WILL BE PASSED AND YOU CAN TAKE THAT TO THE FLATS! Thanks to persons like you, Ted C, Erik, Kevin, Craig Rickey, Doug McKnight, BTT and Heather. Let the Choir Say- AMEN!

      • Craig Rickey

        Thank you for the Clarification. Mr Miller, Thank You again for your efforts in and towards conservation.

    • JasonM

      Craig, your exactly right. I have a feeling that a large amount of the dislike for BTT is because BTT took Buccaneers and Bones to non-BFFIA lodges. Abaco Lodge and Bairs mainly. I am sure BFFIA feels that they deserved the shows because they are the “first families” of bonefishing on these islands. They can hide their jealously in the fact that BTT is not a “Bahamian” only operation.

  • JasonM

    Beau, first all well done.

    I have read both articles and 95% of the comments and I couldn’t believe that every time I scrolled down there is a load more comments button. Here are some observations from a CUSTOMER and not a industry person that has monetary interest in either side of the discussion. My background is economics, for what that’s worth. I also fish with guides, at lodges and DIY in my home waters. Let me say that a good guide is worth every penny and more.

    Geneva, Prescott and Shawn you are right, voting Bahamian’s have the right to run their country any way you wish. Just be very careful you don’t get exactly what you asked for. The law of unintended consequences is a fact. I am going to make a few points.

    1. The travel fishing market is a FREE MARKET. Shawn you many want to socialize the flats fishing industry but that rising tide will NOT float all boats. I would not say that Cuba has thrived in the last 50 years. People that are thriving do not die to leave the island on a makeshift dingy. At the end of the day your minimum wage is 0. Meaning people will vote with their wallets and go where they are welcome (see point 3 below).

    2. Lodges go broke for a number of reasons. 1. The fishing 2. Customer service, these are probably the top two. Customer service does not mean a 4-star lodge with chocolates on your pillow. Think about that. 3. Marketing, this is a fact of doing business. Finally, 4. Poor management. You may not like capitalism but at the end of the day it does not play favourites, like who sits on the board or in office.

    3. You complain that the booking agencies are pillaging the Bahamas and
    take the profits out. As far as I can tell they take their 15%, they
    market you and send you trips and fill your empty rooms. You should look at that as your marketing budget. If you cannot
    operate without that 15% than you are in the wrong business. If your
    book of business is so great you WILL NOT need the agencies.

    4. There appears to be an extreme distrust or dislike of non-Bahamians. This mentality is HOLDING you back. The foreigners that repeatedly visit your islands obviously love it. You are pushing away your best advocates and supporters.

    5. Yes there are bad customers. The guides I fish with in the Keys have people treat them the same way. You know what. They don’t fish with them again.

    6. You would have been wise to re-read what Rod Hamilton wrote about his biggest constituents, part-timers. You are going to push these people away. Also re-read Scott Deal and Craig Rickey. These are they type of people you are pushing out. I have already checked of the Bahamas for family vacations. Maybe not for an exclusive fishing trip but I am not going to take my family somewhere where I am unwelcome because I don’t want to fish with a guide all the time.

    7. You are making a fools assumption that with these changes that the same numbers of bookings will continue to roll in. I suspect they will not. Remember you can socialize all you want your minimum wage is always 0.

    • Kevin

      Jason, Yes, well written and to the point! … I am also just a CUSTOMER. The most upsetting thing to me in this whole discussion is the amount of hate towards the Americans. It’s hard to believe that these Lodge Owners hate their customers this much.
      This has a lot of the same elements of the Illegal immigrant issue in the States. Mostly people that are paranoid and trying to blame their problems on others. Reminds me of the saying “For every Complex problem, there is a simple solution that won’t work”.

      • JasonM

        Kevin, you are right about the monopolization comment, government sponsored monopolization not a natural one.

        And you are right that it is easier to blame your problems on someone else’s success rather than your shortcomings. BFFIA does not want to address these issues rather easier to sling mud at the detractors.

  • Ted C

    There has been some valid and legitimate questions brought forth and addressed to individuals, organizations as well as the general public that have gone unanswered for whatever reason but instead are sidetracked by very similar repetitive remarks so I will try to address my question focusing on some of these same remarks I’m relating to.
    Will someone please explain to me in a civil tone without personal attacks why many are having such great difficulty accepting the fact that NO ONE on this forum from what I have read so far is ;
    A. denying Bahamians the rights to their own sovereignty
    B. disputing the need of conservation measures
    C. against environmental protection and preservation
    D. not in favor of the creation of national parks and sanctuaries backed up by
    professional, qualified research and data.
    E. discouraging the improvement and creation of education programs
    F. in opposition of prosperity
    G. not wanting or wishing what’s best for all Bahamians.
    H. not willing to purchase a non resident fishing license.
    The second part to my question is ;
    Is the only solution and resolution to achieve genuine objectives that will benefit all Bahamians in your opinion, only attainable by the
    A. complete closure of certain Islands to fishing,
    B. severe restrictions to DIY and unguided fishing
    C. denying or restricting unguided fishermen lodging choice.
    C. prohibiting non residents to fish from a boat, kayak or paddle board etc.(vessels)
    without a guide.
    D. implementing foreign investment restrictions.
    E. the distribution of funds derived from licences and fees as stipulated in its existing
    form ?
    Are there absolutely no other balanced options or alternatives ?

    • Beau Beasley

      Ted,

      While your question was not directed to me, I did want to make one point.

      I have yet to encounter anyone who is in opposition to Bahamians having a voice in this legislation, I have heard these same rumblings since before my article ran, and I can’t find a single individual that holds this position.

      If you are aware of an individual or organization opposed to Bahamians having a say in this legislation, please pass their contact information on to me via facebook, and I will follow up on it immediately.

      Thanks again for your input and contributions to this discussion.

      • Ted C.

        Beau, if I do I assure you I’ll be the first to express my disapproval. What I keep hearing instead are comments such as “Bahamians are finally going to take control of their resources” or ” the people of the Bahamas should have the right to decide for themselves” or ” Bahamians should have the right to decide what’s right for them” and other such comments that are misleading and may unwittingly be interpreted by some as if these rights had, at some point in time been taken away from them and that the real intention or purpose of the new legislation is to gain back these rights. When what most if not all are debating is whether or not the contents of the legislation in its present form is indeed what’s right for them and who will benefit.
        Some of the individuals making recommendations are well educated and it’s beyond me how anyone, with the slightest grain of intelligence or even common sense, would propose that unguided anglers must stay at a designated bonefish lodge that has accessible flats situated in front and anglers should only be allowed to fish there and not realize such proposal has monopoly and conflict of interest written all over it and that tourists will be outraged.
        What were they thinking ?

        • Beau Beasley

          Ted,

          Your position is very common among those that disapprove of this legislation for the exact reasons you’ve quoted. I think that you’ve brought up some excellent points, and I hope my article helps in some way to raise the level of awareness on this issue.

          Thanks again for your in put, I think you and others have made so very valid comments.

          • Ted C.

            The common consensus that BFFIA is not doing good work in communicating what they are actually trying to accomplish is no surprise however, I can’t help but wonder what it really is they are trying to accomplish having read specific recommendations and proposals they made.
            Instead of being reasonable in effort to find balance, the tone with which the proposal was presented compounded by the arrogant and belligerent attitude some of their members choose to display here has accomplished nothing but instead created a hostile atmosphere that benefits no one.
            Their continuous lashing out and lack of reasoning and professionalism has turned what should or could otherwise have been a constructive and productive process into “us against them” drama that has proven detrimental.
            However, if that was the initial thought process and intended purpose of the proposal, they deserve to be commended and applauded for they not only managed to accomplish that but also achieve their goal in the process.
            Whatever the outcome and regardless of my opinion and beliefs I wish them a future filled with growth, prosperity and success. I also hope that those of us, who cherish their beautiful islands and have had the privilege to share and enjoy with them over the years, will still be afforded the opportunity to return and continue to as we have done for decades instead of being forbidden to return as a consequence of an ill conceived legislation conspired by a handful of bitter individuals.

  • Stephen Vletas

    Hey Beau,
    Thanks for this Part II. Good job of laying out both sides of an issue that never had to be an issue at all if it had been approached in a productive, inclusive way from the start. At this point it will all just have to play out in the legal and legislative process of the Bahamas. Also, part of the Draft legislation, if they push it, will require amending The Hotel Act, which is another legislative and political can of worms. Same for the Bahamas Development Bank,etc. And finally, I’m wondering if any of the regulations and conservation measures advocated by BFFIA will be based on actual science and thoughtful research. People promoting conservation should be leading with their science studies and research evidence, not with Nationalism. I would really like to see these studies that would show specifically which flats, which nursery areas, which migration routes, etc., need to be protected. Sharing that kind of information would rally people to a common cause.
    Best,
    Stephen

    • Cindy James Pinder

      Hey Stephen, No need to worry about evidence. BIFFA & BISCA are on it! BIFFA is PARTNERING with BISCA who have listed (on their web page) Stafford Creek Lodge & Shawn Leadon and Rare Conservation Organization as their conservation partners. Why waste time and money with scientific studies and research? If you believe BIFFA suggestions – they know which flats need to be protected.

      • R. Taylor

        It’s BFFIA & BSCA, Cindy! Get off your high horse and speak to the facts and stop trying to discredit these persons! It is obvious you are on a personal run. You lost the AGM election, SO GET OVER IT! Vletas raise some valid points and I would think that IF Government IS going to have restricted zones, they will consult with the Universities of Miami and Florida, the Guides and Lodges so that the decision is made not only from scientific research, but local knowledge from the Guides, Lodges and Elders in the various islands. I do not see any protection or conservation in AFFGA’s recommendations from Justin Sands.

        • Cindy James Pinder

          Geneva, AFFGA suggestions were not a management plan. It was merely an outline of all of the conservation projects in partnership with other stakeholders that have been done on Abaco over the past 7 years. We offered (along with our conservation partners) to assist the government in strategic conservation planning to utilize money allotted via the sale of fishing licenses to the obscure conservation fund. Nothing more.

          • Geneva Wilson

            Cindy, please address me when I respond and do not play your childish games with me! As a matter of fact, I find Mr.or Ms. Taylor’s dialogue quite entertaining, a little fierce for my character as he lacks my style and play with words but he or she raised some valid and very interesting comments! And as usual your above diatribe, makes no sense. Cheers!

            • Cindy James Pinder

              Geneva, Wow, I am only responsible for what I say, not what you understand. Cheers!

              • Geneva Wilson

                :-)! Please visit BFFIA’s Facebook Page and Website! Lot’s of wonderful updates.

                • Cindy James Pinder

                  You should contact your webmaster because your site won’t open, but let me guess. . . . you’ve added contact information for BFFIA members because I mentioned 9 days ago that BFFIA didn’t market their guides on the webpage and Heather mentioned your inactive facebook page so I’d guess you started marketing there too?

                  Cindy James Pinder Heather • 9 days ago

                  Marketing is indeed a problem. I can’t speak for the other islands but many of the guides on Abaco do not have a computer and do not market themselves on the internet. BFFIA has a webpage but they never added guide or lodge members on it so their site has no marketing value for members.

                  Heather Cindy James Pinder • 9 days ago

                  Cindy, I don’t know how much good the BFFIA page on Facebook would be to anyone anyway. It was created in 2013 with 1 post. There were a few posts made on August 10 but nothing since then and it only has 191 “likes” so… I’m not saying FB is everything but it definitely helps disseminate info.

                  • Geneva Wilson

                    Good Girl. You follow instructions! Now if I can only get you to do the others! I know the website isn’t opening, as they are updating! Webmaster advised me earlier today. And yes, we only had “191 Likes” on our Facebook Page but thanks to MidCurrent, You and Others we are heading to 600 LIKES in less than a week and we have been getting a tremendous amount of calls and emails support! So keep checking, I am certain it will be up soon! Thanks Heather!

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Geneva, I know you’ve been really busy working on marketing so evidently not answering emails from members. Maitland Lowe & O’Donald McIntosh – remember the Abaco Legends – all of the lettering came off Maitland’s trophy and O’Donald’s name was spelled wrong? They are still awaiting for their replacement trophies.

                      I got this message from Maitland’s wife the other day:
                      Hi Cindy , please help me with Maitland trophy. I send email and no want give any answers. Thanks , Mercedes .

                      Would you kindly answer her or tell me when these proud legends can expect their replacement trophies. Thanks!

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Geneva, Have you answered Ms. Lowes’ email yet? Please advise.

                    • Cindy James Pinder

                      Geneva???? Have you answered Mercede Lowe’s email regarding her husbands – Abaco Legend, Maitland Lowe – trophy? Please let me know. Or, better yet, please answer her. Thank you.

                    • Heather

                      Yes Geneva, I pointed out a problem (the lack of traffic on the BFFIA Facebook page) and you have remedied that problem. That is all these foreign anglers are trying to do in regards to the proposed legislation. We hope there will be a similar resolution to the problems with the legislation (DIY restrictions, second homeowners restrictions fishing from their boats, funds allocation, exclusionary tone). Again, I have no real stake in this, just interested in hearing both sides and making comments as I see fit

              • R. Taylor

                WTH! For the record Ladies, I am a HE.

        • Justin Lewis

          R. Taylor,

          Why would you want the BFFIA/BSCA to consult with the University of Miami and Florida, who don’t do work concerning bonefish in the Bahamas?! Instead of organisations like BTT and CEI who have been doing wok in the country for over a decade working closely with guides focusing on the conservation of bonefish and their habitats in the Bahamas!

          If organisations like the AFFGA and Friends of the Environment didn’t exist the parks that were recently announced in Abaco wouldn’t exist!!!

    • Beau Beasley

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for the kind words about the article. I hope the impartial coverage will bring all stakeholders to the table and some reasonable legislation can come about that meets with all the concerns Bahamians and foreigners have about bonefish, and how they are managed.

      I can’t speak for BFFIA, or for how they determined their conservation suggestions.

      Stay tuned, I am sure this process will have more developments once the bill come before the Cabinet.

      • R. Taylor

        Dear Mr. Beasley,

        Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be able to voice my opinions and I appreciate that I have been able to learn a lot from what was presented in both Part I & II. Today our local newspaper, The Tribune, ran the entire article so now many Bahamians are learning about the things being said and I am certain that the Talk Shows will be jumping all over it. I can tell you ignorance is bliss! I have noted in the past day or two it appears the direction and flow of comments seem to be focused on Cindy Pinder and have drifted from the main cores- DIY, Second Homeowners and Conservation. Nobody is really interested in the attacks on BFFIA and Prescott Smith. This is a bit disappointing and not enlightening. Also, to deal with Cindy Pinder’s remark about me being Geneva Wilson, I am willing to speak with you directly myself so that you can stop this type of behavior and advise them accordingly. You have my email and can contact me with a phone number so that we are able to speak. Again, thank you.

        • Beau Beasley

          Mr. Taylor,

          I was very pleasantly surprised that the Tribune chose to run my article for the citizens of the Bahamas, for whom I have the utmost respect. I hope this exposure provides some insight into the legislation that might not otherwise have come to light. I want all parties to have a voice, and I think this combined with my research is why the Tribune did me the honor of running my piece in such a high profile way.

          I’m pleased to say that I’ve been fielding comments from the Bahamas, and from across the US today. Its very gratifying indeed to know so many folks are interested i my piece.

          Thanks again for your input, I hope to keep readers like you informed of any new developments when the time comes.

          • Heather

            Here is a copy of the Tribune page. http://www.tribune242.com/news/2015/sep/07/insight-battle-bonefish-and-future-bahamas/

            Notice there are zero comments. And I’m still looking for comments from other Bahamians. Seeing as how I am “against the Bahamian government and against Bahamians” as R Taylor has stated, I’d love to hear from other Bahamians on this issue. Especially so that I don’t continue to offend when I’m there in November.

  • Cindy James Pinder

    For those of you who have been following the proposed flats fishing regulations in the Bahamas. Read the link to the Tribune. Michael Braynen, Director of Fisheries has some good news to share with anglers and stakeholders. Seems like the Bahamas may remain fisher-friendly for our visitors after all!

    http://www.tribune242.com/news/2015/sep/25/fly-fishing-licences-largely-determined/?news

    • Kevin

      Yes, this is good news !