Last Friday the Bahamian government held a public forum in Nassau in response to controversial draft regulations aimed at the flyfishing industry. The legislation would potentially limit DIY angling opportunities and called for restrictions on foreign (aka US-based) lodge owners.
After the draft legislation was released anglers and business stakeholders had eight days to submit comments to the government. The positive news, according to diybonefishing.com’s Rod Hamilton, who attended the public meeting, is the Bahamians seem willing to listen and have subsequently loosened some of their initial insular rhetoric.
Hamilton tells us that points to be “clarified” by the government at an upcoming July 13 public hearing include:
-Minister Gray gave assurances that DIY would not be eliminated;
-Lodge ownership would not be restricted, foreign ownership would continue;
-A Fishing License program will be implemented. Access will be on-line or otherwise readily available. Most likely with one day, weekly, six month and annual license options;
-License prices will be competitive with other destinations;
-Licenses will be issued by the government for all of the Bahamas, no restrictions;
-Wording of the legislation will be Visitor Friendly;
-Home owners boats and vessels used by renters will be licensed and allowed to fish;
-Another Public Forum is to be held on July 13th;
-Minister Gray is to produce another Press Release clarifying “some of the confusion.”
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.