Entries in take action (67)
The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is very disappointed over the failure of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) to limit Greenland’s salmon harvest to sustainable levels, during negotiations to set regulatory measures at meetings that took place June 2 to 5 in Goose Bay, Labrador. Greenland would not budge below a quota of 45 tonnes, which was more than other Parties to the West Greenland Commission (made up of Greenland, Canada, the United States and the European Union), could accept. Denmark on behalf of Greenland unilaterally committed to limit the total annual catch for all components of its fisheries to take no more than 45 tonnes in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Scientists that advise NASCO have been very clear that there should be no harvest of North American salmon at Greenland. “A compromise would have been a subsistence fishery of no more than 20 tonnes, but more than twice this amount is unacceptable,” said Bill Taylor, President of ASF. “This will have a devastating effect on already endangered, threatened and at-risk salmon populations in North America and southern Europe.
A strongly worded letter from AFFTA opposing the current proposed Fisheries Resource Regulations in the Bahamas.
Michael T Braynen
Director Department of Marine Resources P.O. Box N 3028
The destination angler traveling to the Bahamas has for many decades played a vital role in the health of the Bahamian economy. These tens of thousands of Bahamas-bound anglers also play a crucial role in the U.S.-based fly-fishing industry as a whole. For these reasons, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) opposes the Fisheries Resources Regulations of 2015 in its present draft form. We would further encourage Bahamian legislators to carefully consider the negative impacts that such heavy-handed and unnecessary regulation will have on destination angling and fly fishing throughout the Bahamas.
We strongly encourage the Bahamian government to reject the draft of these regulations in their present form and seriously evaluate whether these proposed regulations are truly good for the Bahamas as a whole.
Recent data (from The Economic Impact of Flats Fishing in The Bahamas; Tony Fedler, Ph.D) shows that anglers traveling to the Bahamas in 2010 spent over $141 million to fish the Bahamas, bringing to the developed islands of the Bahamas (and perhaps more importantly the out-islands) thousands of jobs and economic benefit. And the best news of all: These anglers were spending money on a low-impact, totally renewable pastime on the islands and in the communities that need it the most. Fast-forward to 2016 with the U.S.'s improved economy and an end to its recession, there is little doubt that this number of $141 million will in all likelihood significantly increase.
The ill-conceived and downright puzzling attempts by a small number of self-serving individuals in the Bahamian fly fishing industry to fast-track the proposed Fisheries Resources Regulations has already put the destination fishing industry of the Bahamas at great risk. The industry outcry, social media reaction and backlash in the last two days alone have already tarnished the image of the Bahamas as a paradise for traveling anglers. If key elements of this proposed legislation become reality, there is a chance that the lucrative and valuable destination angling industry servicing the Bahamas will suffer catastrophic damage that will negatively affect the Bahamian economy.
Creating an environment where foreign anglers, non-Bahamian lodge and property owners, and even casual tourists looking to fish are essentially locked off the water and off the flats makes no sense at all. While a handful of local guides and lodge owners might see this as a short-term win and a way to artificially strengthen their own small businesses, the Bahamas as a whole will lose in a big way. Heavy-handed and unnecessary regulations will send a message to destination anglers throughout the world that they are not welcome in the Bahamas unless they are willing to pay to fish with a small number of “select” guides or lodges. This at a time when Belize, the Yucatan, Cuba and numerous other international destinations are welcoming and marketing to foreign anglers and investors like never before. The proposed regulations will successfully and immediately drive destination anglers and the dollars and jobs that they bring to destinations other than the Bahamas. The Bahamian government should be doing whatever it takes to increase sustainable anglers’ access to the flats instead of limiting access.
Our industry members are deeply concerned with the proposed Fisheries Resource Regulations and the impacts these new laws would have on their businesses and the fly- fishing industry as a whole.
As one lodge owner from Abaco recently stated, the timing and the tone of the proposed regulations are awful and will further erode the competitive position of the Bahamas as a fishing destination at a time when visitors are already reeling from the recent imposition of Value added tax.
Other industry members and fly-fishing businesses have also weighed on the issue this past week.
"As a fly shop owner that currently hosts annual trips to the Bahamas, I am very concerned by the proposed regulations,” said AFFTA member Colby Trow, who owns Mossy Creek Fly Fishing in Virginia. “Over the past 12 years of hosting fishing trips in the Bahamas, our retail shop has brought over $75,000 annually to the Bahamian economy. The proposed changes would unconstructively impact our customers who presently travel to the Bahamas and will certainly create a situation where we would look to other flats destinations throughout the Caribbean.”
President of Simms Fishing Products K.C. Walsh further added, “there is no doubt that such short-sighted legislation will negatively impact the economy of the Bahamas and reduce access for visiting anglers. If the draft proposal passes, anglers that currently travel to the Bahamas will surely find other flats fishing destinations.”
Ian Davis, co-owner and saltwater program director for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures commented “it is unfortunate that a small number of self-serving, outspoken guides and lodge owners have gathered momentum to the point that these regulations are actually being considered and discussed. The potential harm to the Bahamian sportfishing industry is immeasurable.”
The one piece of the proposed regulations that AFFTA and the fly fishing industry would support would be a daily and weekly marine fishing license for all recreational anglers fishing in the Bahamas. If a license were easily attainable on-line, provided indiscriminate access to the flats and the shallow waters of the Bahamas, and if the funds generated were designated for conservation and protection of Bahamian resources, then a sportfishing license could be a great thing for the Bahamas and its economy. The key with a successful and well-executed license program will use generated funds to enhance and protect the flats' ecosystems and habitats, drawing more anglers into the Bahamian tourism economy.
In closing, it is important that input on this issue should be solicited from all involved and concerned parties, including independent Bahamian guides, lodges (both foreign-owned and locally owned), anglers, second home-owners, scientists, conservation groups and the fly fishing industry as a whole. Rushing forward on legislation that will ultimately cost the Bahamas hundreds of millions of dollars in angling-related revenue and countless jobs throughout the country would be a tragic mistake.
President – American Fly Fishing Trade Association
Chairman – American Fly Fishing Trade Association
Chairman Emeritus – American Fly Fishing Trade Association Chairman – AFFTA Fisheries Fund
You can take a cue from the AFFTA talking points and add your voice to the opposition over these misguided proposals. Please send your comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of the day Friday.
There are some new rules proposals being put forth by the Bahamian Government that, among other things, could end wading the flats without a guide or any foreign ownership of a lodge.
For a thorough analysis of the rules proposals and the ramifications we strongly urge you to read the three stories and their associated comments via the links below. Then you should immediately send your comments regarding these proposed rules changes to the Bahamian Department of Marine Resources by email @ email@example.com
The comment period for these proposals ends on Friday!
How to Destroy the Bahamas, A Guide
There is some really frightening proposed legislation floating around the Bahamas and they’ve given us about a week to let our opinions be known. I’ve looked at it and it does not make me happy, and except for a few people, I wouldn’t think most Bahamians would be too happy with it either.
LINK (via: Bonefish on the Brain)
Is Flats Fishing In The Bahamas Over?
I’ve been bonefishing in the Bahamas for some time now. Over a decade anyway. Twice a year, I take groups of ten anglers for guided fishing at a lodge and at least once a year I do a DIY trip. If you’ve been reading Gink and Gasoline for any time at all, you know of my love affair with these beautiful islands, their people and their fish. Today I am wondering if that is all coming to an end.
LINK (via: Gink+Gasoline)
Proposed Bahamian Fishing Regulations – Is The Sky Falling?
As of this morning I have heard from or personally spoken to many of the non-Bahamian lodge owners (they are worried sick), talked to independent guides, owners of second homes who fish and handfuls of stake holders who provide services (home rental, car rental, groceries, restaurants) seeking their views. Other than a few independent guides, I can’t find anyone who was part of a consultive process in anything other than a cursory way.
LINK (via: DIY Bonefishing)
On May 27, 2015 the Premier of BC received a petition signed by 108,000 people asking her not to expand the industry.
Will the Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, grant the salmon farming industry the new licences of occupation to allow the industry to expand, or she is in a lonely place when she stands in support of salmon farms?
British Columbians, BC businesses, societies and even municipalities are not standing with her.
LINK (via: Alexandra Morton)
Alejandro Vega Cruz, know the angling world over as "Sandflea," needs our help! He's in need of a new heart valve and the angling community is uniting to raise the funds he needs!