I am a second home owner in Treasure Cay. I have always enjoyed and respected your editorials on the local scene. I am a huge fan of the Abaconian.
I copied the Abaconian on the new flats regulations proposed by the Fisheries department of the government a couple of days ago. But I never heard anything back. They (the gov’t) have set a deadline for comment on these wildly aggressive and harmful regulations for this Friday. I would urge you to publish a link to proposal and to comment on them.
In my case I own a villa in Treasure Cay and come here to fish the flats during the winter. If this goes through I won’t be able to afford the fees and pay for a guide to fish from a boat.
But aside from my own loss of fishing it is a much bigger issue for the whole community from a tourism point of view. We rent our villa about 10 weeks a year, I estimate that one out of three of our rental customers has at least one person in their party that is a flats fisherman. These people won’t come to The Bahamas in the future if the regulations go through. You see, fishing is an important part of motivation to visit the Bahamas.
Do the math: if I lose two rentals a year that is a $3000-$4000 loss in rental income. Multiply that by the number of people who rent second homes in Abaco assuming there are 100 rentals that is $300,000 to $400,000 a year out of the economy and that doesn’t include the groceries, the car rentals, the bike rentals, the boat rentals and the restaurant tabs.
My guess is there are as many as 500 second home rentals – in other words there could be a drop in rental income of 1.5 to 2 million dollars alone. I hope this is newsworthy. I am attaching my letter to the fisheries Minister for your review along with the links for the actual proposal.