The members of the Treasure Cay Bonefish Club are resident and non-resident homeowners in Treasure Cay. We have serious concerns related to the proposed bonefishing regulations and the mandatory use of guides.
The new proposal appears to allow us to fish on our own but not in the company of family members or friends. We purchased our homes, paid duty on skiffs and have contributed to many organizations and businesses on Abaco for the express purpose of enjoying the wonderful sport of bonefishing with family and friends all of whom spend a great deal of money during their visits.
The Treasure Cay Bonefish Club strongly encourages members to fish with other members which would happen much less often if each angler needed to always pay for a guide. We also encourage members to introduce the sport to new fisherpersons, few of whom are interested in paying for a guide since they have never fished for bonefish. We understand that regulations may be needed to control foreign “mother ships”, associated flats boats and foreign guides but specifically ask that home owners be exempted.
Licensing makes sense as a method to gather valuable scientific and economic data. However the licensing fees as proposed are an excessive tax over and above the VAT that all anglers are already paying on every cost associated with bonefishing including gas, groceries, guide, beverages and hotel. It also seems unfair to regulate flats fishing but not blue water fishing considering the fact that many more people fish blue water and blue water fishing is rarely catch and release . In fact many fish are kept and sold.
All of us feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy the wonderful fishing that the Bahamas provides and have no problem with reasonable licensing and much needed conservation efforts. We consider ourselves to be dedicated stewards of the resource and want only the best for the fishery and all of the attendant Bahamian businesses and individuals that benefit from it.
However we feel strongly that the current proposal including the mandatory use of guides will have a chilling effect on the enthusiasm of all fisherpersons for living and fishing in the Bahamas.
Jan Zumbrennen, Secretary
Treasure Cay Bonefish Club