From Sandy Estabrook's Guide to the Abacos

Due to over fishing by primarily American sports fisherman resulting in stock depletion, the Bahamian Government drafted a set of rules to go in effect January 2007. As intended, they primarily effect those fishing aboard a U.S. registered vessel. There will be little impact on the casual tourist who hires a Bahamian guide or fishes off a rental boat. But for the sports fishing organizers and tournaments, that's another story resulting in diminished business at marinas and tourism in general. As a result of the ensuing and immediate lobbying effort, the 2007 rules were revised upward somewhat with a new set that took effect in 2008. Changes have been updated through 2011.

Revised Bahamian Fishing Regulations
Page update 10/15/2010

1. A person shall fish by the traditional method of angling with a hook or lure attached to a line held in the hand or attached to a pole, rod or reel;

2. A person, unless otherwise authorized by the respective permit, shall not use a spear, a fish trap, or a net other than a landing net;

3. Each vessel shall use not more than six rods or reels unless the operator is in possession of a permit authorizing the use of more rods or reels;

4. A total of no more than 18 fish of any pelagic species or migratory fishery per vessel. (Kingfish, Dolphin, Tuna or Wahoo etc.) Any resource not intended to be used, shall not be injured unnecessarily but be returned to the sea alive. And if for example, a tournament participant who may have caught 25 pelagic fish when leaving the Bahamas, they will only be allowed to take the maximum of 18 of those fish with them.

5. Vessels may not have on board more than 60 pounds or 20 fish of any demersal fishery resources (groupers, snappers, hog fish etc.) and a maximum of only 6 conch, and not more than 10 crawfish/spiny lobster per vessel. Turtles are now forbidden for capture and possession by both foreigners and Bahamians alike.

6. The closed season for Nassau Grouper remains unchanged, that being from December 1 through February 29. The closed season for spiny lobster - April 1st - July 31st.

More on Conch | More on Lobster.

The original set of rules included the statement: "Any resource intended for use must not be cleaned (remove the head, tail, fillet) until the fish is finally landed on the mainland (not including piers, jetties) and no longer transported by boat". We haven't found how this has been addressed in the revised rules, however one might find the answer in our internal search engine on our main page as all Abaco publications are searched in addition to our website pages.

Additionally, many species have specific closed seasons during mating times such as spiny lobster - closed April 1st - July 31st. and recently added, Nassau Grouper see above.

The general public is advised that the Queen Conch (conch) is considered to be an endangered species throughout much of its range within the wider Caribbean area, including The Bahamas. The Government, in an effort to ensure the continued sustainability of local conch stocks, has decided to prohibit the harvesting of the species by foreign boaters (interpreted to mean foreigners - so don't be in the possession of even one conch unless you have a receipt from a Bahamian).(More on Conch).

As of Sept 1, 2009 The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resource announced that the Fisheries Regulations governing marine Turtles have been amended to give FULL PROTECTION to all Marine turtles found in Bahamian waters by prohibiting the Harvesting, Possession, Purchase and sale of turtles, their parts and eggs. The new regulations also prohibits the molestastion of marine turtles' nests.

That Said, Want to know more about fishing in the Abacos? Go to:

As for Bonefishing there are numerous guides throughout the Abacos. A google search will produce dozens or you can go to Dive Shops, Outdoor Excursions & Fishing under our Accommodations and Services Page where you'll find quite a few guides listed.

Gov't Version

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