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 that first went into effect January 2007 and updated since (and on this page 2011, 2015). 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 yachtsman and tournaments, that's another story.

Updated Bahamian Fishing Regulations


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. Any migratory fishery resource that is caught shall not in total consist of more than six (6) Kingfish, Dolphin, Tuna or Wahoo per vessel and any resource not intended to be used shall not be injured unnecessarily but be returned to the sea alive. If fish are eaten during the stay, the 24 max applies when leaving the Bahamas.

5. No vessel shall have on board any fish unless its head and tail is intact

6. Vessels may not have on board more than 60 pounds or 20 fish of any demersal fishery resources (groupers, snappers, hog fish etc.) and of not less than 3 lbs. a fish. The closed season for Nassau Grouper is from December 1 through February 29.

7. Spearfishing is restricted to free divers only and only with the use of a Hawaiian sling, and not for Lobster which has to be taken by hand.


1. 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 and therefore a maximum of only 6 conch with a well formed lip are allowed per person, and not more than 10 per vessel. (More on Conch and Sandy's Conch Salad Recipee)

2. The ever popular Spiny Lobster has a - closed season April 1st - August 31st which happens to be high tourest season. Don't get caught poaching. During season, Sept 1 - March 31, the limit for spiny lobster is 6 per person with a maximum of 10 per vessel.

3. Back in 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resource announced that the Fisheries Regulations governing Marine Turtles was amended to give FULL PROTECTION to all turtles found in Bahamian waters by both foreigners and Bahamians alike. It prohibits the harvesting, possession, purchase and sale of turtles, their parts and eggs. The new regulations also applies to the molestastion of marine turtle nests.

As for Bonefishing there are numerous guides throughout the Cays. But the region synonymous with bone fishing is South Mainland Abaco, the Marls and the community of Cherokee all featured on our page Abaco off the Beatin Path. and on our Accommodations and Services Page where you'll find quite a few guides listed.

The Bahamian Fisheries Regulations Guide.pdf