Prescott Smith is a name many anglers who have fished or researched the Bahamas are familiar with. He’s a veteran bonefish guide and the current sitting president of the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association (BFFIA). After a recent trip to Cuba and discovering how they regulate their saltwater fisheries, Smith is now calling for a similar “National Plan” for the Bahamas.
With regards to the current regulations, Mr. Smith believes strengthened regulations are the key to developing a sustainable Bahamian fishing industry. Current legislation dictates that there needs to be one Bahamian fishing guide for every 2 foreign anglers fishing from a boat. It also included provisions for a licensing system that foreign anglers would be required to obtain a flats fishing license, however, no online portal system has been put into place.
The BFFIA is currently developing a training program for Bahamians wanting to learn to guide clients onto any of the many flats species.
“We are talking about Bahamians becoming owners of the tourism sector. We are talking about training people to develop actual skills, not just in being a guide but other forms of eco-tourism.”