Puerto Rico Promotes Commercial Fisheries At Grave Cost to Recreational Fishing

Last week, Sport Fishing Magazine published an article outlining a new and disastrous overhaul of Puerto Rico’s fishing laws. For those not aware of Puerto Rico’s status: the island is a U.S. Territory in the Caribbean. Decimated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Puerto Rico has attempted to rebuild its economy and infrastructure without much help from the United States Government. As many island countries are, Puerto Rico is very dependent on its ocean economies, which have a significant impact on Puerto Rico’s economy. Much of this economic impact is due to tourism and recreation, which account for nearly $100 million. Yet, the Puerto Rican Government is considering massive modifications to their fishing laws that would greatly benefit the commercial fishing industry at huge costs to the immensely beneficial recreational sector.

Dr. Craig Lilyestrom Ph.D. of Sport Fishing Magazine highlighted the contents and expected outcomes of this “outrageous new law”. Senate Bill 1014, which has passed Puerto Rico’s Senate, needs approval in its House of Representative before it can replace the current fishing law:”Law 278″. According to Dr. Lilystrom, the bill would:

  • give commercial fisherman greater leniency in regards to punishments for rule infractions;
  • “Limit recreational angler’s harvest to no more than 30 pounds of fish per month. (This will eliminate valuable fishing tournaments, and could mean keeping a single tuna or dolphinfish would be breaking the law.)”
  • and, in practice end recreational fishing and the $100 million impact for the Island.

These outcomes are only a couple of the examples Dr. Lilyestrom provided, but the picture is clear: there is no logical explanation for this bill. We will be sure to update you as more information becomes available. Thank you Dr. Lilyestrom, for your reporting. You can check out his article here.

This article was written by Flylords team member Will Poston.


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