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Bonefishing Important to the Bahamian Economy
By Angelika P. P. Cartwright, MOT
Jun 6, 2011 - 12:34:48 PM

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(Left to right) Janeen Bullard, Parks Planner - Bahamas National Trust; Kelly Meister, Dolphin Encounters Ltd.; Natasha Authur, BREEF; Jared Dillet, Sub-Chairman, The National Coastal Awareness Committee; Hon. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Minister of Tourism and Aviation; Hon. Lawrence Cartwright, Minister of Agriculture; Casuarina McKinney, Executive Director - BREEF; Earlston McPhee, Chairman, The National Coastal Awareness Committee.

Even outside of Coastal Awareness Month, the Coastal Awareness Committee continues to stress the need for Bonefish protection in The Bahamas, pointing out that Bonefishing contributes more approximately $140 million to the economy.

Earlston Mcphee, chairman of The National Coastal Awareness Committee, said law enforcement and education are important factors in the protection of Bonefish and the $140 million per year industry.

Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace and Minister of Agriculture Lawrence S. Cartwright were presented with the committee’s new Bonefishing protection poster recently. Minister Vanderpool-Wallace said that Bonefishing is an important factor in Family Island tourism and it is a growing and lucrative industry that needs protection.

Jared Dillet, the sub chairman of The National Coastal Awareness Committee, said that Bonefish are given some protection in The Bahamas, and just like Grouper and Conch, they benefit the economy.  Mr. Dillet said Bahamians need to be educated on the issue.  He said that it is illegal to catch Bonefish by net. If caught breaking these protection laws, one can be fined $3000 or one year in prison.  He added that some people ignore the catch-and-release rule by selling Bonefish at $10 per pound. If catch-and-release is obeyed, one Bonefish could be worth thousands of dollars since sport fishermen travel to The Bahamas and spend thousands of dollars to fish for them.

Minister Cartwright said that with the new protection laws, room must be left for Bahamians who may catch a few Bonefish for consumption. He said just like Grouper season, Bahamians need to be made aware of new size limitations.

April was observed as Coastal Awareness Month.

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