Crawfish season is August 1, running through March 31st. Photo credit: Old Bahama Bay.

Do you know The Bahamas fishing regulations? The sections below outline the regulations. The full text of the law can be found at (Chapter 244–Section 19, Fisheries Resources: Jurisdiction and Conservation Regulations). Also the March 31, 2013 article contributed by Friends of the Environment, which you can read HERE, describes the regulations in layman terms.

Last since regulations may change be sure to check The Bahamas Tourism Page for any last minute fishing regulations updates.

NOTE: As regulations do change, checking the full text of the law via the link above is strongly advised.

Bag Limits | Fishing & Diving Regulations | Exporting Seafood

The current fishing regulations for the Bahamas are established by the Department of Marine Resources, Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources and enforced by local authorities and penalties can be severe. Getting a big fine, or having your boat confiscated, will surely ruin your day. Know the regulations and adhere to them.

Email any questions you have to : or contact the Outfitter for clarifications.

The boat you fish from must have a sporting permit aboard (applies to non-Bahamians). Individual permits are not required. Permits are obtained from Customs officials at ports of entry. Fishing gear is restricted to hook and line and you may not fish with more than six rods at a time. Bag limits are as follows:


Migratory species such as kingfish, dolphin, tuna or wahoo shall not exceed 18 fish per vessel at any time. (The previous limit was six (6).

Stone Crabs

Closed season is June 1 to October 15. Minimum harvestable claw is 4”. Harvesting of female is prohibited.


Illegal to import. No vessel shall have onboard marine turtles.

Lobster or crawfish

No more than 10 tails at any given time. Annual closed season is April 1 to July 31. Minimum size limits are 3-3/8 inch carapace length or six inches tail length. Egg –bearing female crawfish are protected.


Harvesting and possession of conch without a well formed lip is prohibited. Bag limit at any given time is no more than 6 per boat.

Vessel Bag Limit

Demersal species (groupers, snappers, etc.) in excess of 60 pounds or 20 scale fish.


Hawaiian sling is the only approved spearfishing device. You are not allowed to use scuba gear or an air compressor to harvest fish, conch, crawfish or other marine animals. Spearfishing is not allowed within one mile of the coast of New Providence, within one mile of the south coast of Freeport, Grand Bahama and within 200 yards of the coast of all The Out Islands. Spearing or taking marine animals by any means is prohibited within national sea parks.

SOURCE: The Islands of The Bahamas Boating & Fishing Guide.

Fishing & Diving Regulations

The Bahamas Department of Marine Resources announced Oct. 19, 2007 several amendments to the Fisheries Resources Regulations. These changes are intended to accommodate legitimate sportfishing events and tournaments while still providing greater protection for important fish stocks within the 700 island archipelago.

Full information on recreational fishing regulations within The Islands Of The Bahamas is available at, but key changes to the existing statute include those listed below.

Any entity wishing to hold a sportfishing event or tournament must apply for a permit through the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources in order to sanction the event. Permits and tournament decals will be issued to approved events and each participating vessel must be in possession of a valid permit with decal in order for the following regulations to apply.

Revised limits per vessel as of Oct. 19, 2007:

  • Migratory species such as kingfish, dolphin, tuna or Wahoo shall not exceed 18 fish per vessel at any time. The previous limit was six (6).
  • No vessel shall have onboard: marine turtles; more than six (6) conch; more than 10 crawfish; demersal species (groupers, snappers, etc.) in excess of 60 lbs or 20 fish.

Sanctioned sportfishing events or tournaments are the only circumstances under which billfish species such as marlin, sailfish or swordfish may be retained. Fishermen on independent vessels must return these fish to the water unharmed.

Foreign vessels engaged in sportfishing for which a permit was issued will be allowed to export the fishery products aboard the vessel, within the catchlimits above, for non-commercial purposes. Fishery inspectors have the right to board and inspect a vessel engaged in sportfishing to ensure compliance.

Previous revisions to the fishing regulations remain in effect stipulating that:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Each vessel shall use not more than six (6) rods or reels unless the operator is in possession of a permit authorizing the use of more rods or reels.

For more information on sportfishing, scheduled events or travel to The Islands of The Bahamas, please visit

SOURCE: The Islands of The Bahamas Boating & Fishing Guide

Special Requirements For Exporting Seafood From The Bahamas As A Part Of Personal Baggage

The Bahamas Fisheries regulations allow travelers to export a limited amount of marine resources as part of their personal baggage. Listed below are the maximum allowable limits for all travelers traveling both by air and sea.

Seafood Export Limits carried as part of personal baggage

  • Six Dolphin, Wahoo or Kingfish
  • Ten (10 Ibs.) pounds of Conch* or Crawfish
  • Twenty (20 Ibs.) pounds of Demersal fish

Allowable Limits for Foreign Vessels with a Sports Fishing Permit

Persons leaving The Bahamas aboard a foreign vessel that was fishing in The Bahamas under a sportsfishing permit are limited to the amounts specified in the sportsfishing permit.

The Convention on the Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), which The Bahamas is a party to, has listed the Queen Conch as an endangered species. Therefore, any conch export from The Bahamas requires the issuance of a CITES Export Permit.

Persons traveling with up to ten (10 lbs.) pounds of conch may apply directly to the Department of Agriculture’s Permits Section for the CITES Export Permit. This section is located at the Levy Building on East Bay Street. Office hours are 9:00 a m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. The fee for the CITES Export Permit is ten ($10.00) dollars.

Further information on marine resources export limits may be obtained from the Department of Marine Resources, telephone no. (242) 393-1777, or (242) 393-1014, Fax no. (242) 393-0238 or via email at

SOURCE: The Islands of The Bahamas Boating & Fishing Guide