Bonefish poster designed to protect lucrative bonefish fishery

Natasha Arthur, BREEF (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation), Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Minister of Tourism and Aviation and Earlston McPhee, Chairman of the National Coastal Awareness Committee and Director, Sustainable Development for the Ministry of Tourism hold the first copy of the bonefish protection poster.

The Coastal Awareness Committee of The Bahamas, a group of stakeholders from the private and public sectors with an interest in promoting the sustainable development of The Bahamas, recently presented Vincent Vanderpool- Wallace, Minister of Tourism and Aviation, and Lawrence Cartwright, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources with the first copies of posters designed to promote the protection of bonefish. The posters were created as part of this year’s National Coastal Awareness campaign, which focused on climate change and overfishing. With the title “Protecting Our Bonefish to Protect Our Economy” the poster outlines the regulations on bonefishing in The Bahamas, as well as highlights the important role bonefishplay in the Bahamian economy.

“Bahamians are allowed to catch bonefish for personal consumption but buying and selling bonefish and using nets to catch them in large numbers is illegal. Individuals can be fined up to $3,000and/or spend a year in jail for selling and netting bonefish,” said Jared Dillet, from the Department of Marine Resources, a member of the National Coastal Awareness Subcommittee on Overfishing that developed the posters. “We have received reports of people using nets and wanted to create awareness, and in some cases remind people of the regulations. Bonefish are also extremely important to our economy and flats fishing has an economic impact of approximately $140 million dollars annually. Even if someone breaks the law and sells a bonefish at 10 Bahamian dollars a pound, that profit pales in comparison to what a sports fishermanwill pay a guide just for the opportunity to catch a bonefish. It is in everyone’s interest to protect this popular game fish.”

For more information about the efforts of the Coastal Awareness Committee, contact Earlston McPhee at (242) 356-6963 or Kelly Meister at (242) 393-7909.