Do you know The Bahamas fishing regulations?

Any conch collected must be mature with a fully formed flared lip. PHOTO CREDIT: Friends of the Environment.

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]riends of the Environment works to preserve and protect Abaco’s terrestrial and marine environments in order to achieve sustainable living for the wildlife and the people of Abaco. In an effort to encourage sustainable fishing, we would like to share The Bahamas Fishing Regulations with you.

The following is a layman’s translation of the fishing regulations that apply to visitors and non-residents of The Bahamas. The full text of the law can be found at (Chapter 244 – Section 19, Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation Regulations).

Scale Fish

  • The capture of bonefish by nets is prohibited.
  • Purchase or sale of bonefish is also prohibited. 
  • No grouper or rockfish should be caught under three (3) pounds.
  • Nassau grouper closed season is December 1 – February 28.
  • You may collect no more than 60 lbs or 20 scale fish.


  • It is illegal to harvest, purchase or sell any species of turtle or any turtle byproduct (e.g. shells, eggs) found within the Exclusive Economic Zone of The Bahamas.


  • Any conch collected must be mature with a fully formed flared lip.
  • Catch limit is 6 conch per vessel at any time.

Crawfish/Spiny Lobster

  • Closed season is April 1 – July 31.
  • Minimum size limit is 3 1/4 inches carapace length or 5 1/2 inches tail length. Size Matters!
  • Possession of egg-bearing females is prohibited, as is removing the eggs.
  • Catch limit is 10 crawfish per vessel at any time.

Stone Crab

  • Closed season is June 1 – October 15. Harvest of female crabs or whole crabs is prohibited.
  • Claws must be a minimum length of 4 inches to harvest.

Migratory Fish

  • Catch limit is 18 migratory fish total: any combination of kingfish, dolphin (mahi mahi), tuna or wahoo. Others should be released alive.


  • Shark fishing and trade of shark products is prohibited in Bahamian waters.

Fishing Gear/Permits

  • Sports fishing permits can be obtained from the customs officer at any port of entry in The Bahamas.
  • Fishing gear is restricted to hook and line. You may have no more than 6 lines in the water at one time. The use of any other type of gear (e.g. spear, net) must be requested for on your sport-fishing application and further approved by the officer processing your request.
  • SCUBA and air compressors are prohibited for use in harvesting any marine resources.
  • If you receive permission to spearfish, please note that Hawaiian sling is the only permitted spearfishing device.
  • It is illegal to spearfish within 200 yards of the coast of all the Family Islands, within 1 mile of the coast of New Providence, and within 1 mile of the south coast of Freeport, Grand Bahama.
  • Visitors to The Bahamas are not allowed to sell or trade any fishery products. This constitutes commercial fishing and would be a serious violation of the law.

To learn more about Friends of the Environment visit, email or call (242) 367-2721.