Bahamian fishing laws are subject to change. For current information at the time of your visit, check with Bahamian customs officials at your port of entry or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreign vessels may not engage in any commercial fishing transaction in Bahamian waters. Also, be aware that the following regulations apply not only to serious sports fishermen manning boats equipped with tuna towers but also to anyone cruising The Bahamas who as much as drops a line over the side.
We list only a summary of rules most relevant to the average fisherman, as of our press deadline. Current rules and regulations are summarized on the back of the required fishing permit, and a complete list of current sportfishing regulations is available from the Director of Fisheries, Department of Fisheries, Email: email@example.com or The Bahamas News Bureau.
A permit is required for visiting vessels to engage in sportfishing, $150 for vessels under 35 feet and $300 for over 35 feet on which not more than six reels will be used. Vessels on which more than six reels will be used require a permit costing $10,000 annually. Permits are available at the port of entry. The use of a speargun or any gear that functions using a triggering mechanism, fish trap, or net other than a landing net is prohibited. unless authorized by and endorsed on the permit issued.
Sportfishing tournament directors must have written approval from the Department of Fisheries to organize or hold a sportfishing tournament in The Bahamas and ‘prohibit the sale of fish’.
The bag limit for kingfish, dolphin, tuna, and wahoo is 18 fish per vessel, comprising any combination of these species. Any other migratory fish caught, unless they are to be used immediately, must be returned to the sea alive and not unnecessarily injured. Bag limits for other shellfish are 60 pounds or 20 fish, 6 conches, and 10 crawfish per vessel at any time (within a season). The above amounts may also be exported by the vessel upon leaving The Bahamas. No vessel shall have on board any fish unless the head and tail are intact.
The capture, possession, or molesting of coral, turtles, or marine mammals is prohibited as is taking or exporting of marine tropical fish and live rock. Spearfishing. When using spearfishing apparatus, a Hawaiian sling or pole-spear are the only devices permitted to discharge a missile underwater.
Spearfishing is prohibited within one mile off the coast of New Providence, one mile off the southern coast of Freeport, Grand Bahama, and 200 yards off the coast of all Out Islands.
The use of SCUBA or air compressors to aide in the harvest of fishery resources is prohibited.
The taking of conchs with shells that do not have a well-formed flaring lip is prohibited. The taking of queen conch is prohibited.
Crawfish season opens August 1 and closes March 31. The minimum harvestable size limit is 31°4 inches carapace length or 51°2 inches tail length, a limit of 6 per vessel. The possession of “berried” (egg-bearing) females is prohibited.
The capture of bonefish by the net is prohibited, as is the purchase or selling of bonefish. Catching of grouper or rockfish weighing less than 3 pounds is also prohibited.
Additional regulations pertaining to Sea Parks. The taking by any means of any marine life, whether living, dead or fossilized, is prohibited in all Sea Parks, designated by The Bahamas National Trust
Fishing Regulations for The Bahamas
For more information about fishing, yachting and more in the Bahamas, get the official Yachtsman’s Guide to the Bahamas 2018 Edition.
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