Bonefishing A Major Contributor To Tourism


Bonefishing activities are pumping well over $100 million into The Bahamas and contributing especially to the Family Island economies, according to the executive director of the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association (BFFIA).
Benjamin Pratt, the first executive director of the fledgling organization, said a 2010 economic survey demonstrated that $142 million in spending was taking place in the bonefish fishing and fly fishing industry.
“Earlier, John Randall editor of Fly Fisherman Magazine estimated that this industry had the potential of generating as much as $500 million, Mr. Pratt said. “But this amount is actually being generated today, even as we speak. So we have a tremendous amount of resources.”
The BFFIA was incorporated in Nassau as a non-profit private sector organization in 2012. Membership is open to fly fishing guides, bonefish lodge owners and operators, travel businesses, trade organizations and others with an interest in fly fishing in The Bahamas.
Mr. Pratt pointed out that fly fishing, particularly for bonefish, has become a great contributor to employment and industry throughout the islands.
“Fly fishing allows us as Bahamians, the opportunity to grow with this industry and to do well within it,” he said. “You go to the airport on any given day and the flight is called for Acklins and Crooked Island, for example, the only visitors you see getting up there are the anglers.
“When you look at the tourism statistics, you realize that, yes, the numbers are relatively small. But what is significant about the numbers is the fact that literally all the people who are travelling south of Exuma are actually going to do bonefishing.”
Among other things, Mr. Pratt said, the BFFIA will take the lead in global marketing initiatives, create network opportunities and empower Bahamians socially and economically in communities throughout the islands of The Bahamas.
Ministry of Tourism
Caption: Benjamin Pratt presents a gift of fishing equipment to Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe on behalf of the BFFIA at their annual general meeting. (Photo: Derek Smith)