SportFishing and Charters Forum - fishing bahama bank...legal

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View Full Version : fishing bahama bank...legal


barnacleprotection
04-19-2011, 10:58 PM
Here is a good question, and please if you dont have an educated answer please dont cloud the subject, thank you for your consideration..

Is there a way you can obtain an annual Bahamian fishing permit for your boat without checking in to customs? My reason is, the area i fish is near great issacs lighthouse, and that is over 15 miles from bimini. It would be a real pain/waist of time/gas/etc to have to check in everytime since I do a strait run from hillsboro inlet. I will never be stepping foot on land, so do I really have to check in to customs? I know the annual fishing permit is $150.00, how do I obtain one of these permits without stepping foot on land (maybe buy one online or over the phone??) and is it mandatory to check in to customs if I will never be stepping foot on land (staying offshore the entire time)

Does anyone have any experience with this? I use to go over all the time when I was younger, I even would go to cay sal bank from marathon all the time and never checked in or had a permit. I am older now and am more educated with the legalities and want to do things so I wont have a problem... Im sure if someone can answer this properly, it will ba a good thread for many to read...

Thanks all!


bradv
04-20-2011, 02:56 AM
There is no annual pass. If u get within 12 miles of the bank you have to check in. Passes are 150 for boats up to 35 feet and good for 2 entries within 90 days. Then you have to do it all again. Don't get caught it gets ugly.

Fish Magnet
04-20-2011, 04:09 AM
I called Bahamian customs a few weeks ago and posed this question: I was recently there and had a fishing and cruising permit and was returning for another visit. I asked if I could fish before I checked in if I had my passports and a reservation to a Bahamian hotel. They told me once you leave the Bahamas any paper that you have from prior trips becomes null and void until you check in again. The other point to consider: The Bahamians consider you fishing within their waters once you cross the EZ line which is about half way across and if you have fish on your boat before you check in and they search your boat and find them, they will consider the fish caught in Bahamian waters as there is no way to prove otherwise. The distance issue is a little cloudy as the US Coast Guard is cool as long as you dont come within twelve miles of Bahamian land. As Issacs has land above water, fishing within twelve miles of it without checking in is clearly asking for trouble.

These are the facts though you will hear otherwise from many knowledgeable people-The reason that I called to check is that I was at a tuna seminar and was told by several local captains that if you had a reservation and your passport you could fish before you checked in. You may get away with it but if you get caught it will be ugly and if you are caught doing it with too many fish they could seize your boat and jail you.


triplenet
04-20-2011, 04:53 AM
Always best to check in.... But,,,,,, lots of guys push the limits all the time.... Be careful

nexxxt214
04-20-2011, 05:32 AM
The problem is not with the bahamas, since ive never seen any bahamian police in bimini ever. The issue is that the coast guard watches and patrols this area heavily and sooner or later your going to get buzzed, if you get boarded without the required paper work your in for a long long couple of days. You could get a 5000.00 fine, loose your vessel, have it impounded for 90 days... a lot of things can happen if you get caught

Fish Magnet
04-20-2011, 06:50 AM
There are Bahamian observers on many of the US Coast guard boats. My friends were boarded right outside of Blue Marlin Cove and I got boarded by a Bahamian boat while deep dropping off of white sand ridge. Be careful.

barnacleprotection
04-20-2011, 09:11 AM
The distance issue is a little cloudy as the US Coast Guard is cool as long as you dont come within twelve miles of Bahamian land. As Issacs has land above water, fishing within twelve miles of it without checking in is clearly asking for trouble.

These are the facts though you will hear otherwise from many knowledgeable people-

So if I am 12 miles or more out from issaces, I can legally drop a line?

gtrfred
04-20-2011, 09:17 AM
the bahamians include the shallow waters of the bank as territory and the 12 miles starts from there - not from land above water.

I was stopped by bahamian defense force right out front of bimini.

barnacleprotection
04-20-2011, 09:20 AM
ok cool, now, what forms of id do you need to properly check in? a fl drivers license? a copy of a birth certificate? I dont have a passport...

GT FISH
04-20-2011, 09:23 AM
You need a passport!

barnacleprotection
04-20-2011, 09:25 AM
I do? I was told 2 forms of us id... can you exlplain/?

bradv
04-20-2011, 10:57 AM
birth certificate was good until a year or 2 ago. now its passport for everyone on vessel plus vessel registration. if over 30 feet need customs decal to come back to us. and you have to check in back here also. get your lbo number and sign up for the float plan as well. makes it a piece of cake coming back.

barnacleprotection
04-20-2011, 11:01 AM
cool, can anyone explain : "get your lbo number and sign up for the float plan as well"

silver bullet
04-20-2011, 11:07 AM
One other thing, The bohamans do not know what 12 miles is.

barnacleprotection
04-20-2011, 11:07 AM
One other thing, The bohamans do not know what 12 miles is.


can you explain this?

Pipo6007
04-20-2011, 11:46 AM
Let me add to your question: Can You fish the Northwest Providence Channel without checking in if you stay further than 12 Nautical Miles from bahamian territory?

Also what fishing regulations are there in the Channel if you left the U.S. and never got near 12 nautical miles to Bahamian territory and then came back to the U.S.?

barnacleprotection
04-20-2011, 12:02 PM
how fast do the bahama customs boats go? cant i pick em up on radar and then just leave if i see a boat coming to us?

kapoc
04-20-2011, 12:33 PM
So you want to run from law enforcment? You just asked for people to help you break the law in an open forum.

barnacleprotection
04-20-2011, 12:46 PM
can us coast guard penalize you, or only Bahamian patrol?

floffshore
04-20-2011, 12:47 PM
how fast do the bahama customs boats go? cant i pick em up on radar and then just leave if i see a boat coming to us?

lol, now THATS a plan!! :thumbsup: :rofl:

barnacleprotection
04-20-2011, 12:49 PM
So you want to run from law enforcment? You just asked for people to help you break the law in an open forum.

relax, im asking questions here, thats what forums are for! right?

gtrfred
04-20-2011, 12:50 PM
they stopped me in a mid 30 ft center console with surface drives. they were certainly going to catch me.

my understanding of fishing the channel is that a box is drawn around the bahamas from a 12 mile barrier from the banks. all of the channel is within that box, once you pass north of isaacs. i do not think you can play the game where you are 12.5 miles north of isaacs and also happen to be 12.5 miles south of grand bahama and think you are in international waters.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/PDFFILES/DEPOSIT/bhs_mzn65_2008.pdf

scroll down to page 6 and it shows an outline of the territory of the bahamas as agreed upon by the UN. once you are "inside it" it doesnt matter how far away you are from land at that point. the 12 miles only counts if you are outside all of it - like fishing 12 miles north of walkers cay for example

jdm61
04-20-2011, 01:13 PM
I do? I was told 2 forms of us id... can you exlplain/?
Even if some countries in our area still do not require a passport, Uncle Sugar requires that you have a passport or, for those who drive or go by boat, the passport card in order to get back into the US.

DroppinLoads
04-20-2011, 01:17 PM
All, this comes up regularly and the conclusion is always the same, inconclusive.

Bottom line: Check in. The inconvenience of burning the gas and checking in will be minor in comparison to what you'd deal with trying to diagram to a gunboat crew that you're more than 12 miles away from a certain landmark. You'll lose a lot more fishing time and money.

Notice I am using the first person here: I've been boarded over there. Everything was on the "up and up". But I can assure you, the guys we interacted with weren't out there to dick around and weren't going away for a 6 pack a $20. And the boat was about the same, CC with large inboards.

DroppinLoads
04-20-2011, 01:26 PM
relax, im asking questions here, thats what forums are for! right?

Buddy, use your head. You pick them up on radar, in the Bahamas, and then book it. You're on their radar too. They re-approach you and the same thing happens again. Now you've gone from a Bahamian Dept of Natural Resources boat looking to board you to a DEA task force.

Flot
04-20-2011, 02:13 PM
So, just to recap - it is okay to fish (and not check in) as long as you are 12 miles away from the "box" that surrounds any land in the bahamas?

Honest question, found myself on such flat water a couple weekends ago that I went 15 miles out instead of my expected 5. There was no particular reason I couldn't have gone 30, 40 miles, so I am curious at what point there would be no more fishing and would be considered on a trip to the bahamas. (obviously I did not have my passport with me)

Is there anything in particular worth fishing for if you stop just short of entering bahamian waters? Or is that as pointless as I would expect?

GT FISH
04-20-2011, 02:19 PM
Just tell law enforcement you are with THEHULLTRUTH...That should cover you..

bradv
04-20-2011, 02:29 PM
If you're out and anywhere near the bahamas box or no box check in. That's the advice. If u want to play hide and seek and ignorant good luck.

Ris-K
04-20-2011, 02:33 PM
they stopped me in a mid 30 ft center console with surface drives. they were certainly going to catch me.

my understanding of fishing the channel is that a box is drawn around the bahamas from a 12 mile barrier from the banks. all of the channel is within that box, once you pass north of isaacs. i do not think you can play the game where you are 12.5 miles north of isaacs and also happen to be 12.5 miles south of grand bahama and think you are in international waters.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/PDFFILES/DEPOSIT/bhs_mzn65_2008.pdf

scroll down to page 6 and it shows an outline of the territory of the bahamas as agreed upon by the UN. once you are "inside it" it doesnt matter how far away you are from land at that point. the 12 miles only counts if you are outside all of it - like fishing 12 miles north of walkers cay for example


This is the first time I have seen that map. Thank you.

I hate to say it, but I would suggest you might find some oil rigs in that area in the not to distant future.

First Light
04-20-2011, 03:39 PM
So if I am 12 miles or more out from issaces, I can legally drop a line?
Let me add to your question: Can You fish the Northwest Providence Channel without checking in if you stay further than 12 Nautical Miles from bahamian territory?

As previously said: "when you are half way across (ie. +/- 25 miles east of Florida) you are in Bahamian territorial waters."

First Light
04-20-2011, 03:46 PM
how fast do the bahama customs boats go? cant i pick em up on radar and then just leave if i see a boat coming to us?

Not trying to be a smart as_, but "A stupid question deserves a stupid answer:" Forrest Gump :sleeping:

Flot
04-20-2011, 05:02 PM
As previously said: "when you are half way across (ie. +/- 25 miles east of Florida) you are in Bahamian territorial waters."

A lot of things were previously said in this thread - what's the reference for that? It would be pretty easy to get to 25 miles east of FL without having any intent to go to the bahamas, and without a map in front of me I think that would be awfully dependent on where in FL you started from.

It's an honest question - I just want to know how far I can reasonably venture out of Ft Laud without needing my passport.

bmcmahonmarco
04-20-2011, 05:08 PM
if you are in the bahama eez zone witch is half way across between florida and tha bahamas and us tracks you inbound with more than the max limited possesion on the the vessel there is a law call lacey act. witch involves the transportation of elegal controban across jurodictional lines this is much worst affence than be caught fishing inside the eez zone of the bahamas here is the description of the eez
http://www.seaaroundus.org/eez/44.aspx

alacrity
04-20-2011, 05:45 PM
As previously said: "when you are half way across (ie. +/- 25 miles east of Florida) you are in Bahamian territorial waters."

this is the law. i think it is part of the the Third UN Convention on the Law of the Sea ratified in 1982.

First Light
04-21-2011, 04:33 AM
A lot of things were previously said in this thread - what's the reference for that? It would be pretty easy to get to 25 miles east of FL without having any intent to go to the bahamas, and without a map in front of me I think that would be awfully dependent on where in FL you started from.

It's an honest question - I just want to know how far I can reasonably venture out of Ft Laud without needing my passport.

Since this is the Fishing Forum, I assume you are talking about how far from Florida you can fish and still be in US waters. From Ft. Lauderdale, my guess is that to be legal you could be no more than 28-30 miles east of Ft. L. if returning with fish on your boat. From a practical standpoint I would also guess that you could venture as far as 35-40 miles east of Ft. L returning with fish and not have a problem.

As for needing a passport, if you are in Bahamian waters, you need a passport and a Bahamas Cruising Permit & fishing license (<- u need a fishing license if you have rods onboard) to be there. Keep in mind that the US has geo stationary satellites that can and do monitor vsl traffic between the US and the Bahamas, the US and Cuba, and the US and Mexico, and while the primary objective of these satellites is to monitor drug and refugee traffic, they can also watch you and me going across and coming back - whether they want to do anything about it is another matter.

I know guys who fish Matanilla, and guys who run over and fish off of Issac who never check into the Bahamas - some even overnight on their boats in those areas, fishing and returning the next day - and you likely know guys who do this too, and they (and me too) have never had a problem. Yet.

barnacleprotection
04-21-2011, 08:58 AM
yes, me too.... but the more i read the more I get worried... wish i could just buy a permit and go where ever the heck i want! so stupid to check in all the time at some horribly inconvenient place. waht if you want to do a night run and fish the bank and then return? it would be imposable.

Prop Blast
04-21-2011, 10:02 AM
yes, me too.... but the more i read the more I get worried... wish i could just buy a permit and go where ever the heck i want! so stupid to check in all the time at some horribly inconvenient place. waht if you want to do a night run and fish the bank and then return? it would be imposable.

1. A passport is now required for entry into the Bahamas and return to the U.S. -- That's the law. If you don't have one and each of your crew/passengers -- stay home.

2. The USCG has enforcement authority in the Bahamas. In fact, they have boarding priviliges in almost any waters in the hemisphere -- just ask boats transiting from South and Central America in international waters :o. You think you can outrun a UH-60 with door mounted .50cal or a Coast Guard cutter with a 40mm cannon? There's a mutal agreement between the two countries. The USCG routinely tracks boats in Bahamian waters -- especially if they're on a course that will take them into or near U.S. waters. If your course is suspicious, you will be visited. I flew back from Marsh Harbor last June on a private plane and you could see more than a few USCG Boats and aircraft between the Bahamas and the east coast of FL.

3. You have to visit and check in at a Bahamian Custom ports FIRST before fishing. Your permit is good for a limited time. After it expires, you need to repeat.

If your not comfortable with these items I recommend you limit your travel to U.S. waters. If you get picked up by either the Bahamiam law enforcement or the USCG, the consequences/penalties can be severe -- to include loss of your boat.

PB

barnacleprotection
04-21-2011, 10:28 AM
it looks like there is no way around it, wish everything was like the old days, less population, less trouble, less pollution, much more fish, etc... the only way things will come around for the fish population is maybe in 2012, end of the human error (saw it on a bumper sticker)

Thanks for the detailed honest reply.

nexxxt214
04-23-2011, 06:11 PM
This is the first time I have seen that map. Thank you.

I hate to say it, but I would suggest you might find some oil rigs in that area in the not to distant future.

why?;?

triplenet
04-24-2011, 11:10 AM
Its 53 miles+/- from Cape Florida (key Biscayne) to Bimini...... so 26.5 miles and u r in the EEZ....

Chances are u will never get hassled for fishing between Bimini and Miami.... But if u do - just make sure you caught the fish in the proper zone....

captdavet
04-25-2011, 05:22 AM
2012 has absolutely, positively nothing to do with any of this and to suggest it does is absurd.

The law here is quite clear and attempts to circumvent either Bahamian or US laws could have severe consequences. The last few times I went to Bimini I saw large US Coast Guard vessels near both coasts stopping sport fishers. I have also seen Bahamian enforcement vessels near Bimini and Cat Cay numerous times. If you don't want to spend the time or money checking in and doing things legally, fish Florida.



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