The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation officials, led by Deputy Director General Mr. Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, met with representatives of The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) to discuss institutionalizing a Fly Fishing certification program in addition to developing a curriculum for an Associate degree in Ecotourism. “We see this as a great opportunity to get more Bahamians, especially young Bahamians, involved in this huge industry that contributes greatly to tourism sustainability efforts,” said Deputy Director General Ellison “Tommy” Thompson.
With expansion of the Fly Fishing industry in mind, the Fly Fishing certification program was designed not only to fulfill the mandatory requirements of Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) regulations, which mandates that all Fly Fishing guides must be certified, but also to ensure that guides are responsible and armed with sufficient knowledge on preserving the environment and the sector.
“Fly fishing is a big part of the tourism offering and to be a certified guide, adding that academic and scientific input into what you do is important for the sustainability of the sector,” said Dr. Raveenia Roberts-Hanna, Executive Director for BAMSI.”We are happy to have that stamp of approval from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.”
The certification program, earmarked for a January 2020 official launch, solidifies the relationship between the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, BAMSI and the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association (BFFIA) as all organizations are resolute in their commitment to sustainability efforts for the country. “We know this industry is a huge one; there’s a lot of potential for it here in The Bahamas and this is a major step in the right direction,” said Deputy Director General Ellison “Tommy” Thompson.