The Fishery Commission in Panama is striving to close waters around Montuosa Island and the Hannibal Bank to recreational fishing even though those areas include some of the most productive sportfishing in Panama. Local sources informed TBF staff that the movement appears to be targeting the actions of the former President, who supported recreational fishing, especially the sportfishing eco-tourism trade. Both local members of the recreational fishing community and captains from other nations living and charter fishing in Panama are working to persuade the Commission to modify its plans.

TBF’s socio-economic study in Panama documented that in 2011 (most recent data) that 86,250 visitors fished in Panama, who with the rest of their traveling companions spent $97 million on charter boats, fuel, food lodging and related expenses. The study also noted that the number of anglers visiting the nation had doubled since 2001 and so long as fishing remains great and anglers are informed the number should continue to increase.  The study also recorded that $170.4 million in total retail and business-to-business sales, 9,503 Panamanian jobs and increases in Gross Domestic Product of US $48.4 million were all related to sportfishing.

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