ANNUAL MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Without doubt, 2018 has been a building year for Blue Fish Canada. Thanks to your donations and a series of grants, we pushed well past the $10,000 mark for the first-time revenues since incorporating as a non-profit and registering as a national charity. A 100% reliance on volunteers means all fund projects including Urban Fishing Nodes, Fishing Tackle Recyclers, Fish Stewardship and Citizen Science, Shoreline Clean-Up, and Fish health. Blue Fish Canada 2018 highlights follow:
Outreach: With support from the Canadian National Sportsman Show Services, Master Promotions Ltd. and Cabela’s, BFC volunteers were able to stage strong exhibits over 13 days at five events, including a 20’X40’ Kids Casting Zone featured on CTV morning news:
Partners in Conservation: Blue Fish Canada established partnerships with a number of fishing tournament organizations, such as the Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation and B1 Fishing, to promote conservation and fish stewardship. Partner members are provided with science-based guidelines on sustainable tournament fishing and a Shoreline Clean-Up Kit. A Fishing Tackle Recycler is provided to each organization to collect expired fishing gear.
Fishing Tackle Recyclers: BFC volunteers installed 18 “Fishing Tackle Recyclers” at boat launches and popular shore fishing locations throughout eastern Ontario. The collection stations were welcomed by Local municipal officials. The Recyclers collect lead jigs and weights, old fishing line and soft plastic baits, hooks and even plastic straws.
Urban Fishing Nodes: With support from the Ottawa Community Foundation, BFC is working with Ottawa’s city and National Capital planning officials and stakeholders to establish urban fishing nodes. The nodes will provide urban youth with safe and accessible naturalized spaces to fish along the Rideau and Ottawa rivers. Natural features will also extend into the water to provide fish habitat. Drawing on lessons learned from this project, a guide will be produced to inform and inspire other Canadian cities to create their own fishing nodes.
Fish Stewardship and Citizen Science: Thanks to a grant from Scotia Trust, the look-and-feel of our educational materials are inspiring and informing even more youth and those new to fishing. Modules include catch & release, selective harvesting, citizen science, invasive species prevention, fishing tournament best practices, fish identification, and training and certification.
Shoreline Clean-Up: Blue Fish Canada distributes over 3,000 free shoreline clean-up kits each year to youth and anglers of all ages. Each kit comes in a biodegradable wrapper and includes protective gloves and a waste collection bag.
Fish Health: BFC’s partnerships with fish health researchers facilitate the engagement of anglers interested in supporting fish health research, conducting citizen science and sharing local knowledge. BFC continues to be on the look-out for a suitable smartphone app.
What Lies Below: 79-minute feature documentary showcasing fish conservation now airing on CBC and AMI television;
Blue Fish Radio: 25-minute podcasts broadcast and downloaded weekly to over 100,000 listeners;
Lawrence’s Insights: bi-weekly 15-minute TV broadcast across Canada over basic cable and the internet.
Social Media: @BlueFishnews Tweets and the Blue Fish Canada Facebook page are up-dated weekly;
Outdoor Canada: promotes/ publishes Blue Fish Radio episodes and articles; and,
Lake2Plate: videos that generate ever-stronger interest in sustainable fish harvesting
Leadership: As the Founder and president of BFC, and Canada’s only blind outdoor writer, podcaster, TV host and film maker, I’m continuously monitoring science and local news, and engaging with relevant stakeholders, to track and promote Canada’s water quality, fish health and recreational fishing. This includes attending and presenting at scientific conferences, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration certification through their Marine Recreation Education Program – the first Canadian to be certified.
Conclusion: Blue Fish Canada is strengthening and expanding programs to ensure youth and anglers of all ages have the skills and motivation to advocate for sustainable fishing and watershed conservation. It’s essential given the rapid change marine and aquatic ecosystems are experiencing and underscores the need to work hand-in-hand with research and angling communities to develop and implement sound fish stock and watershed management programs and policies. Action now is crucial to ensure the future of Canada’s water quality, fish health and the future of recreational fishing.
Support: Please support Blue Fish Canada to inspire and inform the next generation of conservation-minded outdoor enthusiasts by making a tax-deductible donation by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/