November 2018

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:

Blue Fish Canada’s new show canopy

Blue Fish Kid’s Casting Zone

Blue Fish Canada Fishing Tackle Recycler


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.

Girl Guides fishing downtown Ottawa

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.

Blue Fish Canada Cleanup kit

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.

Poster of the feature documentary ‘What Lies Below’

MEDIA

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

President Lawrence Gunther conducting a post-fishing, Q/A session with 55 Ottawa-area Girl Guides

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/

 

Yours truly

Lawrence Gunther Euteneier B.A. MES
President / Blue Fish Canada
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BlueFishCanada/
Twitter: @BlueFishnews
Web: BlueFishCanada.ca

Blue Fish Canada has partnered with leading Bass tournament organizations to promote conservation.
Partners include:

  • Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation
  • B1 Fishing
  • Orleans Boat World Fishing Invitational

Support from Blue Fish Canada includes providing each competitor with a shoreline clean-up kit and a handy reference guide detailing “Ten Bass Tournament Conservation tips”.

Blue Fish Canada also sets up a Fishing Tackle Recycler on site to collect and recycle used fishing tackle such as line, lead weights and jigs, soft plastic baits, and other terminal tackle.

Many of Canada’s top bass anglers compete in these tournaments, and Blue Fish Canada is there to lend a hand to ensure bass experience minimum stress and are returned healthy.

News Release

Blue Fish Canada is pleased to announce its support for the 2018 Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation Hank Gibson Provincial Qualifier. Support for the annual BASS tournament includes providing each competitor with a shoreline clean-up kit and a handy reference guide detailing “Ten Bass Tournament Conservation tips”. “It’s an honour to support such an important “catch & release tournament” says Lawrence Gunther, President of Blue Fish Canada and former OBN competitor himself.

Blue Fish Canada and the North Bay Bassmasters will also be joining forces to collect and recycle used fishing tackle such as line, lead weights and jigs, soft plastic baits, and other terminal tackle. As well, Blue Fish Canada is pleased to provide each angler with a $20 Cabela’s coupon to put towards their next purchase – thank you once again Cabela’s for supporting another Blue fish Canada conservation initiative!

Hosted by the North Bay Bassmasters, this year’s Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation Qualifier will include over 90 teams competing for the right to represent Ontario at the regional level. “Many of Ontario’s best bass anglers will be competing in the Qualifier for the chance to go on to compete for what many consider to be the world’s most coveted bass tournament prize – the “Bassmaster Classic”, Says Jason Barnucz, Conservation Director for the Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation.

The provincial qualifier event will be held over the weekend of August 25 on Lake Nipissing. It’s a lake known for both its tremendous fishery and volatile nature” says Mathew Koprash, tournament organizer and Conservation Director for the North Bay Bassmasters.

Blue Fish Canada is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to the future of fish and fishing. Programs inspire and equip outdoor enthusiasts to promote conservation through citizen science. Link here to learn more about Blue Fish Canada: www.BlueFishCanada.ca

The Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation was founded in 1995 and is made up of 24 clubs from across the Province of Ontario. The Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation is a grass-roots organization designed for everyone from beginners to seasoned tournament anglers. Link here to learn more about the Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation and the Hank Gibson Provincial Qualifier: www.ontariobass.com

Media Contacts:
Lawrence Gunther, Blue Fish Canada, 613-882-3028
Mathew Koprash, North Bay Bassmasters, 1-249-358-0402

Blue Fish Canada was pleased to be asked to take part once again in the 25th Anniversary of the annual science symposium organized by the St. Lawrence River Institute on Environmental Research. Our presentation focused on the citizen science work Blue Fish Canada inspires and informs through our Fish Stewardship and Citizen Science program. It was a packed room, and the presentation received strong positive feedback. More about the symposium follows:

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
May 28, 2018

 

Sharing Knowledge and Linking Science on the St. Lawrence River
by Karen Douglass Cooper, St. Lawrence Institute of Environmental Sciences

The St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental SciencesSt. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences will pay homage to its history while looking ahead towards the future when it hosts the 25th Anniversary Great Lakes / St. Lawrence River Ecosystem Symposium this May 30 and 31 at OPG St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre. The conference began in 1993 in Cornwall, Ontario (one year before the River Institute was founded) as a means of bringing scientists and communities together to discuss fresh water issues. IAGLR has been held conjointly with the River Symposium twice, in 2000 and again in 2012. Twenty five years on, River scientists and community members from Ontario, Quebec, Akwesasne, and New York State will come together to re-visit the original conference theme, ‘Sharing Knowledge – Linking Sciences’.

The theme celebrates the River Institute’s founding partners and neighbours, the Mohawks of Akwesasne, and highlights projects and programs that link ecosystem science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). River Institute Executive Director, Dr. Jeff Ridal says, “Our collective responsibility to protect the environment is from an indigenous perspective and is laid out at the beginning of each conference with the “The Words that Come Before All Else” which is the traditional Mohawk Thanksgiving Address.”

Over the past two and a half decades the Institute has evolved into a unique nucleus for fresh water research, education, and community engagement throughout the Great Lakes – St Lawrence River ecosystem. That uniqueness comes in part from its connection to community and a desire to develop an enhanced awareness of the value of TEK by integrating it into scientific research. This integration is playing a vital role on the upper St. Lawrence River where public involvement plays such a vital role.

River Institute Board Chair Walter Oeggerli says, “Our experience at the River institute has been that the stories that define our history are important pathways to engage people in environmental issues and also serve to inspire scientific inquiry and research.”

Akwesasne / River Institute Research Partnerships with FINS (Fish Identification Nearshore Survey) on St. Lawrence River (Photo credit: River Institute)

Akwesasne / River Institute Research Partnerships with FINS (Fish Identification Nearshore Survey) on St. Lawrence River (Photo credit: River Institute)

Over the course of two information packed days, the 2018 Symposium will also feature three keynote speakers that exemplify scientific inquiry and community engagement.

On May 30, the Symposium’s Community Science Day, Canadian explorer and Order of Canada recipient, Dr. Geoff Green of Students on Ice and Canada C3 fame will join local high school students. He will speak on the epic 25,000 km. Coast to Coast to Coast research and reconciliation expedition that he led along Canada’s coastline in 2017.

Canada C3 and the Polar Prince Visits Cornwall and Akwesasne with Dr. Geoff Green, expedition leader (Photo credit: River Institute)

Canada C3 and the Polar Prince Visits Cornwall and Akwesasne with Dr. Geoff Green, expedition leader (Photo credit: River Institute)

The next day will highlight fresh water research and remediation. Tony David, Water Resources Manager with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe of Akwesasne and winner of the 2017 Environmental Champion Award from the U.S. EPA, will discuss his work in the decommissioning and removal of the Hogansburg Dam. The first project of its kind for a Native American Tribe, the removal has opened up over 500 miles of river and streams as spawning habitat for migratory fish.

Dr. John Smol, professor in the Biology Department at Queen’s University and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change, as a guest speaker, will round out the day River Ecosystem discussion. A Co-director of Queen’s Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL), Dr. Smol’s talk is entitled appropriately enough, “Looking Back to Predict the Future”.

Executive Director of the River Institute, Dr. Jeff Ridal (Photo credit: River Institute)

Executive Director of the River Institute, Dr. Jeff Ridal (Photo credit: River Institute)

For more details or to RSVP please contact:

Karen Douglass Cooper
Community Outreach Officer / Remedial Action Plan Coordinator
St. Lawrence River (Cornwall)
St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences
situated on the traditional lands of the Kanien’keha:ka
2 St. Lawrence Dr.
Cornwall, ON. K6H 4Z1
(613) 936-6620 (ext. 229)
kcooper@riverinstitute.ca
www.riverinstitute.ca

I’m proud to have the honor of being the first Canadian to take part in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 3-day Fisheries Science and Management for Recreational Anglers Workshop. The fact the NOAA offers such a Workshop demonstrates that the National Marine Fisheries Program understands the social and economic value of recreational fishing.

The 3-day workshop took place in Hanover Maryland and included guides, outfitters, headboat captains, outdoor writers, conservationists, and even someone from the American Sportfishing Association. I learned a ton about recreational fishing through the course materials and presenters, and conversations with NOAS’s scientists and Workshop participants. I walked away with a wealth of information and new connections that will support Blue Fish Canada to contribute even more to improving the science -based management of Canada’s recreational fisheries that coexist alongside our commercial fishing industry.

Without doubt, the NOAA is working hard to develop resource management and stock sharing policies, and data collection and analysis programs that provide a framework to ensure their science-based stock management decisions balance the interests of both commercial fishers and recreational anglers. National Marine Fisheries Program regional advisory Commissions now include representatives for both sectors, along with other stakeholders interested in contributing to short and long-term planning decisions on how stocks are managed. Wouldn’t that be great if Canada opened up the decision making process to include recreational fishers as well?

Follow the links below to access a few of the NOAA recreational fishing resources provided:
Marine Resources Educational Program website: https://www.gmri.org/our-work/fisheries-convening/mrep-northeast
Link Link to workshop materials: https://www.gmri.org/our-work/fisheries-convening/mrep-northeast/workshop-materials

I want to thank the folks at NOAA for making it possible for me to attend this Workshop. By including a representative from Canada, they have planted the seeds of change that will hopefully see Fisheries and Oceans Canada do more to recognize recreational fishing as a significant socio-economic contributor equal to if not greater than commercial fishing.

As part of the Blue Fish Canada exhibit at the 2018 Ottawa Boat Show, BFC volunteers set up and ran the Kid’s Casting Zone – a 20’x40’ area complete with life-like fish silhouettes and actual fish-holding structure. Kids learned fish species identification and the different types of structure each species prefers, as well as precision casting.

CTV Morning News was there to feature the Blue fish Canada exhibit and the Casting Zone: http://ctv.news/oS7C4gd

Lawrence and Moby with a sled standing on the frozen ice

While the late and stormy spring may have delayed the start of the open water season, it meant more time for Blue Fish Canada volunteers to promote sustainable outdoor traditions. The following are 2017 Blue Fish Canada activity highlights.

Lawrence Gunther with the co-management team in front of the indigenous-inspired Ritchie Falls eco-tourism resort

Lawrence Gunther with the co-management team in front of the indigenous-inspired Ritchie Falls eco-tourism resort

Talking computers are just one of many innovations for the blind that allow Blue Fish Canada’s blind President Lawrence Gunther to lead and represent the charity. Articles published in 2017 include:

Lawrence Gunther’s truck, camper and boat

Lawrence Gunther’s truck, camper and boat

Of course, rain snow or sun never prevents a new episode of Blue Fish Radio from being produced – 162 episodes to date with an average weekly audience of 100,000.

Episodes focus on what people are doing across Canada to protect water quality, ensure fish health, and to make sure there are fish around for future generations to catch.

Lawrence releasing an 18-inch Walleye

Lawrence releasing an 18-inch Walleye

To further promote sustainable fishing, bi-weekly “Sustainable Fish Friday” 1-minute tips are heard and shared by thousands over social media. Additionally, over-20 “Blue Fish Canada Stewardship Tips” continue to be aired as public service announcements over streaming web broadcasts. We continue to distribute at no charge print and on-line stewardship guides and shoreline clean-up kits.

What Lies Below poster

What Lies Below poster

Six years of hard work on creating the documentary What Lies Below came to fruition. Over 18 festivals around the world have now featured the 79-minute film. Numerous published reviews and interviews can be found on line. Both CBC and AMI TV are now licensed to broadcast the doc, which premiered on CBC’s Documentary Channel Sept 6. All revenues generated by this documentary are going to Blue Fish Canada. Our 2018 plans include distributing an educational program to high schools and post-secondary institutions developed using the 11 stories told in the documentary.

Lawrence Gunther introducing fish-health Symposium Panel

Lawrence Gunther introducing fish-health Symposium Panel

Behind the scenes Blue fish Canada is working closely with numerous research facilities and water activist organizations to promote water quality and fish health. Last May, in partnership with the University of Ottawa and the St. Lawrence River Institute, we organized and chaired a half-day River Symposium including six presentations to over-90 researchers and policy makers in attendance. Ensuring fish have access to suitable habitat also includes leading discussions on fish health in venues such as the Great Lake Network and the People’s Great Lakes Summit series.

Chef Steve Mitton and Angler Lawrence Gunther in their outdoor kitchen

Chef Steve Mitton and Angler Lawrence Gunther in their outdoor kitchen

Canada is far from being a land of doom-and-gloom. We have much to take pride in and celebrate. It’s therefore with considerable excitement that we celebrate the launch of a new video series Lake2Plate.

The video features Lawrence, his guide dog Moby, and a celebrity chef fishing and preparing shore-side feasts featuring sustainably and selectively harvested fish and wild forage. It’s a true celebration of the traditional shore lunch intended to inspire others to reconnect with nature.

 

Lawrence and Moby on stage at the “Fish Hunt and Ride Outdoor Show”

Lawrence and Moby on stage at the “Fish Hunt and Ride Outdoor Show”

In the spirit of carrying forward the tradition of blind people serving as story tellers, Lawrence always makes time to speak to fish and game clubs, conservation groups and at outdoor shows. Exhibiting at outdoor shows remains a priority for Blue Fish Canada, and 2018 will witness a fresh new look to our exhibit space and offerings, including a new skill-testing stewardship quiz and prizes.

Lawrence Presenting to 150 high school students

Lawrence Presenting to 150 high school students

The following quote from Lawrence Gunther published in a recent Huffington Post article sums-up the mission of Blue Fish Canada nicely:

“I started Blue Fish Canada to encourage people to find themselves a pond, river, lake or bay where they can catch a fish for dinner once in a while, and to then take responsibility for ensuring nothing bad happens to their fishing whole that could stop their great grandchildren from doing the same.”

Lawrence and bass tournament partner Lisa Goodier

Lawrence and bass tournament partner Lisa Goodier

Getting others interested in fishing sustainably is a focus of Blue Fish Canada, including organizing annual events such as: Girl Guides Go Fishing.

A shore fishing experience for 50-70 Girl Guides ranging in age from 5-16.

Young Girl Guide holding a fish

Young Girl Guide holding a fish

Yes, it’s important to make sure our water and fish are properly managed. At the same time, Blue Fish Canada is working hard to pass on the knowledge and inspiration to encourage others to carry forward the tradition of fishing. It’s up to all of us to re-engage others in this century-old practice. One we can undertake with pride knowing the resource is being managed using science and the best traditional and indigenous knowledge available.

Most especially, Blue Fish Canada is creating opportunities for children to connect with shorelines. It’s here where kids experience the abundance and diversity of life that inhabits these narrow transition strips between land and water. Life that represents more than the sum of the two parts, but a true synergy of these two vastly different terrestrial and aquatic worlds.

Two young boys holding a net and freshly caught Northern Pike

Two young boys holding a net and freshly caught Northern Pike

Please donate to Blue Fish Canada today so we can continue to provide people of all age’s access to resources so they can fish confidently knowing the tradition is sustainable for future generations.

We look forward to your on-going support, and thank all of you for helping to make 2017 a year we can be proud of.

Anchors up….

Lawrence and Moby out on the lake

Lawrence and Moby out on the lake

Photo from left to right Potomac RiverKeeper Phillip Musegaas, MC and leader of the C3 expedition Geoff Green, and Ottawa RiverKeeper Meredith Brown

In honour of World River Day, Blue Fish Canada’s president Lawrence Gunther took part in the official ceremony to twin the Ottawa and Potomac Rivers. The twinning recognizes the many shared attributes and challenges these two national rivers have in common.

Both rivers flow through their respective nations’ capital cities, both are significant in size, both played historic roles in the founding of their nations’ capitals, and finally, both rivers are being attended to by strong and effective River Keeper organizations.

As Meredith Brown, Ottawa’s RiverKeeper pointed out, both rivers share many of the same challenges impacting swimability, fishability and drinkability. More than 1-million people drink from the Ottawa and over 6-million from the Potomac, and yet untreated sewage and untold numbers of chemicals enter these rivers routinely. Fish kill incidents still occur, and advisories warning against swimming are not uncommon.

Photo from left-to-right: wildlife biologist Connie Downes, renowned explorer Max Finkelstein, Blue Fish Canada’s Lawrence Gunther, and Potomac RiverKeeper Phillip Musegaas

Rivers flowing through the capitals of nations should represent all what these two great countries represent to their citizens and the rest of the world – responsible development and usage, and a commitment to the future of fish health and fishing. Attention all anglers, your assistance is required.

Blue Fish Canada is working hard to ensure the water quality of Canada’s rivers, lakes and oceans are able to sustain fish health and our tradition of fishing. We represent your voice at numerous water quality meetings, and strive to provide a continuous source of information to anglers on how they might more effectively serve as stewards of their local fisheries. Donate today to help us with this important work, and volunteer for your local river and water Keeper organizations.

http://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

A Blue Fish Radio Exploration of Actions and Responsibilities

Who’s Doing What?

It is possible to selectively harvest wild fish from our oceans in a way that’s sustainable. Relevant science, programs and regulations are already being implemented. However, we all have a role to play. Our individual cooperation is essential, doable and relatively effortless. Learn how you too can be part of the solution.

You can ask a dozen people about what they think of the present state of our seafood fisheries and receive just as many different answers. Confusion stems mainly from the steady wave of reports head-lined by media predicting the end of wild fish stocks throughout the world due to excessive commercial fishing. At the same time, there are plenty of examples of currently sustainable harvesting practices and still more industry players who are working hard to turn things around. You seldom hear of these successes though, as they just don’t seem to warrant the same level of media hype as the doom-and-gloom stories.

Canada and the U.S. have begun applying precautionary science-based fish management principals in forming and implementing fishery management regulations with steadily increasing success. We aren’t out of the woods yet, but research used to determine which harvesting strategies are sustainable and those that are not, and more accurate fish population assessments, are helping the two countries to reverse their downward slides.

Global positioning technology is allowing for identified areas of high importance to marine life development to be subject to tighter management controls. Non-profits that have an interest in ocean sustainability are partnering with those in the seafood industry assessed as doing it right to have their products labelled as sustainable. Lots of stakeholders are buying into the principal of sustainability. It’s now up to the rest of us to get on board.Marine Stewardship Council logo

The Marine Stewardship Council is one of many non-profits busy identifying and working with commercial fisheries around the world to recognize those doing it right. Certified Sustainable means a commercial fisher’s wild fish stock harvesting practices will not threaten the long term viability of the fish stock itself. The MSC is also working with those more marginal fisheries by providing knowledge needed to earn the Marine Stewardship Council’s endorsement.

In this Blue Fish Radio episode Jay Lugar from the MSC explains how they have already applied their MSC label to 2/3 of Canada’s commercial fisheries.

 

A juvenile Lingcod photographed at a depth of 85 feet in the cold waters of southern British Columbia.

Juvenile Lingcod photographed at a depth of 85 feet in the cold waters of southern British Columbia.

 

Oceana Canada has a slightly less optimistic perspective on how far Canada has progressed. Their most recent 2016 report states only 24% of Canada’s wild marine fish stocks are at healthy levels. Oceana focusses its energies on scientifically documenting pointing out those fisheries that are performing badly. Hey, someone has to keep everyone on their toes and in this episode of Blue Fish Radio Oceana Canada’s Executive Director, Josh Laughren points out the heavy lifting that still needs doing.

 

SeaChoice, run out of the Suzuki foundation, is another organization dedicated to working with fisheries to improve sustainability. They differ from the Marine Stewardship Council in that their funding comes from an independent and unrelated source, so they don’t mind spending their time focussing on those fisheries that are causing the lion’s share of the problems.

Atlantic Mackerel

School of Atlantic Mackerel

 

In this Blue Fish Radio episode with Kurtis Hayne, SeaChoice is first to admit massive re-thinks on how we harvest certain wild stocks are crucial to getting it right.

 

4 seining

 

The Safina Centre has made it their mandate to scientifically assess which seafood harvesting practices and technologies need to go, which can be improved, and which are working just fine.
In this Blue Fish episode with Elizabeth Brown from the Safina Centre, we learn more about their work and how it underpins much of the rest of the sustainability certification efforts undertaken by organizations applying sustainable labels to seafood products.

 

Aquaculture is increasingly held up as an alternative to our continuing to harvest wild fish stocks. Maybe someday it will, but there are still many hurdles to overcome. One solution non-industry experts are pointing to is closed containment fish farming.

 

In this episode of Blue fish Radio [5] we speak with Jo Mrozewski to learn more about one such example, the Kuterra Salmon Farm on Vancouver Island.

 

Others are counting on the proliferation of marine protection areas or MPAs. What such designations actually mean varies widely. Yes, it’s a defined area of ocean, but what human activity can continue to take place within the zone ranges widely from a no-go zone for everyone, to a complete or partial boycott on commercial, and in some cases, sport fishing, to allowing tourism related activities only. What we are learning is that the nature of each prohibition needs to makes sense and be supported for each area, as without such support the MPA serves in name only.

Blue shark portrait

A portrait of a blue shark from the waters of Rhode Island

 

In this Blue Fish Radio episode Dr. Chris Harvey Clarke discusses the strengths, weaknesses and the role MPA’s play in promoting healthy and sustainable fish stocks.

 

Another solution borrows from the ground-swell interest by the public in purchasing their vegetables from local growers fresh and direct. Emerging community supported fisheries reward those commercial seafood harvesters who are willing to take the time to do it right. Fishers who have a vested interest in seeing the resource continue, and who are small enough that when they return to port they can sell most if not all of their catch to pre-determined local buyers and members of the public who have committed to buy equal shares with the knowledge that it was caught the right way.

 

Blue Fish speaks with Dr. Joshua Stoll who has made it his mission to document and share what it takes to establish community supported fishery initiatives.

 

If you don’t live nearby a bustling fishing port, than rest assured that the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program is on the job educating restaurants and their seafood chefs on how to select seafood that was harvested in a sustainable way. The goal is that by putting pressure on suppliers, they in turn will start demanding that their producers, the fishers, will begin harvesting seafood in ways that can be certified as sustainable.

Wild male and female red salmon in river before spawning in symmetric position.

Wild male and female red salmon in river before spawning in symmetric position.

 

It’s a supply-and-demand economics 101 approach to fixing the problem that Claire Li from the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program explains in this episode of Blue Fish Radio as producing solid results.

 

One of the first organizations in North America to empower citizens to make sustainable choices is the Monterey Aquarium in northern California. The sea-side town of Monterey was once dominated by fishing boats and processing plants, but with the collapse of many of their area wild fish stocks, the town turned to tourism for its survival. One couldn’t ask for a more suitable and idyllic location for a public aquarium that now sees well over a million visitors come through its doors every year. One of the Aquarium’s programs is the distribution of small wallet-sized reference cards that list the sorts of wild fish commonly found and harvested in the Pacific, and then indicating with a series of three coloured lights which fish stocks are in danger, red, which stocks are of concern, yellow, and which stocks can be consumed guilt free, green.

Looking down at rays through the see through floors at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Looking down at rays through the see through floors at Monterey Bay Aquarium

While the Monterey’s SeaFood Watch program may be centred on Pacific fisheries, in this episode of Blue Fish Radio Ken Peterson explains how it’s applicable to all of North American consumers given that fish taken from the Pacific are transported to buyers throughout the continent.

 

Group of Beluga Whales

Group of Beluga Whales bobbing in the wild

 

Others, like the Aquarium Du Quebec explain in this Blue Fish Radio episode how they have modified the Seafood Watch approach to better suit their own region’s unique fisheries. They aren’t the only one who has adopted a “watch” program to better reflect their regionally harvested unique sea life.

 

Cod fish floating in aquarium

Cod fish floating in aquarium

 

Lobster

Lobster in its natural habitat

On the enforcement side, Alan Risenhoover of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports in this episode of Blue Fish Radio on the fruits of their hard work to develop and implement the scientific measuring sticks used in determining what stocks are still in decline and which are recovering. Applying as scientific approach to fish stock management, and putting an end to political interference on how stocks are managed, is proving effective as one species after another is taken off the list of distressed wild fish stocks.

 

In order to accurately track who is catching what and where, new tools for monitoring and tracing needed to be established. Systems that start with the vessel doing the harvesting, and then tracks each step along the way until the seafood is consumed. Such ship-to-plate traceability means accountability and bringing to an end the illegal harvesting of seafood.

Leatherback turtle with its head and back out of the water swims in the northern Altantic Ocean

Leatherback turtle with its head and back out of the water swims in the northern Altantic Ocean

 

It’s what Michele Kuruc, VP of ocean policy for the World Wildlife Fund, reports to be working hard to accomplish in this Blue Fish Radio episode, and it’s got the support of the U.S. government.

 

Live Dungeness crabs for sale at a Seattle market.

Live Dungeness crabs for sale at a Seattle market.

 

Not allowing ships to dock at our ports that won’t or can’t prove where their seafood was captured is just one new stick in the government’s tool chest. On-board remote cameras are another. Laurie Bryant from the NOAA reports on their “Fish Watch” program and its beneficial results in this episode of Blue Fish Radio.

 

Bringing to an end the outdated and unsustainable commercial harvesting practices and greed that still plague large portions of the commercial fishing industry that is taking place outside the territorial waters of Canada and the U.S. is imperative if we are to sustain the earth’s growing population. Achieving sustainable commercial fishing throughout the world hinges on all of us having greater awareness of the efforts being taken by the many different stakeholders. More importantly, if the oceans’ wild fish stocks and the ways they are being harvested are to return to sustainable levels, all of us need to begin to exercise responsible choices. The tools needed to make such choices are now available. It’s now up to each of us to incorporate these tools into our decision making processes when purchasing or consuming seafood.

 

 

In partnership with the City of Ottawa, Blue Fish Canada is distributing shoreline clean-up kits that include a garbage bag and disposable gloves contained within a biodegradable wrapper. The kits are slim, light and fit easily into any size tackle bag or glove box. Get your free kit and be prepared to tackle unsightly messes!

Contact Blue Fish Canada today to arrange to receive a kit, or to have kits sent to your organization.

Email: bluefishcan@gmail.com

Short audio format Blue Fish Canada Stewardship Fishing Tips are produced by Blue Fish Radio with support from Eukanuba pet foods. Each 2-minute tip explains how listeners can ensure the future of fish and fishing.

The following 20 Blue Fish Canada Stewardship Tips can be rebroadcast at no cost. Let us know if you would like to rebroadcast the tips by emailing bluefishcan@gmail.com.

Blue Fish Canada Stewardship Tips:

BFC-Tip 1 — Fertilizers: What you can do as a shoreline property owner and citizen to reduce the amount of phosphates and nitrogen’s entering our water.

BFC-Tip 1 — Fertilizers

BFC-Tip 2 — Catch and Release: Tips for ensuring the safe release of caught fish.

BFC-Tip 2 — Catch and Release

BFC-Tip 3 — Fish Slime: The importance of avoiding the removal of slime from fish.

BFC-Tip 3 — Fish Slime

BFC-Tip 4 — Fishing down Deep: Why certain fish should not be fished at depths below 30 feet if you intend to release them afterwards.

BFC-Tip 4 — Fishing Down Deep

BFC-Tip 5 — Harvesting: Which fish to keep for a meal, and which need to go back.

BFC-Tip 5 — Harvesting

BFC-Tip 6 — Invasive: How to stop the spread of invasive life forms into new bodies of water.

BFC-Tip 6 — Invasives

BFC-Tip 7 — Oil and Gas: Making sure we handle oil and gas so it doesn’t impact our water and fish.

BFC-Tip 7 — Oil and Gas

BFC-Tip 8 — Photography: Taking photos sustainably of memorable moments and trophy fish.

BFC-Tip 8 — Photography

BFC-Tip 9 — Regulations: Knowing the regulations that govern our recreational fisheries and when to apply reason.

BFC-Tip 9 — Regulations

BFC-Tip 10 — Research: Anglers play an important role in citizen-based science.

BFC-Tip 10 — Research

BFC-Tip 11 — Big Boat Little Boat: Kayaks are great, but we still need to get out and back safely.

BFC-Tip 11 — Big Boat Little Boat

BFC-Tip 12 — Dogs on Boats: Keeping our four-legged friends safe aboard our boats.

BFC-Tip 12 — Dogs on Boats

BFC-Tip 13 — Catch, Release or Keep: More tips on harvesting sustainably.

BFC-Tip 13 — Catch Release or Keep

BFC-Tip 14 — Mentoring the Next Generation: Passing on knowledge on how to fish sustainably.

BFC-Tip 14 — Mentoring the Next Generation

BFC-Tip 15 — Catch your Limit, Limit Your Catch: We have harvest limits but sometimes we need to know when it’s time to limit our harvest.

BFC-Tip 15 — Catch your limit, limit your catch

BFC-Tip 16 — Disposing Old Fishing Line: Fishing line can result in death for wild critters if not disposed of properly.

BFC-Tip 16 — Disposing old fishing line

BFC-Tip 17 — Lifestyles Flow Downstream: Understanding that all we do impacts all life that lives downstream.

BFC-Tip 17 — Lifestyles Flow Downstream

BFC-Tip 18 — Live Bait: Ensuring our live bait doesn’t become the cause of the next invasion or disease outbreak.

BFC-Tip 18 — Live Bait

BFC-Tip 19 — Right Size Tackle: Matching the size of rod, reel and line for the job is an important part of fishing sustainably.

BFC-Tip 19 — Right Size Tackle

BFC-Tip 20 — Pack it in, Pack it Out: Boy Scouts have it right when they teach kids to leave things the way they found them or better.

BFC-Tip 20 — Pack it in, Pack it Out