Walter Ostar of the Canadian National Sportsman Show Conservation Fund generously agreed to donate $1,000 to Blue Fish Canada to support the printing of the new stewardship guide, “How to be a Steward of Your Favourite Fishing Hole”. The guide is intended to teach fishers and others interested in aquatic ecosystems or who have property bordering such systems how to ensure the sustainability of fish and the quality of the water. The guide will be distributed free of charge at shows and events.
Over a period of two days Lawrence Gunther took part in the Living Water Rally in Almyr Quebec. Lawrence represented Blue Fish Canada in the planning of the event, was the MC at one of the pannel presentations, and provided input during the closing discussions that led to the drafting of an action statement. The Fresh Water Alliance had selected Blue Fish Canada as a grant recipient earlier in the year. The goal of Blue Fish Canada was to ensure healthy and sustainable fishing was included as a shared objective in the Rally’s final statement.
Following is the statement:
OTTAWA, ON (October 6, 2014)—The following statement is issued by the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, a project of Tides Canada, and organizer of Living Waters Rally 2014, a biennial gathering of Canada’s freshwater leaders October 3-6 in Ottawa/Gatineau:
Canada’s waters are suffering. Lakes are choked by algae blooms. Rivers are overflowing their banks, with others dangerously close to drying up. Drinking water supplies are compromised. Struggling fish populations are often unfit for consumption.
Healthy, living waters are essential to the health and prosperity of our communities and the survival of all species. We are blessed in Canada to still have some of the world’s most pristine waters and thus a global obligation to protect them and to restore those waters that are suffering—before it’s too late.
This past weekend, 110 delegates of Living Waters Rally 2014—representing recreational, indigenous, cottage association, faith, philanthropic, environmental, business, academic, and arts and culture groups from across Canada—came together to discuss the future of Canada’s freshwaters.
The people of Canada deserve to know the health of their home waters and that many are increasingly at risk and need to be able to know which ones are healthy. We need regular, independent public assessment of and reporting on the health of our waters.
Protecting and restoring the health of our waters will require leadership. Canada needs a legal and policy framework that sets a high standard of accountability and transparency.
Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, live in harmony with nature and place a spiritual and sacred value on water and have rights to maintain and strengthen their relationships with traditionally occupied lands and waters pursuant to treaties, aboriginal title and aboriginal rights. Hence, indigenous peoples engage in the movement to protect our waters.
We invite many more people and organizations to be engaged in the protection and restoration of Canada’s freshwater. We will build and strengthen the water movement to ensure that all our waters are in good health—swimmable, drinkable and fishable.
Blue Fish Canada was invited to set up a table at the registration event for the Ontario Bass Nation provincial qualifier. Over 180 competitors received shoreline clean-up kits and information about Blue Fish Canada in their registration kits. Competitors also had the opportunity to meet with BFC volunteers at the event and to hear a short presentation given by Lawrence Gunther on the work being undertaken by Blue Fish Canada.
Two volunteers took part in the International Musky Symposium taking place out of Carleton University in Ottawa. Representatives from around the world came to Ottawa to attend this event. Numerous public speakers presented on their research. Lawrence Gunther had the opportunity to present questions to several of the presenters on matters specific to catch-and-release Musky sport fishing.
Two volunteers from Blue Fish Canada traveled to Toronto to take part in the People in Motion Show over two days in early June 2014. Show management generously donated a 10×10 space and arranged for media coverage. In addition to distributing information on Blue Fish Canada and shoreline clean-up kits, a 30-minute presentation was given on stage by Lawrence Gunther on the importance of fish stewardship. Rogers TV filmed Lawrence over 8 minutes talking about fish stewardship and the work of Blue Fish Canada , and this later ran ten times throughout the summer of 2014. Volunteers slept in the camper in the Toronto Exhibition Place parking lot.
Blue Fish Canada took part in the Ottawa Boat and Sportsman Show over four days in February 2014. Show organizers donated a 10×10 space and media coverage. ATV interviewed Lawrence Gunther live on opening day, and Lawrence presented on stage on the topic of fish stewardship. Shoreline clean-up kits and information about Blue Fish Canada was distributed.
Two volunteers from Blue Fish Canada traveled to Toronto to take part in the Toronto Sportsman Show the first week of February 2014. Show organizers donated a 10X10 space for the exhibit. Over the four day show, 1,000 shoreline clean-up kits were distributed along with Blue Fish Canada background materials. Accommodations were provided by family members of Lawrence Gunther.
The Petrie Island Fishermans’ Association donated their proceeds from their annual ice fishing derby to Blue Fish Canada. A volunteer with Blue Fish attended the closing awards event and spoke about what the funds would be used for and offered thanks for the generous donation of just over $1,400.
Two volunteers traveled to Toronto to attend the 2014 induction ceremony for the Canadian Sport Fishing Hall of Fame. Tickets for the event were generously donated by Andrew Polata of the Canadian Sport Fishing League. Accommodations were provided by family members of Lawrence Gunther.
CTV television Ottawa recognized Lawrence Gunther as one of the top-ten most amazing people of 2013. The recognition is for the work Lawrence has undertaken to educate people about the importance of Canada’s aquatic ecosystems. The recognition included attending a special gala dinner, and an interview on the water that was broadcast on CTV television.