2019 Year-End Report

Word from the President: As the Founder and president of Blue Fish Canada, and Canada’s only blind outdoor writer, podcaster, TV host and film maker, I’m continuously engaging with stakeholders to track and promote Canada’s water quality, fish health and recreational fishing. This includes partnering with local and national fishing and conservation organizations, experts and centres of expertise, and anglers engaged in citizen science. At the same time, Blue Fish volunteers are busy implementing programs and reporting back on successes and lessons learned. Here’s a summary of what we accomplished this year.

Sustainable Fishing Tips cover harvesting recommendations and catch-and-release best practices:

  • Fact-checked by leading Blue Fish Science Advisors;
  • Adopted by fishing and conservation groups across Canada;
  • Regionally customized to include fish ID information and relevant fish handling best practices.

Blue Fish Sustainable engages partner organizations and recognizes their commitment:

  • Partners feature and distribute Blue Fish Tips;
  • Sustainable harvesting recommendations and catch-and-release best practices become partner policies;
  • Public recognition and endorsement of partners for their stewardship commitments;

TV extends the reach of Blue Fish to mainstream audiences:

  • Semi-weekly 12-minute outdoor environmental stories on “Live from Studio 5”;
  • Monthly 5-minute outdoor conservation segments aired on “AMI This Week”;
  • Streamed on the Web and aired on basic cable and satellite TV across Canada;

Stewardship Kits available to anglers and partner members at cost:

  • Includes catch-and-release sustainable fishing tackle;
  • Fish ID cards and regionally relevant tips inform new anglers on best practices;
Photo of families fishing along the shore of the Ottawa River during the Remic Rapids Family Fishing event.

Youth and Family Fishing events inform and inspire the next generation of conservation minded anglers:

  • Sponsored two family ice fishing derbies and one shore fishing event on Family Fishing Weekends;
  • Provided families with shoreline clean-up kits, EagleClaw circle hooks, tin weights and floats, fish ID cards and tips for handling fish;
  • Events included the Harbour Harvest Ice Fishing Derby, the Ottawa Family Fishing Ice Derby, and the Remic Rapids Family Fishing Day;

Outdoor Magazine Publications include information about Blue Fish programs and stewardship strategies:

  • Seven articles published in magazines such as Outdoor Canada, Muskie Release Journal, North-East Ontario Tourism, etc.
  • Topics included anglers as citizen scientists, Muskie catch-and-release best practices and reporting on fish kills;
What Lies Below

What Lies Below feature film introduces viewers to water quality and fish health issues across Canada:

  • Ten water quality / Fish health stories told by anglers and fishers from across Canada;
  • 79-minute Feature documentary airs on CBC television;
  • In April 2020 will begin airing on YouTube;
  • Funds raised through screenings go to Blue Fish Canada;
Fishing boat birds-eye view

Blue Fish Tips for integration with 3rd-party audio content:

  • 52 1-minute audio stewardship tips available for listening and downloading;
  • Leading fishing podcast producers include Tips as PSA’s.

Feel the Bite Videos explain why we all need to be stewards:

  • 12 viewable and downloadable 5minute video stewardship tips;
  • Used by schools, outdoor shows and 3rd-party websites;
IJC’s first indigenous Commissioner Henry Lickers

Urban Fishing Nodes create fishing access and fish habitat:

  • Working with city officials and Indigenous leaders to build fishing access into shoreline development projects;
  • Provides urban youth with low-cost outdoor experiences;
  • venues for Blue Fish volunteers to mentor new recreational anglers;
Lawrence on the seminar stage at the Toronto Sportsman Show

Sustainable Fishing Seminars showcase Canada’s diverse and rich natural abundance and the stewardship roles anglers’ play:

  • 17 seminars ranging from 30 to 60 minutes;
  • Venues included: Ottawa Boat Show’s CSFL Super Tank, Toronto Sportsman Show’s Outdoor Seminar Stage, high schools and fishing / conservation clubs;
Lawrence with CTV Morning News host and Blue Fish Canada volunteer

Mainstream Media coverage:

  • Twice featured on Outdoor Journal Radio;
  • Featured on podcasts including Tom Rowland, Ugly Pike and Fish Nerds;
  • 4-minutes on CTV Morning news;
Exhibit at the Ottawa Boat Show

Outdoor Shows allow anglers to learn about Blue Fish programs and to provide feedback:

  • Exhibited ten days at the Ottawa Boat Show, the Toronto Sportsman Show, and the Musky Odyssey;
  • Distributed free shoreline clean-up kits, fish ID cards and stewardship tips;
Two young girls visiting the BFC exhibit at the Toronto sportsman show

Social Media:

  • Over 150 original Posts shared with groups and influencers across Canada;
  • Twitter and Facebook accounts include:

Conferences and Webinars provide venues to promote water quality, fish health and recreational fishing:

  • Participated in 11 conferences, symposiums, stakeholder consultations, annual meetings and webinars;
  • Representing angler issues over fish health and concerns regarding access;
Fish Health in the Great Lakes Basin and Upper St. Lawrence River Report

Fish Health consultations and report directly links fish health concerns to issues such as water quality:

  • Authored the consultation report “Fish Health in the Great Lakes Basin and Upper St. Lawrence River”;
  • Stakeholders included recreational anglers, indigenous fishers, scientists, recreational fishing industry, and government;
Lawrence with Bob Izumi

Blue Fish Radio sponsorship of the podcast continues: 

  • 52 new Blue Fish Radio episodes aired by 18 podcast broadcasters;
  • Reflections and advice on conservation by “giants” of the Canadian fishing industry (Bob Izumi, J.P. DeRose, Dave Mercer, Peter Bowman, Angelo Viola, Jeff Gustafson, and more);
  • Expert guests covered everything from the Striped Bass / Atlantic Salmon controversy on Canada’s east coast, to the struggling salmon populations on the west, and everything in between including Walleye on Lake Winnipeg and fish kills on the Ottawa River;
  • The podcast now ranks in top-30 fishing podcasts by Feedspot, and is the official podcast of Outdoor Canada Magazine;

Summary: Blue Fish Canada continues to serve an increasingly important role in the future of fish and recreational fishing across Canada thanks to dedicated volunteers and the funds provided by donors and foundations. Please think of Blue fish Canada the next time you want to show how much you love the tremendous fisheries Canada has to offer.

Thank you!

Lawrence Gunther
Blue Fish Canada