Blue Fish Canada 2020 Update

While 2020 may have started off to be one of the charity’s most productive to date, the pandemic caused us to take a pause. Not because our programs were forced to shut, (this was only the case in a very few instances), but because we felt our beneficiaries had other more urgent issues at the time. Thankfully, the pause did not last long.

Photo of Blue Fish Canada President Lawrence Gunther and his new guide dog Lewis
Photo of Blue Fish Canada President Lawrence Gunther and his new guide dog Lewis

The Pivot: By early April our expert scientific advisors, citizen scientists, and local knowledge experts were advising us that more than ever people needed to get outdoors. In response, Blue Fish Canada began releasing weekly newsletters with information about the state of recreational fisheries across Canada, the United States, and around the world. More importantly, we sought out and developed angling and boating safety protocols to inform those contemplating a return to the outdoors. While careful not to encourage people to disregard stay-at-home orders, we also wanted to support people to begin thinking, planning, and dreaming about being in nature.

Angling Participation: We are pleased to have done our part to make 2020 a year that saw the highest levels of angling participation ever in Canada’s history. Just as importantly, we are proud of the angling community that pursued their outdoor lifestyles in ways that are respectful, safe, and healthy for both body and mind but, we didn’t stop there.

On-line Program Delivery: We continued to produce audio and video content to educate anglers who were turning to the internet in numbers never before seen. Our informative programming materials reached new and old anglers alike at rates that far exceeded our 2020 program delivery goals.

Video / Audio Content: so far in 2020 we have produced/released:

  • 29 hours of audio podcast con tent;
  • 325 minutes of TV content;
  • 179 minutes of online video; and,
  • 18.5 hours of live Facebook streaming video.

Print Format: people can’t seem to get enough reading material that has to do with fishing sustainably. Compelling Blue Fish Stewardship program material outputs include:

Fish Health: our research, citizen science and advocacy activities included:

  • 3 outdoor show exhibits;
  • 11 in-person and live-streamed presentations;
  • 27 on-line video conferences specific to water quality and fish health;
  • 2 on-line fish facts surveys; and,
  • Launching and chairing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Fish Health Network.

Diversity and Inclusion: fishing is an activity of universal appeal. More than that, it’s essential to the healthy development of youth of all backgrounds and abilities. Blue Fish Canada continues to work closely with indigenous, women, disability and multicultural groups and youth to make sure accessibility to recreational fishing is the norm across Canada. Programs such as Girl Guide Fishing, Blind Fishing boat, Earth Rangers, Outdoors with Lawrence Gunther, Scouts Canada, and Urban Family Fishing remain high priorities.

Outreach Partners: active partnerships include:

AMIAudio and TVFishNerds PodcastOttawaRiver Keeper
AtlanticAngler ChallengeGreatLakes Fisheries CommissionOutdoorCanada Magazine
B.C.Anglers AllianceGreatLakes NetworkOttawaAdventure Film Festival
B.C.Federation of Fly FishersKeepCanada FishingSaskatchewanAngler Research Group
CanadianFishing NetworkMastersProduction Ltd.Savethe River
CanadianEnvironmental Law AssociationSt.Lawrence Institute for Environmental ResearchCanadianSportfishing Industry Association
MohawkCouncil of AkwesasneStriperCupCarpAnglers Group Ontario
MuskieCanada Inc.TheBlue Fish Radio ShowDestinationNorthern Ontario
Nowwith Dave Brown TVTomRowland PodcastEarthRangers
Natureand outdoor Tourism OntarioWatershedWatch Salmon SocietyFish’nCanada
OntarioBass NationWorldRiver DayUglyPike Podcast

What we learned: using a combination of online tools, print resources, and traditional storytelling is highly effective at engaging the next generation of recreational anglers, indigenous fishers, and their mentors and elders., These strategies achieve results. Even though our direct interface programs such as outdoor show experiences, Fishing Tackle Recyclers, urban shore fishing access, and kids fishing days, had to be scaled back in 2020 for safety reasons, our other engagement programs, delivered through strategic partnerships, far out performed our 2020 expectations.

Contact: Please continue to contact us with your suggestions or with any concerns. If you are looking for new volunteer challenges, we have opportunities. Otherwise, keep doing what you do to stay healthy, including getting out to fish as your wellbeing and that of the welfare of Canada’s watersheds and fish populations ar linked.

Donate: Blue Fish Canada is a registered Canadian charity and is 100% reliant on volunteers. There are programming related costs that depend on external funding. Please consider Blue Fish Canada in your donations for Giving Tuesday. You will also soon receive a short explanation of our program priorities for 2021.

Yours Sincerely,
Lawrence Gunther Euteneier M.E.S. M.S.M.
President: Blue Fish Canada
Twitter: @BlueFishnews