Blue Fish News – March 6, 2023
What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: With the Ottawa Boat and Outdoor show behind us, and what a show it was with record attendance, the focus is now on getting in as much ice fishing as possible before the season ends. It was great to be out with the fishing club from Saint Marks High School last Friday on Constance Lake – the pike fishing was on fire and I think all 22 members of the Club caught fish – including the teachers! I even had a small pike of my own to add to the count. The school’s fishing club members were having so much fun, which is another reason why we need to make sure sustainable recreational fishing isn’t added to the list of prohibited activities without scientific justification when marine protected areas are being established across Canada. Read this issue’s editorial for an update on the steps Canada is taking to meet its 30-by-30 goals.
This Week’s Feature – Creating Inclusive Marine Protection Agreements March 6 2023?
By L. Gunther
In the February 21 2023 issue of the Blue fish News we included an editorial on the Impac5 Congress recently held in Vancouver to discuss policies, management and governance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Indigenous Conserved and Protected Areas (ICPAs), and National Marine Conserved Areas (NMCAs). We highlighted the absence from the Congress of non-indigenous coastal community representatives and the commercial and recreational fishing sectors that form the socio-economic basis of these communities. Since then we attended the annual general meeting of the Canadian Sport Fishing Industry Association (CSFIA) in Toronto, during which considerable discussion focused on the potential barriers to public access for recreational anglers posed by the various protections being established throughout Canada. This editorial follows up on the inclusiveness issues brought to light when planning and negotiating areas requiring protection in our first editorial, and news about the new protected areas recently announced, along with more details on how these areas are to be administered and governed.
Attending the Impac5 Congress in Vancouver brought home just how important it is for all stakeholders to be involved when formulating plans and negotiating new regulations that will alter the way we interact with oceans, lakes and rivers. Of course, the temptation by those in charge is to move quickly by limiting the scope of consultations to those who are obvious supporters, but history shows the end result can often be short term. Getting buy-in at the beginning is crucial if inequities are to be prevented and reversals avoided.
I think my main takeaway from the Congress was the Chairs’ Statement from Canada’s Environment and Fisheries and Ocean Ministers recognizing the need for increased international action and partnership with Indigenous Peoples in order to advance Canada’s goal of protecting marine ecosystems. It fits well with Canada’s move towards reconciliation and settling land claims, and the need for First Nations and other coastal indigenous communities to find ways to generate sorely needed incomes and revenues after decades of living in poverty. Of course, the transfer of responsibility over important ocean resources to indigenous communities was couched more in terms of conservation and protection – the underlying message being that indigenous people have values in these areas that non-indigenous people lack. It’s a theme that environmental groups have been trumpeting for several years now and one that seems to be resonating well politically as Canada races to meet international commitments to establish marine and terrestrial protected areas that cover 30% of our ocean territory and 30% of our land, lakes and rivers by the year 2030.
Those in attendance at the Impac5 Congress included representatives from governments and leaders from Indigenous, environmental, philanthropic, academic and private organizations, industry, as well as young professionals. Unfortunately, who wasn’t at the meeting were non-indigenous representatives of people who have lived in communities along Canada’s coastline who have for generations depended on making their living and supporting their families and communities by going out on the ocean to harvest food.
The Congress included several exhibits organized by Canadian First Nations communities, and quite a few indigenous representatives. A special reception area was established in the main corridor where Congress participants were invited to sit and speak with indigenous leaders and elders.
I asked a number of FN officials attending the Congress what the difference is between a marine protected area and an indigenous conserved and protected area. Based on what I learned prior to the Congress by listening to a number of webinars is that ICPAs both conserve fish habitat and fish stocks, and provide employment opportunities to local indigenous inhabitants to act as protectors of the designated area. What exactly this protection role includes is less clear.
The overall gist of the responses from the FN representatives I spoke with at the Congress reflected their view that there’s a difference in the values held by FN fishers compared with non-indigenous anglers and commercial fishers. What these differences are is also unclear, but the inference is that non-indigenous anglers and fishers are responsible for the biodiversity loss being experienced around the world.
One of the indigenous representatives I spoke with pointed out that protections are generally viewed by indigenous people as undesirable as they prevent their people from doing what they want to do and have always done – harvest fish and other marine life. If you think about it, I think we can all agree that protections may not be the preferred option, but they are now often necessary due to our increasing capacity to over-harvest fish and other wildlife due to advances in technology that have exponentially increased our harvesting capacity. These new-found efficiencies make complex and science-based conservation measures more necessary than ever, regardless of who’s doing the fishing.
The federal government’s department of fisheries and oceans (DFO) took the opportunity during the Congress to announce four prohibitions that all new marine protection areas are now expected to include. These are: oil and gas exploration, development and production; mineral exploration and exploitation; disposal of waste and other matter, dumping of fill, deposit of deleterious drugs and pesticides; and, mobile, bottom contact, trawl or dredge gear – trap-based fisheries such as weirs, and lobster and crab pods are excluded. Of these, recreational fishing will be impacted by the prohibition of bottom contact fishing, but that doesn’t mean trolling with the use of downriggers will be acceptable. As mentioned, these are starting points only, and other forms of fishing could be categorized as prohibited in certain MPAs, as could prohibiting fishing of any type.
One of the largest MPAs announced during the congress is an off-shore area in the north-east Pacific Ocean that lies within Canada’s territorial waters that we are just learning about. It covers 133,019 square kilometres. It’s home to extraordinary seafloor features, including more than 46 underwater mountains, known as seamounts, and all known hydrothermal vents in Canada. These deep-sea biological “hotspots” are globally rare and support deep-water species unique to this area.
Of more concern to coastal communities was an agreement announced during the Congress to protect BC’s North Coast. The agreement was made between 15 First Nations and the BC and federal Governments. It’s a blueprint for a vast network of marine protected areas across the northern third of Canada’s West Coast. The Action Plan is said to “guide joint efforts to protect our oceans and their marine wildlife and environments.” The news release also claims that the agreement, “demonstrates how collaboration between First Nations, federal and provincial governments, citizens and stakeholders can achieve resilient and healthy ecosystems that are necessary to support sustainable industries, prosperous economies and healthy communities.” But who exactly will be managing and governing these protected areas after being designated?
Once a new MPA is established it’s up to the regional governing bodies to decide what other protections are needed. This could include things like banning commercial and recreational fishing, whale watching, wind energy, etc. The groups that will serve as regional governing authorities for each new MPA determine who is eligible to carry out specific activities within the designated protected area, and what activities they are permitted to undertake.
Across Canada treaty rights, indigenous rights over land and sea, and the need for reconciliation and self-sufficiency are all now priorities. Nation-to-nation negotiations often include reassigning access rights to public and private water and land. The goals of these negotiations include how such transfers of stewardship responsibilities will rebuild biodiversity, improve conservation, and strengthen nature’s resilience to climate change. What isn’t made clear are details about how the transfer of rights over wealth generation to FN and other indigenous communities will be monitored and regulated to safeguard nature. Examples of industries that occur in territories outside urban centers where marine and terrestrial protection zones are being established include forestry, mining, oil and gas development and extraction, tourism, sport fishing and hunting, and commercial fishing and trapping. One fact is becoming clear, and that’s economically FN communities are beginning to use their newly restored rights to dig their way out of extreme poverty.
The media often rightfully report demands by FN representatives to have a seat at the table when matters are being discussed that concern their traditional lands. What seldom makes the news are calls by non-indigenous people asking to also be included in discussions about territory that is part of the fabric of their communities. Non-indigenous communities impacted are concerned that their rights and socio-economic connection to the land and water are being ignored.
There are increasingly more groups, both indigenous and not, who claim that indigenous values specific to harvesting nature’s bounty are superior to those held by non-indigenous commercial fishers and recreational anglers. The relationship between indigenous people and nature is without doubt profound and real, and the complex beliefs and practices evolved over thousands of years helped ensure their relationship with nature was sustainable. Indigenous people also learned to follow nature’s cycles and efficiently extract what was needed to survive. That didn’t mean animals weren’t extirpated such as wooly mammoths, saber tooth tigers, short nosed bears, and more recently the near collapse of beavers across Canada.
The ability for humans to destabilize ecosystems only began when technologies were developed that allowed these hunter, fishers and trappers to exponentially increase their harvesting efficiencies. Advancements in harvesting technologies continue that we all now use. The challenge is learning to limit our use of these new “powers”. Since understanding the true strength of these new tools is beyond our individual capacities to perceive entire ecosystems, we are now dependent on science to provide the feedback needed to establish limits that we all must now agree to follow.
A claim I often hear being made by indigenous representatives is that non-indigenous anglers “play with their food” when we catch and release fish for sport. In contrast, I’m told indigenous fishers only fish for food. It’s an interesting distinction, but one that doesn’t reflect the adoption by non-indigenous anglers of catch-and-release fishing as a conservation measure in the 1980’s. It’s a practice that is growing in importance as an essential aspect of modern conservation regulations that depend increasingly on slot limits to determine if a fish may or may not be harvested. Selective fishing is also now widely being used in commercial fishing such as lobster, crab, tuna and other commercial fisheries.
There are examples of ancient indigenous fishing practices that involved selective harvesting, such as the use of weirs prior to the practice being outlawed by colonial governments in the early 1900’s. Weir fishing is still practiced by commercial fishers on the Great Lakes. Like catch-and-release fishing using hook-and-line, weirs are a form of selective fishing, something that isn’t possible when using many forms of commercial netting and long-line techniques now being used by both indigenous and non-indigenous commercial fishers. Gill nets for instance kill indiscriminately, and while not permitted for use by recreational anglers, are commonly used by indigenous fishers whether for commercial, food, social or ceremonial purposes.
Spearing fish while spawning on shallow river beds is another indigenous practice that goes back centuries. It provided the only chance indigenous fishers had to harvest fish before they would return to the protection of the depths. To be fair, non-indigenous people also fish recreationally for certain species of fishes during their spawning season such as salmon and steelhead as they enter rivers to find suitable spawning beds. All this to say, both indigenous and non-indigenous fishers and anglers are evolving their fishing practices to reflect what scientists are learning about our true impact on fishes and their long term sustainability.
During the Impact5 Congress Parks Canada also issued a news release announcing 10 new national marine conservation areas with a new policy direction. These ten new NMCAs stretch along large portions of Canada’s three coastlines, and represent marine areas where the government thinks we need to enhance protections. Time will tell if indigenous leaders feel the same way. We are already beginning to witness FN communities unilaterally announcing Indigenous led Conserved and Protected Areas. Endorsing this recent development is a $800M funding commitment made by the federal government in December 2022 during the COP 15 meeting in Montreal to support the establishment of four indigenous conserved and protected areas.
The $800 million is to be used to support indigenous communities to establish ICPAs off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, a good portion of the northern end of Great Slave Lake in the NWT, parts of James Bay in northern Ontario, and areas within the Territory of Nunavut. Other than the money, it’s a commitment that will have no impact to the vast majority of Canadians who live in urban communities, but may have disastrous repercussions for non-indigenous people who live, work or operate businesses in the affected areas. It may also impact tourism since the vast majority of people who travel to these areas are interested in hunting and fishing.
As with FN communities, there are many non-indigenous people who feel that their views, values and concerns cannot be properly represented by those elected to and hired by government. That’s why consultations and negotiations are now part of most all government planning processes. Unfortunately, binational negotiations between governments and FN communities, may be exacerbating the rural/urban split growing across Canada for those left out of these discussions.
No doubt, keeping issues from becoming political is better for all concerned. It’s why the sport fishing industry association and many recreational and commercial fishing organizations are asking that discussions be opened up before the term protection is transformed from safeguarding precious natural resources, to what many now fear will create ancestry-based access barriers to what many have come to consider as shared public resources.
The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News
Ocean treaty: Historic agreement reached after decade of talks / BBC
Nations have reached a historic agreement to protect the world’s oceans following 10 years of negotiations. The High Seas Treaty aims to place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030, to safeguard and recuperate marine nature. The agreement was reached on Saturday evening, after 38 hours of talks, at UN headquarters in New York. The negotiations had been held up for years over disagreements on funding and fishing rights. The last international agreement on ocean protection was signed 40 years ago in 1982 – the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Young anglers have a new chance to catch and release IGFA World Records / IGFA
The new category adheres to strict angling rules and best handling practices, requiring young anglers to submit proper World Record documentation including measurements, photographs, and releasing their catch. “By introducing the All-Tackle Length Junior Category, we hope to inspire the next generation of anglers to get out and fish, while promoting ethical and sustainable fishing practices,” said IGFA President Jason Schratwieser. “Fishing is a fantastic way to connect with the outdoors, and we believe that by engaging young people with this sport, we can inspire the next generation of stewards of our oceans, lakes, and rivers and help ensure the long-term health and vitality of our aquatic resources.
Just 6 corporations control over a quarter of B.C. fishing licences, new research reveals / West Coast Now
Just six corporations controlled 26 per cent of all B.C. fishing licences in 2019, according to research presented at Fisheries for Communities Conference.
Halibut treaty marked new era in Canadian independence / Victoria Times Colonist
The Halibut Treaty of 1923 is the first environmental treaty designed to conserve ocean stocks of a fish, and Canada insisted on signing it with the U.S. without Britain’s ratification.”
B.C. fish harvesters to feds: stop selling out coastal communities to foreign money / West Coast Now
B.C. fish harvesters urge Canada to stop favouring foreign investors to prevent local exclusion from the industry.
The North American Master Angler is Starting Soon / Fish Donkey
34 Species and it runs from March 1 to October 31. If you like to catch a variety of fish, this is the contest for you. It could take as many as 14 species to win. Last year it took 10. This year Fish Donkey added 11 new species for a total of 34.
Northern Pike- It’s What’s for Dinner / FishingWire
It is shocking how many people have not tried eating Northern Pike. Many anglers avoid eating these fish partly due to all the bones and the hassle of cleaning them. You may have heard fishermen refer to them as slimers or snot rockets, but despite the names given to these fish, they are delicious. Not only are they delicious, but they are a blast to catch. Pike are aggressive feeders, fight hard, and can grow to enormous sizes. In many lakes, they are abundant, and the need to harvest them in some lakes is crucial. Learning how to clean and eat this species can help sustain healthy lakes.
Halibut is a rare success story among B.C. fisheries, and harvesters want to keep it that way / West Coast Now
B.C.’s halibut stocks remain healthy due to meticulous management by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the IPHC since 1923.
Fish spawning site at Maurice Creek finished / Energetic City
The fish spawning shoal at Maurice Creek, as part of the Site C dam project, is now complete.
A precautionary decision / National Observer
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray talks about the science behind her long awaited and controversial decision to close fish farms in the Discovery Islands of British Columbia.
In support of removing open net-pen salmon farms from B.C. waters / Seafood Source
“The entire west coast commercial salmon fishing fleet and the union which represents the shoreworkers, tendermen, and fishermen have come together in support of removal of open net-pen salmon farms from the waters of British Columbia, Canada.”
How the science behind salmon farms and sea lice became so contentious / CBC
A federal decision to shut down 15 open-net Atlantic salmon farms around B.C.’s Discovery Islands is being lauded as a win for protecting wild salmon, and a significant blow to the fish-farm industry — all while reigniting a decades-old debate.
Feds announce $12.5M to prevent invasive aquatic species getting into Great Lakes / CBC
The money will fund research into better ballast water management systems tailored specifically to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, help ensure the implementation of new ballast water regulations, allow government to get a better knowledge of ballast management and inform the federal government when in discussions about international rules and environmental protections.
In Cod’s Shadow, Redfish Rise / Hakai
In the North Atlantic, the trajectory following fisheries collapse has not been forgiving. Even decades after overfishing drove seemingly inexhaustible species like Atlantic cod off a precipice, many populations—most notably, of Atlantic cod—have remained stubbornly low. But in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence, an exception to the rule is emerging from the depths. Redfish—a deep-dwelling species found in the western Atlantic from Baffin Island to New Jersey—is an unlikely hero: a scarlet groundfish the length of a bulldog sporting a faintly outraged expression and a line of spines sharp enough to draw blood. More to the point: aside from readers of Dr. Seuss, who’s even heard of a redfish?
2 killer whales slaughter 17 sharks in 1 day / EarthSky
A killer whale’s diet normally consists of seals, squid, fish and so forth. Humans are not on the list, although now it appears that sharks are. Time and again, the washed-up carcasses of the sharks shows that the killer whales are just targeting the sharks’ livers. The killer whales are biting the sharks between their pectoral fins, yanking out the livers and leaving behind the other organs. The killer whales must have learned at some point where to find this tasty meal and remembered it, because they leave behind no bite marks on other parts of the sharks’ bodies. But why the liver? Livers in sharks are large: They account for up to a third of a shark’s body weight. And, they’re rich in fat, packed with nutrients the whales need.
Alexandra Morton on New Hopes for ‘Fat and Sassy’ Salmon / Tyee
The DFO recently announced it would not renew 15 open-net pen Atlantic salmon fish farms in the Discovery Islands, a key migration route for B.C.’s wild salmon. Discovery Islands are very important, but the reason they’re being treated separately goes back to 2010 when the Cohen Commission into the decline of the Fraser sockeye was called. [Cohen’s] mandate to look at what happened to the Fraser River sockeye reduced his focus on the coast to places where those fish migrate. The reason why the Discovery Islands are so important to the Fraser River sockeye is that when they first leave the river, the majority of those fish migrate north. They’re in a very stressful stage of their life, which is entering saltwater. Anything that happens to them in those first couple hundred kilometres is incredibly important to the outcome of the survival of these fish.
Can the Northern California Summer Steelhead Be Saved in Time? / Sierra Club
Researchers have come to dire conclusions about California’s native fish: Almost half the salmonids are likely to be extinct in the next 50 years, including over half of anadromous species—fish that migrate up freshwater rivers from the ocean to spawn. This is according to the State of the Salmonids II report, which reviewed the status of California’s 32 salmon, trout, and steelhead fish species.
Canada needs to pick up the pace of ocean conservation / Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail’s Editorial Board writes about the need for Ottawa to double the proportion of marine protected areas by 2030.
2023 Great Lakes Ice Cover / News Week
2023 is setting record-low levels of ice cover on the Great Lakes. This link provides satellite images comparing current and past ice cover.
Ontario’s Bill 23 Implementation and what it means for protecting water quality in lakes and rivers / Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
As of January 1, municipalities can no longer seek advice from conservation authorities (CAs) to determine if planning applications may impact water quality in local lakes and rivers. Planning applications will still be circulated to CAs to get important advice on impacts to flooding, erosion, wetlands and unstable soils (known as natural hazards) but, provincial regulations now prohibit CAs from providing additional advice on ecological impacts to the watershed, even if requested by municipalities. CAs are working with municipalities and applicants to help them transition, and moving forward, CAs will continue to work with individuals, developers and municipalities to assess natural hazard risks and how to mitigate them. To learn more about these new regulations and CAs responsibilities visit: https://www.rvca.ca/
Great Lakes Commission releases report on usage of Great Lakes waters / GLC
According to a new GLC report, 37.5 billion gallons of water per day were withdrawn from the Great Lakes basin in 2021, about a 1% decrease from 2020 withdrawals. Only 5% of the total reported water withdrawn was consumed or otherwise lost from the basin. Considering both consumptive use and diversions, the Great Lakes basin gained a total of 156 million gallons of water per day in 2021.
Great Lakes Commission releases action plan on climate resiliency / GLC
The GLC released an action plan to guide the region’s efforts to make the Great Lakes more resilient to the effects of climate change. The Action Plan for a Resilient Great Lakes Basin helps to prioritize regional efforts and forms a roadmap to advance climate resilience in the Great Lakes.
AFGA wants Ottawa to recognize its efforts to promote land conservation / Outdoor Canada
As Canada determines how to fulfill the commitments it made at last December’s UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal, the Alberta Fish and Game Association wants Ottawa to recognize what the association is already doing to promote land conservation.
Microplastic pollution — how worried should we be? / Great Lakes Now
There are enough microplastic particles at the bottom of the #GreatLakes that they are becoming a permanent part of the sedimentary layer. According to the United States Geological Survey, there are 112,000 particles of microplastics per square mile of Great Lakes water. Scientists have found these tiny bits of plastic all over the world — even in mosquitoes’ bellies. Much of the contamination can be chalked up to the fact that we recycle only 9 percent of plastic waste. Of the remainder, about 12 percent is incinerated and 79 percent accumulates in landfills or the natural environment, including our lakes. “They’ll be a marker on the sedimentary horizon. We’ll be known as that horrible group of humans who did this.”
Toilet paper a source of toxic PFAS in wastewater / Healthline Media
Does toilet paper add cancer-causing PFAS to our wastewater? For one specific type of PFAS, toilet paper contributes about 4% of it to sewage in the United States and Canada, and up to 89% in France.
B.C. First Nation orders Trans Mountain to stop work on their land / Parksville Qualicum Beach News
Katzie First Nation claims work at two sites is being done without proper notice or consultation.
Looking Ahead and Planning for Future Successes / Destination Northern Ontario
Looking back at the past couple of years, we can see that tourism has been hit the hardest and will take longer to recover than any other industry. This year, together with our industry partners, Destination Northern Ontario looks forward to the future of tourism in Northern Ontario as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to the 150 tourism representatives on various product teams and our partners that guide the development and enhancement of Northern Ontario tourism products and experiences in specific “best bet” product areas as well as a strong research program to support product development opportunities in the region.
The 2023 Ottawa Boat and Outdoors Show A Resounding Success / Master Promotions Ltd
Ottawa had its first taste of summer as the 2023 Ottawa Boat and Outdoors Show took over the EY Centre. A full 4 days of recreational fun was had from February 23-26 where a record-breaking number of attendees prepared for their summer adventures. The 2023 edition welcomed the largest crowd in the history of the event with over 10,000 people in attendance over the weekend. “We couldn’t have asked for a better return to the show floor.” said Scott Sprague, Event Manager. Highlights from this year’s edition included fishing experts sharing advice in front of the casting pond, an “Everything You Wanted to Know About Fishing” educational showcase and much more over the course of the event – from kid’s fishing lessons to model boat displays.
Proposed Lifejacket Regulations: Public Comment Period / FOCA
At the most recent Ontario Recreational Boating Advisory Committee meeting, Transport Canada announced that by April 2023 they will begin seeking public opinion on the proposal for mandatory wearing of PFDs (personal flotation devices) on recreational boats. The public review will take place through the Let’s Talk Transportation website. This update was circulated this week by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
“Tales of the Great Outdoors” by Paul Michael White
Paul Michael White is a professional speaker, mental health counselor, teacher, and an avid fly-fisher. He learned many of life’s most important lessons from his mentor, Skipper Mike Bruce, who introduced him to fly-fishing while modeling the keys to being a better and more successful person. Paul is the author of “Fishing for Reality” as well as a contributor to his new book from Newfoundland and Labrador, “Tales of the Great Outdoors.”
Canadian Fishing Network Live Coverage of Outdoor Shows and MPAs on Blue Fish Radio!
On The Blue Fish Radio Show Lawrence Gunther and Scottie Martin talk about the spring outdoor show season and concerns being voiced by the Canadian Sport Fishing Industry Association over potential angler access issues that could result from the many new marine protection areas being proposed for Canada on Canadian Fishing Network Live February 20 2023!
Angling Ethics and Aquatic Exotics / Into the Outdoors
You can’t wish them away. Fact of the matter is that most invasive aquatic species are here to stay. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help slow the spread. In this educational video from Into the Outdoors Education Network, our young sleuths get an education about stopping the spread of aquatic invasive plants.
Coastal GasLink – System Failure / Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition
The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition presents a video detailing the lack of sediment control at Coastal GasLink river crossing construction sites in the Skeena.
Special Guest Feature – Canadian bass fishing expert “Big Jim” McLaughlin honored with Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Board’s Meritorious Service Award / BASS Masters
Established in 2018, the Hall’s Meritorious Service Award gives proper and well-deserved recognition to an individual or organization for their significant contributions within specific areas to bass fishing. McLaughlin, known throughout the Canadian bass fishing scene as ‘Big Jim’, was once one of the most feared and successful competitive anglers in Canada, as well as its first Pro Bass Classic winner and the first two-time Pro Bass Classic winner. He continues to be a headline presenter at major fishing expos in Ottawa and Toronto, along with handling emcee duties at various bass fishing tournaments across Ontario. In addition to his angling skills, McLaughlin has always had a knack for introducing youngsters to fishing and helping their parents understand the sport and how to make it a family activity. Over the past 25 years, he’s given many kids their first taste of fishing by hosting the Jackpot Casting Pond at the annual Ottawa Boat and Outdoor Show. Over his career, he’s been a driving force behind growing tournament bass fishing in Canada and has inspired many to establish careers in the sport as both professional anglers and in other areas within the industry. “While Big Jim’s incredible tournament accomplishments are what most bass anglers in Canada would point out, it’s his relentless and tireless work promoting bass fishing that really overshadows all his tournament success,” said noted bass fishing TV celebrity Dave Mercer. “There’s a Greek proverb that says, ‘a society grows great when men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in’ and Big Jim is doing that by physically introducing more anglers to fishing at tournaments, outdoor expos, kid’s events, or often a random lake side meeting, than any other Canadian.”
“On behalf of the BFHOF Board, we can’t thank Big Jim enough for what he has done for bass fishing and the tournament scene throughout Ontario over the years,” said Board president John Mazurkiewicz. “It’s a pleasure recognizing him for what he does to celebrate, promote and preserve the sport of bass fishing.”
Many BFHOF inductees, the Hall’s Board, leaders from the bass fishing industry, pro anglers and special invited guests will be in attendance at the annual HOF reception at the Bassmaster Classic where McLaughlin will officially be honored with his BFHOF Meritorious Service Award.
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