Blue Fish News – May 10, 2021
In the May 10, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we explore the three big changes that shifted industry expectations of their pro staff. Catch up on the latest fishing, fish, water and other news. We close with a spotlight guest resource chosen to inform and inspire.
This Week’s Feature – Three Factors Fueling the Evolution of Pro Staff and Influencers
Three significant developments are changing how anglers are now expected to represent the sport of angling. In addition to supporting the fishing industry, anglers looking to become pro staff must also now do more to attract others to the sport, and mentor both new and experienced anglers to adopt a stronger conservation mind-set. The three events precipitating these changes are the emergence of the internet and social media, baby boomers aging out of the sport, and scientific research that makes clear that more is needed to protect our fisheries, fish habitat, and ecosystems as a whole. Combined, it’s dramatically reshaping the role of pro staff, and has ushered in a new role for fishing ambassadors as social media influencers.
It wasn’t that long ago that the mission of professional anglers sponsored by the industry included displaying the brand names of fishing and boating companies at angling events like tournaments. As much as possible, their mission was to gain exposure to their sponsors’ logos over mainstream media. For anglers and the brands they represent, it meant becoming adept at positioning logos on pro staff clothing, hats, boats, and trucks, with the hopes that these images would somehow make it on to the news. However, securing free access to viewers, listeners and readers through mainstream TV, radio, newspapers and magazines isn’t easy. The media industry depends on paid adds to survive, and unless there is a compelling reason to cover an angling event, the producers of the news aren’t interested in giving add space away for free.
To gain exposure for fishing and the brands that make it possible, beginning in the 1980’s, hundreds of heavily sponsored fishing shows began airing on TV. A raft of magazines were also launched that focused on promoting sport fishing that featured star anglers and the brands they represent. The value of these marketing strategies have since dropped significantly due to the internet.
Before the internet turned marketing on its head, outdoor shows use to be one of the few ways eager anglers were able to learn of the latest innovations in the fishing and boating world. Fishing and boating magazines, and catalogs received in the mail, were also coveted and kept as close to hand as the phone book or yellow pages. Fishing shows on TV personified success as their stars demonstrated how to get the most out of the latest fishing innovations. Thanks to the web, anglers need no longer wait for the spring outdoor show season, for articles to be written and printed, and for TV shows to be filmed, edited and broadcast.
The web and social media have made accessing a much larger and more diverse audience possible. The relevance of outdoor shows, magazines, TV, radio, stores, and even the role of pro staff, were all reassessed by industry in light of this new outreach opportunity.
Not to be out done, fishing competitions have embraced the web. Many now relay and archive thousands of hours of video showcasing individual competitors on their boats. Spectators and fans can watch, for the first time, their favorite anglers during actual competitions. Everyone can now see exactly who’s skills are given a competitive advantage through the branded tools made available through the sponsorship of the best-of-the-best.
Industry insider Angie Thompson is the first to admit that competitive fishing is a fan-favorite for about 20% of people who fish at most. It’s important, but the brand affiliations don’t necessarily cross over to the 80% of anglers who pay little to no attention to competitive fishing. Angie believes the reason the industry has pivoted so quickly to embrace the internet and its many popular influencers, is because the web gives industry access to this massive segment of the market that for too long has been difficult and expensive to reach. You can listen to my conversation with Angie, host of the “Fishing Business Podcast”, on this episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e334-the-fishing-business-and-angie-thom
While all these internet-related changes continue to ripple throughout society, another similarly epic shift is afoot that is reshaping how fishing is perceived and embraced. Environmentalists and scientists have convinced the public, who have in turn elected politicians – most all of whom now rank addressing climate change and our impacts on nature as priority issues.
Conservation efforts of the past 150 years are beginning to reveal weakness in the face of new challenges impacting nature. Issues include climate change, habitat loss, over exploitation, and a whole new wave of pollutants in the form of plastics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. No longer can industry focus solely on the mental, physical and social benefits of fishing, it also now needs to inform and inspire their millions of practitioners to become stewards of their resource.
Yup, lots has changed in the past couple decades. Turns out the new millennia ushered in just as big a seismic shift as the industrial revolution. So where does all this leave those new internet angling influencers seeking to distinguish themselves from the rest? Who’s influencing the influencers? What about the thousands of tournament pros and hundreds of fishing show hosts? But before we go deeper on answering these questions, we first need to address the third impactful element, retention and recruitment — anglers are “aging out”.
North America is unique to the phenomena called the baby boom. These include anglers who shunned their parents and grandparents cane poles and cedar strip boats, in favor of modular constructed fishing rods and boats formed from fiberglass and aluminum. Companies like Shimano revolutionized fishing with their reels, rods, lures, lines and baits manufactured using the latest industrial processes and formulas. Sophisticated electronic equipment has turned anglers into captains of highly specialized vessels that share much of the same technologies found aboard luxury cruise ships.
Unfortunately for the fishing and boating industry, and for those in the tourism sector, boomers are now leaving the sport. A new report released by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation revealed that an additional 8.8 million U.S. anglers 55 and older dropped out of the sport in 2020, continuing a very worrying three-year trend. Reasons for leaving include lack of time, cost, interest in other outdoor activities and lack of access to waters as the main reasons.
We also know that about 40% of people between the age of 65 and 75 suffer from knee and back pain and immobilization that can make fishing more challenging. Those over 75 are further encumbered by reductions in their ability to see and hear. As these seasoned anglers are forced to step away from the sport, insufficient new recruits mean the total number of anglers in North America has been coming down.
So who are the next generation of anglers? For sure they include carbon copies of those 20% of people who fish competitively. People who “pay to play”. It also includes those who the industry still refer to as “weekend warriors”. Anglers who gravitate towards 16-foot aluminum boats equipped with windshields, and outboards that can be started with a key and turned with a wheel. Boats, that in a pinch, can tow a child on a tube, but for the most part, are designed primarily for fishing. However, there’s another segment of new recruits that the industry has yet to define.
The recent RBFF report on angler participation referenced earlier included some good news as well. It revealed that five million people new to angling tried fishing in the U.S. in 2020. Turns out these new anglers are made up primarily of youth, women, and people of diverse backgrounds who live in urban areas.
People drawn to angling recognize that fishing is not only a legitimate way to get outdoors, but a continuation of a truly historic activity that speaks to our hard-wired dispositions to harvest fish to feed our families and communities. Many are turning to indigenous communities for guidance on how to reincorporate fishing into their lives in ways that acknowledges and celebrates their own historic and cultural ties to fishing. It’s also part of the growing interest in foraging for flora and fauna.
More generally, the desire to reconnect with nature through fishing is an expression of their growing awareness of conservation movements meant to ensure all forms of life can survive and thrive. Organizations like Canada’s Earth Rangers and their 350,000 youth can now access Blue Fish Canada sustainable fishing tips through the new Earth Ranger App being downloaded by their parents.
In response to this growing awareness that the environment is changing, anglers of all ages are taking direct action to ensure their go-to activity is sustainable. This includes donating their time and funds in support of conservation initiatives at record levels, and directly participating in citizen science and research projects. Anglers are rising up once again to become the defenders of not only the sport, but the health of the natural environment upon which it depends.
Anglers understand all too well that their relationship with nature is a two-way street – both depend on the other for their wellbeing. And yet, industry has not stopped promoting the excitement of the sport of angling, nor should it. No one is going to pursue an activity throughout their life that doesn’t bring pleasure.
In recognition of the sports evolution, industry is supporting a new breed of influencers who are teaching people not only how to have fun fishing, but to engage in the sport in ways that are fun, inclusive, and sustainable. Influencers like Angie Scott of the Woman Angler and Outdoor Adventurer podcast are building huge audiences. Angie is one of many who have followers eager to learn from trusted sources on how to make angling a part of their life in ways that they can enjoy and defend to their non-angling friends. Influencers like Angie do more than display the logos of the companies that are invested in their success, they produce and share informative content that directly speaks to the desires of their followers. Link below to hear my interview with Angie Scott on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/woman-angler-and-adventurer-angie-scott/
To become a better-informed angler, and to embrace the sport of fishing in ways that will allow you to hold your head high knowing that you’re also serving as a steward of the environment, check out the free resources made available through the charity Blue Fish Canada. All the information and training materials we distribute are fact-checked by our expert scientists and angler advisors. Also, if your one of those many millions of people who are experiencing some form of loss of function that you worry may bring an end to your outdoor pursuits, or maybe a business who wants to ensure that the accessibility and accommodation requirements of your customers are being addressed, Blue Fish Canada has resources that can assist in this as well. Find out more by visiting: www.BlueFishCanada.ca
Or by visiting our new YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChyOTm97FTAlvx2Wp8DRgSA
The Latest Fishing, fish Health and Water Quality News
Canadian Fishing Network Fish Off / CFN
The CFN Fish Off is more than just a television show. It is a nationwide community builder and education platform for anglers of all ages and walks of life. Teams composed of parents, kids, weekend warriors, and outdoor enthusiasts from coast to coast are able to compete in Canada’s largest online fishing tournament hosted on Facebook. Contestants across Canada can earn a spot on the CFN Fish Off TV show that airs on two of North America’s largest outdoor networks: The Sportsman Channel (Canada) and the World Fishing Network (U.S.A.). Register your team today!
Musky Symposium / YouTube
Musky Trader Canada and Ottawa River Musky Factory Joined forces to host a two-day musky symposium. The event raised over $27,000 to support research and programs that develop and protect the musky fishery across North America. The Symposium included educational seminars and access to the hottest new musky lures and tackle.
Catch–Photo–Release Tournaments on The Rise / Fishing Wire
It’s the start of fishing tournament season, and tournament organizers are reminded that an immediate release method, known as catch-photo-release, can be used for competitive fishing events.
Lake Superior Anglers Asked to Report Marked Splake / The Fishing Wire
Splake, which are a hybrid cross between lake trout and brook trout, have been stocked in Lake Superior most years since 1971. Anyone catching a splake should inspect it for missing fins or a jaw-bone clip, which indicate it has been marked and report it to Michigan DNR.
RBFF report: New anglers in USA are younger, urban and from more diverse backgrounds / Angling International
A new report from the Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation (RBFF), reveals that 55 million Americans, aged six and over, went fishing in 2020. The 10% rise is largely due to more than five million new and returning anglers made up of youth, women and diverse audiences who live in urban areas. However, lapsed anglers remain a problem, according to the report, with 8.8 million anglers over 55 dropping out in 2020. It’s a continuation of a troubling three-year trend among this demographic who say that lack of time, cost, interest in other outdoor activities and lack of access to waters are the main reasons.
How Jellyfish Swim / EarthSky
There’s something otherworldly about jellyfish. They’re mesmerizing to watch, as they gracefully drift and gently pulse through the water, with tentacles wafting behind their bells. But don’t be fooled by their slow motion; jellyfish are expert swimmers. In fact, a new study reports that some jellies are the most efficient swimmers in the world.
Lake of the Woods Walleye Population in Danger / The Graphic Leader
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has revealed that the Lake of the Woods walleye population is in danger and that its current fisheries are not sustainable, spelling serious trouble for the local economy.
The revelation follows a province-wide risk assessment done by the MNRF between 2015-2017, showing that Lake of the Woods is the most at-risk inland fishery in Ontario, both in terms of “likelihood of collapse” and the resulting social and economic impacts that will follow. Out of over 40 lakes surveyed across the province, Lake of the Woods was the only one to clearly fall into the danger zone of the MNRF’s risk assessment.
Angler Input Sought on Ocean Fisheries / The Fishing Wire
The Open Ocean Trustee agencies’ fish restoration experts are asking for your input at a May 13 webinar. Through a number of avenues, we’ve been soliciting stakeholders to identify objectives and priorities that will guide future restoration, monitoring, and evaluation for fish and water column invertebrates.
Volunteer Opportunity – Smallmouth Eradication / ASAF
The Working Group on Smallmouth Bass Eradication in the Miramichi is seeking volunteers to join our operation in August and September. Permits are pending, but we have to start assembling the team. A wide variety of tasks with a range of physical requirements are available.
4 wildlife restoration programs that have actually worked / Chatelaine
Biologist Alexandra Morton speaks about her 30-year campaign to save wild salmon. “After all my research and activism, the only thing that worked was physically putting my body in the way and joining a First Nations occupation of a salmon farm for 280 days. That brought First Nations and the government to the table. The act of occupying, of just standing there and being honorable, peaceful but absolutely immovable—people have used it for centuries and it is incredibly powerful.”
Sea Lice Decimating Atlantic salmon / Halifax Examiner
A recent study is raising alarm bells about the effects of sea lice on wild Atlantic salmon, an issue that is being compounded by climate change.
NL Government Aims to Expand Open Net-Pen Aquaculture on Newfoundland’s South Coast / ASF
The Newfoundland / Labrador government plans to expand salmon aquaculture into an area where wild Atlantic salmon have so far been less impacted by the industry.
Cut Off from the Ocean by a Volcanic Eruption, These Fish Had to Learn to Live in a Lake / Hakai Magazine
For the past 300 years, a small population of Arctic char has been eking out an existence in a remote lake. Only a handful of the char grow big enough to become cannibals. Meanwhile, they continue reproducing at a high enough rate to sustain their population.
Musky Mortality Research Project / Fishing Wire
The study will help determine whether Muskellunge catch-and-release angling during the summer poses a significant source of mortality in southern populations. Studies are concurrently taking place in the James River (VA) and Stonewall Jackson Lake (WV), as well as in a hatchery pond setting.
Higher sockeye returns predicted for Fraser River but not enough for a harvest / Times Colonist
Sockeye salmon returns to the Fraser River are forecast at 1.3 million this year — higher than the past two disastrous seasons, but still so low that fishing opportunities are not anticipated.
Organizer of convoy that churned through Fraser River fish habitat served warning letter / Abbotsford News
Organizers of the truck event were co-operative throughout the investigation, the officer added, and have been actively advocating for protecting fish and fish habitat across North America since the video became a cause of concern a few months ago.
New U.S. Bill Would Help Fish and Wildlife Recover / Fishing Wire
New U.S. proposed federal legislation would dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement congressionally mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, and dedicate an additional $97.5 million for conservation led by Tribal fish and wildlife agencies
Canada’s troubled waters / University Affairs
Not only is it a myth that Canada has an abundance of readily accessible water, say researchers, but we’re poorly managing what we do have. “Every community and province needs a drought plan – how they will deal with water shortages to maintain supplies to priority users and how they will apportion water when it runs short.”
United Nations Decade of Ocean Science / Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is now underway. Ocean science is broad and inclusive: it’s not just the blue ocean, but also the coastal communities. It embraces local and Indigenous knowledge alongside natural and social science.
Newfoundland / Labrador Broke the Rules by Allowing ATV Trail in Main River Area / ASF
The Main River was set aside a generation ago for its significant wilderness value, including old growth forest and Atlantic salmon. The government allowed an ATV trail to be built without environmental assessment and against the rules of the wilderness area’s creation.
Nova Scotia Government Silent on Protecting Archibald Lake / ASF
Protection of Archibald Lake as a wilderness area is important, especially for the restoration of wild Atlantic salmon in the St. Mary’s River watershed. Despite extensive consultation, the government won’t commit.
State of the Great Lakes Report / Fishing Wire
Among the topics examined are preventing the introduction of Asian carp, coping with high water levels, addressing nutrients and harmful algal blooms, the threat that climate change poses to lakes and other water resources, and local and regional long-term resiliency initiatives for coastal community planning to increase community resiliency and sustainability.
Copper Mountain mine tailings pond proposal sparks widespread concern / The Narwhal
The expansion could increase the height of a dam holding back mining waste to 255 metres — taller than Vancouver’s highest skyscraper — without requiring an environmental assessment.
As waste leaches from B.C. coal mines, experts worry rules will fall short / The Narwhal
Teck’s coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley are poised to be exempt from more stringent federal rules as selenium pollution continues to leach from waste rock piles.
Nine derelict vessels to be removed from Ucluelet Inlet as part of massive $2.5M cleanup effort / Port Alberni Valley News
The Coastal Restoration Society has received $2.5 million from the provincial government’s Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund to tackle debris strewn across roughly 400 kilometres of shoreline, including the removal of nine derelict vessels from Ucluelet Inlet.
Mi’kmaw research group learns more about salmon life cycle using tracking devices / CBC News
A Mi’kmaq-led research organization is fitting Atlantic salmon with acoustic and satellite tracking devices to learn about their behaviour and survival in waters beyond the traditional territory.
Gitxsan Nation extends ban for non-Indigenous fishing permit holders across their territory / Smithers Interior News
Gitxsan chiefs say they are extending a ban on sportfishing on their traditional territories in northwestern B.C. in response to the provincial government backing away, after two years, of discussions on the future of the fishery on the Skeena River system. They say permits issued by the provincial government hold no authority unless permission is first received from hereditary chiefs.
Treaty rights at centre of trial of 4 Mi’kmaw fishermen set to begin next month / CBC News
The trial of four Mi’kmaw fishermen accused of illegal fishing in September 2019 will begin next month in Nova Scotia provincial court.
The Invisible Salmon Migration / SkeenaWild
Join the Lake Babine Nation Fisheries on Monday, May 17th on Facebook Live as they say goodbye to the Babine Lake sockeye smolts at the 6th annual, but first ever virtual Invisible Migration event. Every spring, hundreds of millions of tiny wild salmon smolts begin an incredible journey. These young fish swim as far as 600 km down the Skeena River to the sanctuary of the Skeena’s saltwater estuary. It’s in the estuary that they transform from being a freshwater fish to a saltwater fish and learn to adapt to tidal flows.
New Brunswick Government Helps Outfitters Hurt by Covid-19 / ASF
The province has committed $500K to assist outfitters, such as salmon lodges, that have been affected by travel restrictions and other issues caused by the pandemic
Sportfishing Industry Praises Recovering America’s Wildlife Act introduced in the U.S. Congress / NPAA
On Earth Day an unprecedented alliance of business, academic, tribal and conservation leaders have united to provide a solution to one of America’s greatest threats – the decline of our fish and wildlife and their natural habitats. Scientists estimate that one-third of fish and wildlife species in the United States are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without much needed funding for their proactive conservation. Healthy, sustainable fish and wildlife populations drive many sectors of our economy, especially the $788 billion U.S. outdoor recreation industry.
Tips on Pontoon Boat Handling / The Fishing Wire
The benefits of pontoon boat design—an expansive deck and outstanding stability—also affect how a pontoon handles. That performance is very different from the way a monohull boat behaves and requires some awareness from the captain, especially from a skipper used to piloting a monohull. Consider these factors when learning how to drive a pontoon boat.
Huk Features Exciting New Designs with Artist K.C. Scott / The Fishing Wire
Scott built his successful brand and studio in Florida, and he continues to create world-class artwork with incredible consistency. His work is often centered around marine environments, but he crosses between freshwater and saltwater ecosystems with a wide range of species. His work is known for placing viewers right in the action. Huk’s K.C. Scott designs will outfit an angler from head to toe and features nearly 30 exclusive products.
Fly-fishing with the author of “The Optimist” / New Yorker
David Coggins book on fly-fishing, “The Optimist” was released by Scribner. David has fished all over B.C.
Special Feature: Recreational Fishing Industry Renews Its Pledge to Help Anglers Keep Our Fish and Waterways Clean and Healthy / NPAA
This year, the sport fishing industry, along with member supporters, professional anglers and others are focusing on retention techniques that help those soft baits stay in place longer and out of our waterways. And when no longer useful, placing them in a receptacle for proper disposal once the day’s fishing is over or saving them for recycling into new soft lures.
Techniques for keeping the bait firmly attached aren’t complicated. Using retention tools like O-rings, a superglue and other techniques, as well as tying strong knots and using fresh line free of abrasions, all help to ensure nothing is left behind. Keeping the boat clean by corralling used baits and line means they stay in the boat when taking off at speed.
“The best way to care for a fishery is to leave it cleaner than before you fish it,” said B.A.S.S. Elite Series angler and Missile Baits Owner John Crews. “I always keep and discard my plastics and any line or lures I may snag while fishing.”
“As a hard-core angler and avid outdoorsman, it’s important for me to help do my part to keep the environment clean and provide clean waters for the next generation,” noted Mike Iaconelli, Professional Angler and Founder of The Bass University. “Join me in doing this by keeping your old soft baits and fishing line out of the water…”
Blue Fish Canada has developed a number of quick-reference resources that you can use to educate others about the importance of keeping the environment free of discarded and potentially harmful fishing tackle. Our Fishing Tackle Recycler initiative focusses on keeping urban shore fishing locations clean of discarded line, lures, and other terminal tackle such as lead weights and hooks.
Link here to Learn more about our many sustainable recreational fishing programs.
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