Year-End Review 2021
As the President of Blue Fish Canada, I witnessed first-hand just how much the pandemic has accelerated the shift to on-line communications and program delivery. Blue Fish Canada has never been busier. Still, getting people outside and connecting with nature through fishing is more important than ever, as is ensuring access opportunities and fish health. To this end, Blue Fish Canada remains focused on giving voice to key angler stakeholders including angler advocates, fishery researchers, conservationists and key public fishery influencers. Communication channels include podcasts, articles and blogs, videos, seminars, TV and social media. At the same time, we are working tirelessly to ensure our programs continue to inspire and inform anglers to become stewards of their waters and fisheries. In all this I’m proud to be able to count on the support of countless volunteers, partners and supporters.
Our Podcasts continue to grow in popularity. The Blue Fish Radio Show has now released 340 episodes since first going live in 2013. It remains Canada’s premier fishing and conservation podcast, and has strong listener numbers in many countries. Our second podcast “Outdoors with Lawrence Gunther” launched in September 2000 and is also ranking extremely high. The focus of this podcast is to inform and inspire youth to connect with nature through fishing and other outdoor activities. Thirty-eight episodes have been released to date and also air 7-times each week over cable TV on AMI Audio.
Social Media includes Blue Fish News, Blue Fish Canada, Blind Fishing Boat, Feel the Bite, Lake2Plate, and What Lies Below. Facebook and Twitter accounts are active and together account for 5-8 original posts each week.
YouTube was strengthened this year by bringing all video content under one channel branded as Blue Fish Canada. The launch of the documentary “What Lies Below” on YouTube generated over 7,000 views to date. A new Lake2Plate episode was filmed and released, and another three are in the works.
Seminars include 20-minute live segments each Monday on Canadian Fishing Network’s Facebook channel. Another two-dozen presentations have been provided live over platforms such as Google Meet, Zoom, MS Teams, Discord, etc.
TV exposure includes 26 live 12-minute segments on AMI TV’s “Now with Dave Brown”. The topic is conservation.
Outdoor Shows were all online over the past 12 months. We participated in three outdoor shows and one cottage show. Our video presentations were well received and were utilized by show managers for marketing.
Youth Outreach included supporting a number of family-run campground fishing derbies and three-weeks of urban youth summer school programming during which we directly participated. Our fish ID cards, stewardship kits and shoreline clean-up kits remain popular.
Conservation Measures include our leading the Great Lakes Fish Health Network, chairing a panel of presenters at the River Institute Science Symposium and presenting at their Community Science Day, giving the keynote address at the Save The River AGM, and participating in over-30 webinars focused on fish health.
The Blue Fish biweekly newsletter now goes out to over 5,000 email recipients and has an open rate of 35% within 24 hours. It’s also uploaded to the Blue Fish Canada website and shared over social media. The audience includes anglers, scientists and change-makers across Canada.
Collaborations involved fishing and conservation groups across Canada, and focused on fish health, impacts on human health and economic sustainability, and public fishery access and opportunity. Collaborators also include organizations interested in improving the sustainability of their fishing related tourism activities.
As the federal government moves to protect 30% of our land and waters by the year 2030 and increases support for the “land back” movement intended to address outstanding First Nations land claims by establishing “Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas”, engagement and collaboration are more important than ever. Climate change mitigation and resilience are also powerful drivers affecting how decision makers view nature. Blue Fish Canada is informing, engaging and giving voice to stakeholders through mediums such as the biweekly Blue Fish News, podcasts, articles, seminars, webinars and video. Direct participation remains an outstanding goal.
The Blue Fish Canada charity continues to inspire and inform the next generation of conservation minded anglers. Our Youth Training Program, Stewardship Guides and Toolkits, campaigns and programs, are all combining to maximize reach to Canadians each year. Supporting tourism related businesses through Blue Fish Certification showcases the best Canada has to offer. Our numerous volunteers are working hard to ensure angling access and opportunity, and the future sustainability of fishing.
In conclusion, while the year is still one dominated by Covid-19 related restrictions, we are working alongside anglers and biologists to figure out ways to establish a new normal. We are proud to be one of those organizations leading the way as we live with this invisible health risk. While many may pine for days-of-old, there are a whole new legion of anglers looking to redefine fishing in ways that ensure sustainable best practices in how we release and harvest fish.
Last, I want to thank all of you for your many volunteer hours and generous support. Blue Fish Canada has become a leader in Canada on advancing the important role angling plays in connecting people to nature in sustainable and meaningful ways.