I hope that you, your loved ones and your colleagues are well. We are living in unprecedented times. As an industry, I believe we need to support the war against COVID-19 and abide by our governments’ and health officials’ instructions to “Stay Home” in order to flatten the curve. The sooner this ends, the sooner we can rebound to a normal routine and a stable economy.
Some provinces and municipalities have temporarily closed access to popular shoreline fishing areas, parks and boat launches. Parks Canada has also suspended access to national parks and historic sites. While it is tempting for us to speak out against such measures, I believe this is not the time to do so. Online and media criticism of promoting activities contrary to government orders, even if justified, can be swift and damning.
Nova Scotia delayed its fishing season to May 1st which prompted some anglers in that province to launch a Facebook petition asking the government to reverse its decision. The petition was criticized by the Nova Scotia Medical Officer of Health on national television which painted anglers as selfishly trying to find a loophole in order to enjoy their favorite pastime.
Fishing as an Essential Service
However, we are not staying idle during this crisis. With input from our Government Affairs committee, I have sent a letter to each Premier in Canada to ask them to deem recreational fishing and related industries as essential services. Thankfully, Ontario continues to include fishing and hunting on its list of essential services. Fishing is an important local source of food and provides a mental health benefit. It’s important that we remind the decision-makers of that reality.
National Fishing Week
National Fishing Week is scheduled for July 4th to 12th and plans are in place to promote it when the time is right. Creative for this year’s media push has already been designed and shot/photographed, however we will likely have to revise the messaging given the current situation.
If I may, I would like to offer a bit of encouragement. Lucky Strike has been in business for over 90 years, and I can confidently state history shows that, in uncertain times, Canadians go fishing for an economical means of providing a nutritional meal for their families and for a break from mental stress.
Ours is an industry to which Canadians turn during and after a crisis like Covid-19. We will weather this storm together and come out of it stronger than ever. Stay safe and stay well.
Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association
Canadian National Sportfishing Foundation