2020 – The Year That Was

Dear CSIA/CNSF Members,

2020 began like most other years for Canada’s recreational fishing industry. Many of you were preparing for trade show season with The Spring Fishing and Boat Show set for Family Day Weekend in mid-February, followed by shows in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Edmonton and Calgary in March.

At the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association, we prepared for our Annual General Meeting in March at the International Centre, site of the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show. With the meeting room, AV, and hotel rooms booked, the AGM breakfast pre-ordered, The President’s Award finalized, and the agenda confirmed, we were ready to go by late February. Despite the frightening news coming from countries like China, South Korea, Italy and Iran about the spread of Covid-19 ‘picking up steam’, we remained cautiously optimistic.

However, by the 2nd week of March, everything changed.

With our AGM set for Thursday March 19th, Treasurer Bill Scullion, Mike Melnik and I met in Peterborough the week of March 9th to discuss the prospect of cancelling the meeting due to the health concerns of our members. As the number of Covid-19 cases grew, the decision to cancel seemed obvious, although it still was difficult to make. Just a few days later, on March 13th, after recommendations from health officials in Peel region, the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show was cancelled for the first time in its 73-year history.

Like you, the CSIA and CNSF pivoted to the changing social landscape in Canada. We solicited the support of our media contacts across the country to promote the mental health and sustenance benefits of recreational fishing at a time of mandated social distancing. We also changed our focus of National Fishing Week to do the same. We surveyed our members to see how they were doing, our GA Director Phil Morlock joined the advisory committee to MPP John Yakabuski, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and, like you, we tried to stay positive – as difficult as that was at times.

Never has a pandemic been experienced in our lifetime within our own borders to this level of disruption. Supply chains are working hard in manufacturing to fulfill customer orders to refill their inventory levels for 2021. Retail inventories were stressed significantly during this past season due to the increase in participation levels for fishing and other related outdoor recreational activities. I think anyone of us could say it has certainly changed the way we do things, for now!

I remain hopeful for a positive 2021, especially now that Covid vaccinations are underway. I think the challenge for the CSIA and CNSF is to retain newcomers to recreational fishing and build on that momentum.

What was 2020 like for our you, our members? We asked for comments on ‘The Year That Was’ and  hopes for 2021. I encourage you to take a few moments and read the interesting comments below. 

I hope you have a Merry and safe Christmas.


Kim Rhodes