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Catch Fishing Agrees with Us: Go Fishing Now
We caught up with Catch Fishing's Sarah McMichael, who is their Media Correspondent for National Fishing Week. Sarah enlightened us about their work and how all of us can get involved with their work across Canada to get more people out fishing.
GFN: What is the Catch Fishing organization and how did it get started?
Catch Fishing is a national initiative focused on celebrating recreational fishing in Canada, and encouraging more Canadians to get outdoors and go fishing! Catch Fishing is run by the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association and the Canadian National Sportfishing Foundation. It was started in 2000 by the former president of the CSIA Rick Amsbury.
GFN: You promote Canada's National Fishing Week. How did the idea start? And what's the purpose to promoting a specific week of fishing?
Rick Amsbury was also responsible for establishing National Fishing Week 16 years ago. Prior to National Fishing Week, Canada was lacking a country-wide celebration of our angling heritage. National Fishing Week filled that void, and has grown bigger each year with more giveaways, media interviews, and events occurring across the country each year.
National Fishing Week is one week a year where Canadians are encouraged to get outdoors with their friends and family, and go fishing! Fishing is a fantastic activity for so many reasons. It’s easy, affordable, and it can be peaceful or exciting. It’s also a Canadian heritage activity that is important to our economy too. Time in nature has a multitude of mental and physical health benefits, and fishing is a great way to get that necessary time away from all of the distractions of everyday life.
GFN: I think those of us in the United States, think all Canadians fish. What percentage of Canadians fish and are there any specific demographics you are targeting with your work?
A 2010 survey on recreational fishing by Fisheries and Oceans Canada found that approximately 9 million Canadians, or 25% of the population, fish recreationally. It’s something Canadians have been doing for generations, and are truly passionate about.
Catch Fishing specifically targets families with children. We believe the key to creating more generations of anglers is introducing kids to fishing while they’re young. There are so many distractions these days that can keep youth indoors, like video games or Netflix. We want to encourage parents to have their children put the technology away and get outdoors to enjoy quality time fishing.
Taking your kids fishing will help foster an appreciation in them for our natural environment, and hopefully educate them on the importance of conserving our natural resources. Plus, fishing in an adventure! Any angler who has gone fishing with young people will tell you there is absolutely nothing like the excitement on a child’s face when they hook their first fish, big or small. We really hope that parents will see the value of taking their kids fishing, and get them started fishing while they’re young.
GFN: What other activities/events do you do to support getting people into the outdoors beyond National Fishing Week?
Another important part of what we do is our other campaign Keep Canada Fishing. Keep Canada Fishing focuses on promoting and protecting Canadians’ right to fish. We spread awareness of issues that could affect fishing opportunities in Canada, and act as a voice for anglers on Parliament Hill. To learn more about Keep Canada Fishing you can visit our website.
We also offer free copies of our “Catch Fishing: Your How-To Guide to Fishing in Canada” booklet to individuals, organizations, and events for giveaway. The booklet offers great information for aspiring anglers young and old looking to learn the basics of fishing.
GFN: Go Fishing Now covers Eastern Canada. Are there any specific initiatives you do for any parts of Eastern Canada?
Canada’s National Fishing Week also coincides with Ontario’s Family Fishing Week. This means that Canadian residents in Ontario can try fishing completely license-free during National Fishing Week. This acts as a great incentive for Canadians to try out fishing during this time.
We are pleased to be partners with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Learn to Fish program. It’s a fantastic program which offers free fishing instruction at events and some provincial parks in Ontario.
We also have many National Fishing Week ambassadors located all over the country, including in Eastern Canada. These ambassadors act as on the ground spokespeople for us, and are well-versed in the fisheries of each region in Canada.
GFN: You have a lot of different organizations that partner with you. How are your partners helpful to the work that you do?
Our partners are so valuable. We receive a great amount of support from the Canadian fishing industry in the form of product, media coverage, and time. Throughout National Fishing Week we are able to give hundreds of Canadians the chance to go fishing for the first time through our rod and reel giveaways. We give out hundreds of rods and reels on radio and TV stations and on our social media. We couldn’t do this without the generous donations of our partners.
Politically, we work with a number of non-governmental organizations, NGOs, when issues that could negatively affect recreational fishing in Canada arise. The most recent threat to angling is a Bill before Canada’s parliament, Bill C-246, which has the potential to make catching a fish a crime. We continue to work with our like-minded partners to challenge this Bill.
GFN: How can anglers get involved and support what you are doing?
The best way an angler could support us is by taking the time to introduce someone new to fishing. Without new generations of anglers the passion of our sport could be lost, and we want to make sure fishing continues to be something Canadians love.
Anglers can keep up with us by going online:
You can also keep up with the Keep Canada Fishing:
If you’re ever concerned about an issue affecting Canadian anglers, you can use the Keep Canada Fishing website to contact officials in the Canadian government to show your support for fishing in Canada.
GFN: Thank you Sarah so much for doing the interview. We will be following closely the work of Catch Fishing and Keep Canada Fishing. Those of you who follow Go Fishing Now from Canada, help the spread the word about National Fishing Week, occurring July 1 to 9, 2017.