Researchers from Ottawa’s Carleton University are conducting a survey to document if and how the pandemic has altered the behaviour of Ontario anglers.
The online survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and is anonymous, Carleton biology professor Dr. Steven Cooke said.
It asks about changes in fishing effort, catch rate, and harvest between this year and the same time last year, and examines spending patterns, including where anglers are purchasing gear, such as online or in a store, he explained.
Results will paint picture
Survey results will help to understand what angling looks like in Ontario today and given the widespread expectation of a second wave of COVID-19 cases, will help us learn more from our experiences in the spring, Cooke said.
With pandemic restrictions easing, many anglers have been hitting the water, including many who have never fished before. A trip to the local tackle store reveals empty shelves, reinforcing the idea that fishing is popular during the pandemic – but this information is anecdotal, he said.
Specifically, researchers would like to know what governments can do to better communicate with anglers about how to fish safely; if anglers have changed their behaviour and if so, why; and if the pandemic has changed how we need to manage Ontario fisheries, for example.
Right balance sought
This information will be shared with groups like the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) so they can work with government to ensure we achieve the right balance between public safety and access to fishing opportunities, Cooke said.
“There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed how we live our lives. This survey will be the first attempt to understand what has changed for recreational angling in Ontario,” he said, encouraging participants to share the survey link with other anglers. “Take 15 minutes to share your perspectives and ensure your voice is heard.”
To take part in the survey, click here.