The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) and partners have been engaged with various levels of government and the Provincial Health Officer to advocate the benefits of hunting, fishing and enjoying supernatural BC within the constraints of COVID-19. In consultation with the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), the provincial government recently added hunting and fishing to the ‘List of COVID-19 Essential Services’. This is good news for hunters and anglers, but it also means everyone needs to be cognizant of how COVID-19 has changed responsible fishing and hunting practices.
“We are happy that hunting and fishing are now listed as essential services,” says Bill Bosch, President of the BC Wildlife Federation. “With this listing comes great responsibility and a degree of scrutiny; as responsible citizens and conservationists, we need to ensure these activities are conducted within the guidelines set out by the PHO.”
Every year British Columbians purchase 110,000 hunting licenses, 280,000 freshwater angling licenses and 260,000 saltwater angling licenses, and B.C’s regulatory framework ensures licensed hunting and angling is sustainable. However, hunters and anglers should ensure they are familiar with the regulations.
The BCWF asks licensed hunters and anglers to inform themselves with regards to the PHO guidelines. Advice and information on hunting and fishing responsibly can be found on the BCWF website and the BC Government website.
The BC Wildlife Federation say they will continue to advocate on behalf of hikers, hunters and anglers with various levels of government, stating, “The BCWF believes the provincial government should be finding ways to allow British Columbians to stay local, get outside safely and enjoy our public spaces, especially in provincial parks. It is imperative that British Columbians have access to outdoor areas to secure healthy, organic protein, and give them a physical and mental reprieve from the effects of COVID-19.”
If you are not confident that you can adhere to all of the following conditions BCWF advises hunters and anglers “to please postpone your trip”:
• Hunters and anglers are required to only fish and hunt with people who share your household.
• Do not share vehicles with anyone who doesn’t live with you.
• Fish and hunt locally, and adhere to all travel advisories and self isolation requirements.
• Adhere to all municipal, First Nation community, provincial and federal closures. All BC Parks and recreation sites with camping facilities are closed, so check ahead of time.
• Maintain physical distancing ( two metres or six feet) from other individuals you come across.
• Wash your hands frequently, especially around communal areas such s boat ramps, gates, etc.
“Your fellow hunters and anglers are counting on you to be responsible, so that we can all enjoy these activities through these challenging times,” says BCWF, “Please stay safe, and be responsible.”
Source: BC Wildlife Federation