Fishing, hunting, and forestry continue to be mired by public perception based on historical actions and modern misinformation campaigns aiming to keep us there. It isn’t fair, but it’s a reality we face every day.
We don’t want to be responsible for the sins of our forefathers. What people don’t like about our activities often isn’t even based on modern realities. Forestry, like fish and wildlife management, has evolved and we continue to learn more about sustainable resource management every day.
Sustainability has become a pillar of our respective industries, and we haven’t just embraced it, we lean into it. It is the right thing to do for the future of our activities and society as a whole, and it’s become the foundation of our social licence.
Of course, we shouldn’t need a social licence for activities that are backed by an abundance of scientific evidence and contribute to broader societal objectives like resource sustainability and climate change. But, the importance of this will only likely increase as modern society continues to disconnect from natural resources.
Unfortunately, the differences between preservation and conservation aren’t often well understood. The concept of a tree or moose left standing in the woods is often viewed as better than one that is harvested sustainably and contributes to the environmental, social, and economic well-being of the people of Ontario. This disconnect is dangerous and we cannot allow it to take a stronger hold, publicly or politically.
Over the last decade, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) has enjoyed strong working relationships with the Ontario Forest Industries Association and many of its member companies to tackle mutual interests, including species at risk policy and wildlife research initiatives. It will remain critically important for fishing, hunting, trapping and forestry to find more ways to collaborate and support each other in projects and initiatives that champion and promote sustainable use.
Forestry, fishing, and hunting in Canada were activities borne of necessity and survival. Today, there is a renewed interest and potential market for these activities from an opposite perspective — sustainability.
We need to continue to work collectively to foster this renewed interest in sustainable use, while continuing to push back against anti-use campaigns and political agendas that jeopardize the future of sustainable use activities.
The OFAH stands as a willing partner to keep these activities strong in Ontario.
Published by OFIA, June 2020