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Nova Scotia angler calls sportfishing delay a ‘good move’ amid COVID-19 pandemic

Larry Shortt
A Nova Scotia angler says he was initially disappointed by the sportfishing delay but now feels it's the best decision to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Larry Shortt/Submitted

Last Friday, the Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister, Keith Colwell, announced the sportfishing season would be delayed until at least May 1.

Typically, anglers head out on April 1 to begin fishing in rivers and lakes across the province.

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However, with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading and cases increasing daily, the provincial government is adding sportfishing to the long list of delays decided upon with safety precautions in mind.

“We sit around all winter, tying our flies, getting ready for the fishing season and then come April 1, we need that fix. Unfortunately, we’re not going to have it this year,” Larry Shortt said, a lifelong angler.

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While Shortt expressed initial disappointment over the delay, he recognizes it was a wise decision for the province to make.

He says he lives with underlying health conditions and realizes that following public health directions is crucial to slowing the spread of the virus.

“It’s not slowing down and we have to protect one another. I’m in the age bracket that if I get it, it would probably kill me,” Shortt said.

“I’ve got other problems as well, through heart disease and things like that, and I want to be around for a few more fishing seasons to come.”

Larry Shortt
Larry Shortt is a lifelong angler, he’s pictured here teaching his grandson how to fish. He says initially he was disappointed with the delay to the sportfishing season but understands the safety precautions behind the decision. Larry Shortt/Submitted

An online petition is being shared, pressing the province to reverse the decision to delay the season.

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The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, called out members of the public he says are looking for ‘loopholes’ during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“There’s a petition going around asking us to reopen [sportfishing]. Now is not the time to be thinking about how I can get out and continue my usual activities,” Strang said.

“Now is the time for us to stay close to home, minimize our interaction with others, protect each other.”

Shortt says he’s heard mixed reviews from the angler community. Some people feel fishing can be enjoyed as a solo activity and shouldn’t be restricted if public health measures are followed.

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Regardless of varying opinions, Shortt says the delay is for the greater health of the community.

“No matter what happens in any type of activity, if something halts it you’re going to have pros and cons on both sides of the fence, that’s it,” Shortt said.

“But on the plus side, I think it was a good move, myself.”

In an email statement from the department of fisheries, the province is asking for ‘patience’ and support from the public in slowing the spread of COVID-19.