Fish Ohio pins still unavailable
Columbus — The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can claim another victim with the People’s Republic of China thrown in for good measure.
With little more than three months left in 2020, the state’s Fish Ohio program is still without its signature and collectible pin for awarding to qualifying recipients. And possibly they may not be issued until 2021 when a new year will usher in another Fish Ohio pin design.
“We hope to have the pins still ready for this year,” said Brian Plasters, spokesman for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. “We’re working on it.”
This year’s pin again will feature a smallmouth bass, just as it did the first year a Fish Ohio pin was awarded 40 years ago and subsequently every 10 years since that inaugural presentation.
Plasters says the delay in sending out the pins is the result of the extended delay in the Wildlife Division even receiving the pins from its vendor.
And the reason for that hang-up, said Plasters, is because the pins – which cost the agency about 40 cents each – came from China, the focal point of the COVID-19’s origins.
China, of course, saw a near complete shutdown of its econom, which thus impacted the manufacturing and exporting of nearly everything – from essential surgical masks to not-quite-so-essential Fish Ohio pins.
Calling the dynamics of the problem “fluid” with many “moving parts,” Plasters says the agency is fast-tracking the design and moving personnel around to expedite the pins’ delivery to deserving recipients.
These recipients typically would have begun receiving their pins beginning as early as late winter or early spring. As of Aug. 26, the Wildlife Division had received 12,778 Fish Ohio applications verses 13,237 applications for the same period in 2019.
Yet since anglers often submit more than one application for representatives from the program’s list of 25 eligible species, pins are issued only for the first submission. On Aug. 25, that figure would have been 7,921 pins.
Part of the hang-up is that obtaining bids to firms that could make and/or supply the pins requires the Wildlife Division to work within the labyrinth of state governmental bureaucracy.
Such bidding demands the attention of the Ohio’s Department of Administrative Services. This unit of the Ohio’s Executive Branch provides “quality centralized services, specialized support and innovative solutions” to state government and other governmental-associated entities.
Plasters says that while vendors do change and the Government Services has its fingers in the pie, the Wildlife Division “still controls the pins’ design.”
“It’s an important program for anglers and it’s an important program for us as an agency,” Plasters says.