Fish Ohio pins nearly on their way to anglers
Columbus — Much delayed, the status of Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Fish Ohio pin component is ready for the net.
Or almost anyway.
The Fish Ohio program’s 40th Anniversary edition of the pin will again feature a smallmouth bass, as it was represented on the first Fish Ohio pin in 1980 and in three subsequent copies over the program’s past four decades.
Yet unlike those cases, the issuance of this year’s pins was delayed by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The pins were made in China, Ground Zero for the infectious disease. This fact resulted in a seriously long lag in the wildlife division seeing the pins come, and any subsequent distribution to qualifying anglers.
Under the program’s rules, a pin is awarded to individuals catching and applying for a qualifying specimen from one of 25 eligible species. An individual may enter as many applications as he or she chooses but receives only one general Fish Ohio pin.
Anglers who catch a qualifying member from four or more of the list’s eligible species is entitled to a modified Fish Ohio Master Angler pin.
None have been distributed as of late October, months behind when the first batches typically have gone out. The COVID-19-inspired logjam has been breached, says Brian Banbury, the administrator for the wildlife division’s information and education section.
“The pins are currently at the vendor that was awarded the contract, and hopefully they are being produced even as we speak,” Banbury said.
Banbury said too that to-date the wildlife division has received 15,91 Fish Ohio applications and will issue at least 8,710 Fish Ohio pins. Again, this smaller number is because some anglers have submitted multiple applications but are eligible to receive only one pin.
In 2019 the Wildlife Division processed 16,196 Fish Ohio applications.
Likewise, says Banbury, the agency intends to have made about 11,000 general/regular Fish Ohio pins along with about 900 Fish Ohio Master Angler pins.
“Before Thanksgiving we are estimating the delivery to us, and we plan to start mailing the pins out Dec. 1,” Banbury said. “We hope to have them all delivered by Christmas.”
Banbury said the delay did not lead to any additional cost for the wildlife division. Each Fish Ohio pin costs about 40 cents to make.