BASS member and Recreational Sea Angler campaigner, Malcolm Gilbert, has long battled to understand why the very companies who surely have a vested interest in healthy, vibrant, fish stocks have only been noticeable (in the main) in UK and European RSA political campaigns by their absence. Are things changing . . . following the initial circulation of  the below Malcolm was personally invited to attend an Angling Trades Association Board meeting on the 12th September to discuss how the trade could support RSA. Nigel Horsman of BASS has confirmed that he will also attend the meeting along with a number of others.

 “Some of you will know how critical I’ve been of the tackle trade for not recognising that its future prosperity is dependent on fish.I have felt enormous frustration at the quality of recreational sea angling (RSA). In my experience, RSA has continued to decline, with fish becoming scarcer/smaller, while the tackle trade has failed to mobilise.

Whenever I’ve attempted to persuade the trade at either UK or EU level to collectively fund some lobbying and/or to make representation to decision makers about marine fish-stock management, the look of incredulity on their faces speaks volumes about how they fail to see any link between ‘fish’ and the sale of tackle.

I admit that there have been occasions when I’ve had to pinch myself and reconsider whether it is me who doesn’t get it or them! Then I remind myself of how it is so different across the Atlantic where a certain tackle-trade organisation – the American Sportfishing Association – has as its main slogan: “More fish = more anglers = more profit.”

The undoubted increase in lure fishing for bass across much of Europe appears to have been better recognised by new companies, while the ‘giants’ haven’t smelled the coffee.

This may now be changing.

In the latest issue of Tackle Trade World I saw the headline: ‘Daiwa booming in France’ and the text reveals that Daiwa “has reported an excellent first half of 2012” with particular emphasis on sea angling and bass. There is a picture of the company’s marketing manager holding up a bass.

Elsewhere, the magazine reports on the arrival to the European market of the Japanese company Marukyu, with yet another picture of one of the company’s top men holding a bass.

It is clear that the commercial beneficiaries as a result of the popularisation of lure fishing for bass are numerous.

Do these businesses know anything about how bass stocks are subjected to intense commercial fishing as immature babies?

Do they know of the proposals to place bass on the EU TAC/quota list?

Do they understand that, however popular bass fishing is becoming, it could be a whole lot better with some core shifts in management policy?

All the businesses supplying the wide range of tackle being sold to bass anglers could cumulatively carry a lot of political clout, but HOW DO WE GET THEM TO MAKE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THEIR BUSINESS PROSPECTS AND FISH?”

 Malcolm Gilbert

The above appeared in Tackle & Guns