Ross Honey and Olivier Portrat representing EFTTA at the European Parliament.

The European Fishing Tackle Trade Association plays a key role in safeguarding our sport and works closely with the Angling Trade Association among others to achieve this aim. New EFTTA vice-president Ross Honey outlines why we should all get involved.

ATA: Firstly, Ross, congratulations on becoming vice-president of EFTTA. What do you feel you bring to the role?

Ross Honey: Thank you. I have served on the EFTTA board for the last two years but have been in the angling industry for more than 25, taking initial ideas and concepts through to delivery of some of the biggest angling events in the world and, in doing so, creating major event-based marketing platforms.

This year, for instance, sees the 25th anniversary of the World Carp Classic while last year we successfully ran the inaugural Sea Angling Classic. With the World Predator Classic and the associated street fishing events my Angling Spirit company also organises, I am working across both fresh- and saltwater in pretty much every key discipline.

The World Carp Classic celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and is one example of the work Ross does with the industry at large.

ATA: Why did you feel the need to get involved with EFTTA now, especially as it has recently gone through some fairly dramatic changes?

RH: As in many walks of life, it felt like the time was right to review what EFTTA was doing (and where it was doing it from) and implement some positive traction for the industry as a whole.

It’s a really exciting time, having closed the old EFTTA in the UK following BREXIT and opened a new one in Brussels, which is closer to the European parliament – but we have a lot of hard work to do, too.

I have attended the last 10 European Fishing Tackle Trade Exhibitions (EFTTEX) and recently spoke in the European parliament about biodiversity and sustainability and have seen first-hand the great work EFTTA has been doing. Now is the time for us all to step up and contribute to the future of fishing.

EFTTA is in safe hands now, thanks to work of CEO Olivier Portrat, Jan Kappel and the team in Brussels, who have worked tirelessly for many years lobbying the EU about our sport.

ATA: Of course, that work is also very important to not just the ATA but other trade associations on the continent. How will EFTTA be supporting their efforts?

RH: There are so many great things going on across the European tackle industry right now but there hasn’t been one consolidated structure to bring it all together. With the experience we have working with the ATA – which we have been doing for a while – we will be able to replicate that across Europe.

What is happening on a national level now needs to happen on a pan-European level so the structuring of a centralised communication channel is crucial.

There are some great things being done by organisations in Denmark, Spain, Italy, France and elsewhere but they all need a central point tying them together.

When things affecting fishing are happening in Brussels we not only have to be in a position to communicate these but also understand the impacts they have in individual countries.

ATA: You mentioned EFTTA as a communication channel. Can you explain why this is so important?

RH: One of the things that has happened over the years is that there hasn’t been a centralised co-ordination point. We will provide a clear communication structure, from the top down and grassroots up.

An issue affecting the UK might also impact on other regions but, equally, some of those countries might already have a solution to offer – our job is to bring all of this together.

Things need to happen much more quickly and, as an industry, we need to be proactive, rather than reactive, if we are to grow.

People have to understand the importance of EFTTA, not just as focal point for lobbying Brussels and bringing about change but also as a centralised point of contact that is vital for the survival of recreational angling and the tackle trade.

It’s another important reason why companies should not only be joining their own trade associations but also EFTTA – we are the glue holding it all together; that’s a win-win situation.

ATA: It would be remiss of us not to ask about the situation around EFTTEX. EFTTA seemed to distance itself from the event which was once seen as a key part of the organisation. What has changed?

RH: EFTTEX has always had an important role to play in the European tackle trade but it is a sign of the times that changes needed to be made.

Running an event like that is a specialist job; EFTTA is not a show organiser so it made sense to let those able to devote their time and effort to organising EFTTEX get on with the job.

Jan Mertens from Pure Fishing has taken over the role of EFTTA president and, along with Olivier Portrat, myself and the rest of the board, we can can concentrate and remain focused on our role as a central communication point as well as a lobbying group at European parliamentary level.

We are just getting started but there is so much the trade can look forward to being involved in. We will work better if we are all doing this together.

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