THE UK's main angling trades body hopes to stop the decline in angling, and has started a new working group called Keep Britain Fishing.

The Angling Trades Association held a conference on the decline of angling numbers and adding new blood to the sport, with 72 industry bigwigs and other experts gathering at The Arden Hotel, in Solihull, West Midlands.

Angling Trades Association chairman John Loftus explained: “We know the number of people going fishing is declining and the age profile increasing, and this will be the first of several steps towards action to get new people involved.

“We need to address problems in the industry to get it working together and galvanise the trade to raise funds to promote the sport,” John added.

Many major firms attended, including Dynamite Baits, Nash, Fox, Daiwa, Shimano, Angling Direct plus the Angling Trust, Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust.

Former Angling Trust chairman Mike Heylin, new vice chair of the Angling Trades Association , said: “A lot of good ideas were put forward during the day.

“It was exciting to see the enthusiasm for positive action to be taken and for the ATA to be more proactive going forward in developing initiatives to get more people into the sport.

“This first meeting was a think-tank to promote ideas, and it was decided to establish a working group that will develop a new marketing strategy.

“When it is finished, the strategy will be distributed to all concerned, and will link in with the recently announced National Angling Strategy, launched by the EA.

“It was gratifying seeing the industry pulling together for the benefit of the sport and providing the skills necessary to develop initiatives,” Mike concluded.

Angling’s real value

Now in its 46th year, the Angling Trades Association is the official voice of the UK angling industry, representing fishing tackle manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, publishers and fisheries.

The ATA produces a bi-annual report based on a survey of the industry, the last one of which covered 2017.

The value of tackle sales then was estimated at £548.7m representing a 3.8 per cent decrease when compared to 2015.

The average turnover of each retailer was estimated to be £255,520 in 2017, compared to £248,000 in 2015.

Since the last research the number of retailers had fallen to 2,150 – a decrease of 6.5 per cent – attributed in the main to retirement/closure and merger.

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