THE angling trade has been blasted for not doing enough about single-use plastic.

Fishing tackle plastic is being increasingly questioned as the global environmental improvement lobby grows.

Angler’s Mail has regularly reported on the impressive success in recycling line, coordinated by the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme. Tackle firms and shops across the UK are backing the initiative.

Rig Marole UK and Enterprise Tackle have been amongst the first manufacturers launching a new range of biodegradable products to replace traditional plastics.

Angler’s Mail is also among the growing number of magazines sending copies out in paperwrap instead of single-use polybags. They get sent each week to anglers purchasing a big-value AM mag subscription.

But calls are growing for other forms of fishing tackle plastic to be reduced, recycled or, where possible, eliminated. Single-use plastics, such as packaging, are of biggest concern.

Pressure group calls for changes ASAP

Chris Turnbull, who set up the Facebook group Anglers Against Single-Use Plastic in the Tackle Trade, thinks big firms aren’t doing enough. And he’s also unsure how many anglers are really bothered about the issue.

The widely respected angling artist fumed: “Since we formed the group 18 months ago, sadly I am not aware of any significant developments to reduce plastic use by any UK tackle company, and frankly their lack of action is pathetic.

“Mustad no longer use plastic packets for their hooks and other items, but they are a Norwegian company, and the Scandinavians seem more environmentally conscious.

“In years gone by, you could buy a few individual hooks and swivels that were stored in bulk containers, then transferred into a small paper bag when sold.

“Now virtually every company places six or a dozen hooks in plastic containers, and too much packaging is used to cover many larger items.

“I was staggered by the response when I set the group up, as 3,000 signed up in the first few days, but it has since reduced to a trickle.

“Given the number of anglers in the country, it’s only a tiny proportion.

“Frankly, there is a lot of apathy around, and judging by the amount of litter some anglers leave, I wonder how many are bothered.

“Companies themselves don’t seem to be doing anything about the problem, despite paying lip service to it, and are unlikely to do so without consumer pressure,” he added.

Enterprise Tackle baits

Chris Hornsby of artificial baits manufacturers Enterprise Tackle announced at the start of 2020 that: “All our baits and plastic rig items that we are currently making, contain a biodegradable additive.”

Costs to change fishing tackle plastic

Mike Heylin, vice chairman of the Angling Trades Association, doesn’t think that the fishing tackle plastic problems will end soon.

Mike explained: “Sadly, like virtually all industries, angling moved from bulk storage and sale of limited amounts to packages of individual products and a number of small items.

“It’s the same with virtually all hardware and other shops, from sweets to nuts and bolts.

“Lures were once tied to a cardboard sheet hung on a wall, but now they are sold in individual plastic packets.

“It was done for cost and protection during the move to self-service shopping, and it’s hard to see how to move away from that model now.

“My impression is that many companies are aware of the issue, but there would be costs involved to change packaging. With fine profit margins, no one is prepared to take the bull by the horns to do anything about it.

“The industry needs to take a close look at how it can minimise plastic use and find new ways to package items,” Mike added.

Bass-Online shop manager Steve Burgess said: “As a tackle dealer, the most disappointing thing for me has been the poor response from our customers.

“Until customers’ attitude regarding plastic packaging changes, we will have no chance of getting manufacturers to change.”

enterprise tackle sticker

This sticker will begin appearing on Enterprise Tackle products. How quickly will other manufacturers follow their lead?

Fishing tackle plastic – manufacturers’ efforts

Daniel Perkins, finance director of Nash, said: “It is an issue that we are aware of, and are wanting to address, but sometimes practical solutions are hard to find.

“We have however reduced the size and density of plastic that we use for each item, and we are moving towards being a paperless office.”

Stephen McCaveny, UK marketing manager at Daiwa Sports, said: “I’m not aware of any specific initiatives that we’re doing, but I can say we are super conscious of environmental issues and are looking at ways of becoming more environmentally friendly.

“Our UK factory does have a no-landfill-waste policy, but we recognise that bigger efforts are necessary.”

David Middleton, managing director of Middy, said: “Yes, we are aware, and we are trying to look at ways to recycle more in our general operations, and to reduce plastic usage.

“Many of our blister packs are already recyclable. I need to think about my grandchildren – I’ve got two on the way.”

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