THE British public have voted to leave the European Union - confounding predictions of an eventual outcome to remain. And as many British anglers celebrate the landmark decision, others ponder what it could mean for the future.
How the angling trades will be affected by the stunning decision to withdraw from the European Union, after 43 years, has been subject to considerable debate in recent weeks. And that will intensify after the outcome was confirmed.
But a massive 72 % turnout proved how many people really care about the issues. Leave won by 52% to 48% of the vote. England and Wales voted strongly for Brexit, while London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed staying in the EU.
In the run-up to the crucial vote, many anglers made clear their views that the protection of British inland and coastal fisheries was an important issue to them amid the complex and wide-ranging debates.
Kevin Nash, head of one of the UK’s biggest fishing tackle and bait manufacturers, was one of the most outspoken figures in the trade. He made clear that he is in no doubt whatsoever as to how the decision is likely to affect fishing tackle and his own business.
Kevin told Angler’s Mail on the eve of the European referendum: “I’m scared to death of the consequences of withdrawal for my company, the tackle trade generally and the country’s future.”
“Tackle prices will have to go up”
Carp fishing legend Kevin continued: “The (US) dollar has already slumped in value which is affecting our company’s costs and we are only hanging on until the outcome is known to see if a vote to remain improves the situation before we have to put up our prices.
“Even the Brexit campaigners seem to accept that coming out will lead to two to three years of serious economic difficulty and it could be ten years before full recovery, so think of all the problems with increased unemployment and cost of living for people during this time.
“We may have import and export taxes to deal with. Tackle prices will definitely have to go up.
“Pre-EU 10 per cent of my company’s sales were exports, now they are over 50 per cent.
“Expansion in jeopardy”
“Trading within Europe is comparatively easy. Pre EEC we had to spend 2-3 hours filling out customs forms for exports.
“Driving trucks through Europe we used to have to wait for at least an hour to cross borders and you could sometimes be delayed for up to six hours.
“Trading outside Europe is so much more difficult with countries like Russia having a huge black market and not even wanting to use invoices.
“Other restrictions have included needing a vets certificate for exporting certain types of bait.
“I have just invested £1.6 million in expansion of the company and this is being put in jeopardy.
“If we leave the EU I would seriously have to consider re-locating the company to Europe to make trading easier, with all the resulting impact on jobs here.
“It has also taken them to ensure equal pay for women when our own politicians would drag their feet.
“Opponents seem mainly concerned about immigration and democracy, but with virtually full employment we need immigrants to fill job vacancies and we have a voice in European laws as well as making our own,” he concluded.
HAVE YOU GOT A VIEW ON THE EUROPEAN DECISION? Email your views on the outcome of the big vote to: firstname.lastname@example.org – your views may get published in Angler’s Mail magazine, the No.1 weekly for news and tips.