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‘I had no choice’ Founder of world’s largest carp show cancels for 2021

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The organiser of the world’s largest carp fishing show has described his disappointment at calling off next year’s event because of the ongoing health concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next year’s 25th anniversary Carp Zwolle was due to move to a larger location at Brabanthallen in the Dutch town of Hertogenbosch in January and be renamed Carp Den Bosch.

But instead of preparing for the biggest show in its history, organiser and founder of the event Mick Paine has pulled the plug on it. He told Angling International: “Having to cancel the show is a huge disappointment, but the continuing uncertainty caused by the pandemic really gave me no choice.

Carp Zwolle founder Mick Paine: “I would never forgive myself if someone got COVID-19 at the show.”

“The situation is changing daily regarding things like travel and border controls across Europe and I did not think it was fair to keep people waiting until a few weeks prior to the show before making a decision. Everyone was waiting for me to make a call and I felt it was best to do it early. My heart would not have been in it. It was not worth the risk – I would never forgive myself if someone got COVID-19 at the show.”

Paine added that shows are currently allowed in Holland, but that the restrictions imposed made it ‘impossible logistically’. He is looking at the option of organising a virtual event next year before reinstating the physical event in 2022. “Hopefully a vaccine will have been developed by then,” he said.

The move to ’s Hertogenbosch – better known as Den Bosch – will give the organiser double the amount of space than that offered by the IJsselhallen in Zwolle. “The venue was starting to tear at the seams,” said Paine.

The show was due to move to a larger venue in Den Bosch and be renamed, as part of the celebrations to mark its 25th anniversary.

“There will be no limit to what we can do at the new venue. We have a waiting list as long as from here to Tokyo and current exhibitors wanting bigger stands. We can accommodate all those people now.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on shows across the world with many facing a fight for survival, but Paine believe there will always be room for a physical show. “People like to come and look, feel and talk to the producers of new product. You cannot do that digitally.

“It is also a huge social gathering – visitors come to rekindle relationships and that is irreplaceable.”