Industry leaders form South Carolina trade and lobby group
Boat builders, fishing tackle manufacturers and retailers have come together to form a professional trade and lobby group in South Carolina.
The state is home to two of the world’s biggest tackle companies – Shimano and Pure Fishing – along with 27 boat manufacturers, making it the biggest unrepresented sector in the state, says Gettys Brannon, CEO of the South Carolina Boating and Fishing Alliance (SCBFA).
Its member companies represent an annual economic impact on the state of $5 billion and support 23,000 jobs, according to data from the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), both of which have endorsed the new body.
Boating and fishing is increasing gross domestic product in South Carolina at a faster rate than Florida, the number one boating and fishing region in the country. In addition, 725,000 fishing licenses are held in the state.
Governor Henry McMaster joined legislative leaders and the Alliance to announce the launch. A subsequent press release said its mission was to promote, protect and grow South Carolina’s most popular recreational activities, boating and fishing, and to engage in policy issues.
“By any measure, time on the water, fresh and salt, is the top recreational activity in our state,” said Chris Butler, SCBFA chairman, owner of Butler Marine and board member of the Center for Sportfishing Policy.
“Add to that the fact that we have some of the most iconic brands of boats and fishing tackle made here, and it just makes sense to give our industry and consumers a unified voice.”
Individual membership will also be available for the public. Brannon, a former FLW Cup qualifier and media representative for B.A.S.S., said the Alliance wants to become more involved in promoting a growing economic sector and to give a voice in policy making “not only to our members companies but the millions who spend time on the water.”
Founding committee members include Ken Eubanks, CEO of Rather Outdoors, Kelsey Dick, Marketing Operations Manager, Shimano North America and Carol Dillon, Marketing Communications Manager, Pure Fishing.