The UK’s Angling Trades Association (ATA) is lobbying the Government in an effort to overcome the serious problems facing bait manufacturers exporting to Europe (see Angling International’s special report, March issue).
The association has written to seven Government ministers, including Environment Secretary George Eustice, and 62 MPs in an attempt to ease restrictions following the implementation of Brexit on January 1st.
“Failure to act will result in UK job losses, downsizing of businesses, reduction in UK GDP and tax take and probably the movement of businesses out of the UK into the EU,” says ATA Vice Chairman Mike Heylin.
The complexity of the current trading regulations and certification requirements are proving onerous and difficult to implement, particularly in a sector that includes many small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Some companies are already seeking to establish manufacturing facilities in Europe.
According to the ATA, the sector provides more than 500 jobs and represents more than £30 million in annual export turnover into the EU. The sector is also linked to the wider multi-billion pound tackle and tourism trades.
The ATA is asking the Government to work together with EU-based authorities to agree workable conditions and document requirements for UK baits to be exported to the EU.
The letter also makes it clear that fishing baits are not intended to target fish entering the human food chain, but are for use in catch and release angling.
“Through the introduction of proportionate and workable certification measures, the UK Government would facilitate the growth of recreational bait exports to the EU,” added Heylin. “This would benefit sector SMEs by enabling them to service the existing and growing angling community, stimulating jobs and economic growth opportunities.
“The measures proposed are considered, practical and, with support, could easily be implemented at limited cost to UK institutions and Government departments.”