EFTTA Board member Gerard Bakkenes is under no illusions as to the importance of lobbying for the future of recreational fishing.
EFTTA, which is based in Brussels and represents the industry at the highest echelons of the EU, has this week reiterated its resolve to fight for the sport. And Bakkenes (left) has told Angling International: “Without lobbying angling could become a dying activity. It is crucial to the survival of the sport.
“I feel it is strange that there are still companies or brands – large and small – within the fishing tackle industry that do not value the need for lobbying or advocacy. Maybe they are unaware of its importance. Next to promoting angling as a fun and healthy activity with a high economical value and which supports a great deal of jobs, lobbying is crucial.
“The sport of fishing needs to be defended. You simply have to look around you to see the increased focus on animals, objects being thrown into the water and behaviour towards nature in general. I feel the industry 100% underestimates the threats that fishing might be under.”
He added that EFTTA already has a loud voice for the industry at EU level, but that it should become the true and pro-active lobbying body for the fishing industry. “We have the right people and bodies on board with EFFTA CEO Olivier Portrat, our lobbyist Jan Kappel, our partners at the European Anglers Association and advocacy group Alienor. They are all very capable in representing the benefits of the sport, but they need more and more support not just from manufacturers, but other groups within the industry – boating, electronics, tourism and event organisers. They should all become members of EFTTA to show their support for the greater good.
“Just as an example to the industry, without EFTTA monofilament could have been classified as a Single Use Plastic. This would have resulted in a ban on the use of the line and serious consequences for manufacturers and suppliers.”
Bakkenes, who joined the EFTTA Board at the beginning of last year, has been with Shimano Europe for over 22 years and is currently Senior Business Planner. He says he would also like to see the setting up of a clear pan-European strategy that includes collaboration with local regional trade associations like French representative body GIFAP. “It is key for the future of fishing. It is something that EFTTA has been involved in at a local level and makes sense because united we are stronger. The louder the voice we have the more funds for lobbying we can collect.”
• To enquire about becoming an EFTTA member and contributing to the Association’s lobbying efforts, email EFTTA Office Manager Margit Boggler