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New EFTTA head eager to breathe new energy into ‘dormant’ trade body


EFTTA’s new President, Jan Mertens, has spoken of the challenge facing him and the Board to breathe new energy into an association that has been dormant in recent years.

The Pure Fishing Commercial Director for Continental Europe believes that the ‘only way is up’ for the organisation that has suffered from the effects of COVID, no income from its former trade show, EFTTEX, and limited money to spend on its main role of lobbying for the survival of recreational fishing.

“Now that the uncertainty over the trade show has been resolved and EFTTA has a new home and headquarters in Brussels – at the heart of the EU – the association is well placed to enter a new era,” added Mertens (above), who has replaced long-time President Robin Morley, of Daiwa UK, at the head of the organisation. Ross Honey, founder of Angling Spirit in the UK, has been appointed Vice President.

Mertens told Angling International that his main priority and biggest job is to get more companies from within the industry to become members. “The trade is facing many challenges from ‘green’ parties that see anglers as people who want to destroy nature. These groups are getting stronger and stronger and EFTTA needs to have a voice at the EU to fight for our sport.

“With the trade facing so many challenges I do not understand why companies are not joining EFTTA. We need to make sure that everyone knows exactly what an important job it is doing and show them where their money is going.”

Honey (pictured), the man behind the hugely successful World Predator and Carp Classics and the recently launched Sea Angling Classic, will be the driving force behind promoting the work of EFTTA. He said: “We now have clear aims and objectives moving forward for the association’s CEO, Olivier Portrat, in Brussels. The next step is to make sure that what EFTTA is doing in Brussels is communicated to the membership, industry and retailers.

“Previously this has been a best-kept secret. A lot of good stuff is going on behind the scenes. I didn’t know the half of it until a recent visit to Brussels. I was flabbergasted when I heard the full story.”

Honey added that he will be responsible for sending out regular press releases to ensure the industry is informed as to what EFTTA is doing. In a further bid to raise the profile of EFTTA, Olivier Portrat will be attending shows across the region with Board members so that people can meet them and discuss issues affecting them.

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