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Top retailer closes two stores in face of fishing restrictions

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The owner of one of Western Australia’s biggest tackle retailers has blamed the state’s new fishing season regulations as the reason for closing her stores after 91 years of trading.

Bluewater Tackle World Group owner and former Liberal Party leader Liza Harvey says she closed both her stores because she couldn’t risk going out of business as a result of demersal fishing being banned from August to December.

And she sounded a warning to the industry about the impact of the restrictions on independent tackle dealers.

“It is going to be a very difficult time. The only thing people in the tackle industry can do is to try and diversify,” Harvey told Curtis Waterman of 6PR Perth. “The big guys like BCF and Anaconda will be fine because they have a national footprint and are backed by a big shareholder base.

“But for a small business focused only on fishing tackle, as we were, to try to ramp up and put capital investment into diversifying in a short time frame is just not possible unless they are wealthy, which most of the people in the trade aren’t.

“They are normal mums and dads pursuing a business in an industry they love and following their passion.”

Harvey, who has closed both the Bluewater outlets in Joondalup and Myaree, revealed that she had been approached by two potential buyers last year, but both had withdrawn because of the risk posed by the potential fishery closure.

“It is a long time not to be able to access the fishery,” she added. “It is not known what the future looks like with the demersal closure and the impact it will have.

“It was too risky for me to sign new leases. There was too much uncertainty and this is the end of the Bluewater business.”

Bluewater was founded by Ted Harvey in Scarborough in 1932 as a general store that sold fishing tackle. The business was later taken over by his sons, Ross and Jack, who in the 1970s decided to focus solely on fishing tackle.

Although she is leaving the tackle trade, Harvey urged anglers to support independent retailers. “If you want the expertise to remain in the industry you need to make the choice to go to the independently-owned tackle stores. If you don’t support them they will go and you will only be left with the big department-like stores, and that would be really sad.”

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