The UK’s fishing tackle industry body, the Angling Trades Association, is today writing to seven Government ministers and 62 MPs along with Environment Secretary George Eustice in an effort to make it easier for bait manufacturers to export their products to Europe.
Following the UK’s withdrawal from Europe at the start of 2021 (‘Brexit’), companies in the recreational fishing bait sector are facing major barriers to exporting to established markets in the EU, threatening current sales channels, future growth opportunities and manufacturing jobs and profits here in the UK.
UK brands in this sector together provide more than 500 jobs and represent more than £30 million of annual export turnover into the EU. The sector is also linked to the wider multi-billion-pound tackle and angling tourism trades.
Now the ATA is asking the Government to protect this market by
working together with EU-based authorities to agree simple and workable conditions or document requirements to UK baits to be exported into the EU.
Currently, the new trading arrangements mean full customs Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) controls now apply to commercial exports of recreational fishing baits containing processed animal by-products yet there is little practical and accurate information from UK authorities as to the precise requirements for such exports.
With many UK bait manufacturers being small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the regulations including certification requirements and testing are onerous and difficult to implement.
The letter also points out that these baits are not intended to target fish entering the human food chain but are for use in ‘catch and release’ recreational angling scenarios.
ATA vice-chairman Mike Heylin said: “Through the introduction of proportionate and workable certification measures, the UK Government would facilitate the growth of recreational bait exports to the EU. This would benefit sector SMEs enabling them to service the existing and growing angling community, stimulating jobs and economic growth opportunities.
“Conversely, 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.
“The measures proposed are considered, practical and, with support, could easily be implemented at limited cost to UK institutions and Government departments.
“The ATA welcomes the opportunity to discuss this proposal in detail and would be happy to work with the Government and policy officials to drive and implement change which will lead to the ongoing success of UK SME’s, and our continuing success as an export nation.”