Race: Pandemic will result in ‘fundamental’ industry changes
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Andrew Race, Managing Director of scales supplier Reuben Heaton, predicts fundamental changes in the structure of the fishing tackle industry as a result of COVID-19.
“It will have a huge impact on society and global markets and in some cases change them forever,” says the new Chairman of the UK’s Angling Trades Association (ATA). “Attitudes to supply chains, resources, carbon footprint, social mobility and recreation will all change.
“Some of the impact will be permanent and effect social change on a large scale. Inevitably there will be losses within the trade.
“In part it reinforces my view that British manufacture will start to play a big role in the tackle industry again. I think many countries will see an increase in home manufacture.”
Race could not have taken on the role of ATA chairman at a more difficult time. Some of his plans will take longer to execute, but he is already working with the Environment Agency, Angling Trust and Canal and River Trust to bring the industry together to engage anglers past and present.
“Our combined social media capability will enable us to do a lot towards this,” he says. “The ATA is working with the aforementioned on a project to inform government on the position of angling’s role in society after COVID-19.
“Thirdly, as a trade, we need to be ready to supply anglers with the items required to go fishing when the restrictions are lifted.”
As for his own company, Race has made staff safety his main priority. He has implemented new working conditions and is using government support mechanisms. “Through our membership of the ATA we will also be working to affect a renaissance in angling when the situation improved,” he adds.
“Right now, communication is key. Information is essential. People worry when they don’t know what’s happening and fear the worst. Most of our working partners are also friends. We are all in it together.”
Read the full interview with Andrew Race in the May issue of Angling International.