Funding pulled for UK fishing participation initiative
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The Angling Trades Association (ATA), the representative body for the tackle industry in the UK, is appealing to the industry to help ensure the future of National Fishing Month (NFM).
NFM is the single biggest participation initiative in the UK and has introduced an estimated 300,000 newcomers to fishing since it was launched 27 years ago.
But the annual undertaking – a series of nationwide events, coaching opportunities and media exposure – is now coming under threat following news that the Angling Trust has withdrawn significant funding.
The Trust, which says it represents all fishermen in England and Wales, halved its financial support last year and has cut funding completely for 2019.
However, the ATA remains determined that the show will go on and made a strong commitment to this year’s event at its most recent Board meeting last week, where it was confirmed that the Professional Anglers Association (PAA) and its network of UK-wide members will be running NFM this year on behalf of the association.
“Participation is the single biggest problem facing the industry and we cannot let NFM disappear from the calendar,” said new ATA Chairman and CEO, John Loftus. “Despite a significant financial shortfall, we will make it happen come what may. But we really need the help of more fishing tackle businesses to do the best job possible.
“There are various ways people can help, but the best is to join the ATA. Membership fees are our lifeblood and will help fund our activities.”
A handful of companies have long been staunch supporters of NFM, but the association says it needs more to get involved. Product is needed for participants, NFM organisers and competition prizes, while cash donations are also welcome.
The ATA is currently discussing a sponsorship proposal for NFM with one of the industry’s biggest retailers.
“We are also considering a fund-raising initiative via an online tackle auction and any contributions to this would be very welcome,” said Board member and Daiwa Managing Director, Robin Morley, who has already pledged a top of the range pole to the cause.
The ATA has entered 2019 with a new momentum. Industry veteran John Loftus was last week announced as the new Chairman and CEO with a remit to build membership. Companies including Shimano, Preston Innovations and Glasgow Angling Centre are among new members to have signed up in recent weeks.