Following his last appearance in an official capacity at EFTTEX 2019, Jean-Claude, who will retire in October after more than a decade in the association's hot seat, has urged the trade to support the association as its strives to protect the sector from many threats facing it.
"The industry is facing many environment pressures, including resources, the issue of lead in tackle, discarded plastic in the oceans and heightened activity from animal-rights extremists.
"The 'green' political influence is growing, particularly in Brussels. A few years ago the industry was laughing at it - now we risk crying into the next decade. "We can no longer act like an ostrich and keep our heads in the sand. The 'wait and see' attitude is short-term. The industry must become more structured to face and anticipate what will happen, not only by acting politically in each country, but also supporting EFTTA in Brussels as it tackles European issues on production policies, packaging and sustainable products.
"The fishing tackle industry cannot deny that it has played a part in the destruction of our playground. Now we have to show to the politicians our commitment to quickly finding alternatives to the most controversial products. Some companies are already well advanced in that direction and I hope they will show and lead the way in industry sustainability."
Jean-Claude added he was satisfied with his last show in charge. "The atmosphere during the show was positive business-wise. Along with Jacques Prallet I visited many exhibitors and they were happy with the quality of the contacts they made. Their booths were busy despite a strange economic environment and weak performances compared to previous years of a European market that has been affected by the political situation, concerns over Brexit, the US import policy and a declining Chinese fishing tackle industry."
Jean-Claude added that things could always be better. "However, we lost a number of big booths because of acquisitions and mergers and saw a concentration of several companies on one stand. It also has not helped that some have changed their strategies establishing strong European distribution networks and trying to show that they do not need to meet their customers.
But saying that, a very positive number of bookings for 2020 in Prague show a lot of interest and after 11 years as the CEO I’m leaving the association and the exhibition in good stead.