‘a reason to belong to AFTA’

Bob Baldwin

Chairperson, Australian Fishing Trade Association

AFTA Chair's Report AGM 2020

The past 12 months have not been without challenges for our industry at all levels.  As stated in my last Chair’s Report, the “Perfect Storm” of devastating events across Australia has impacted every wholesaler, retailer and media operators because it has impacted on our base, the individual recreational fishers.

If you ever needed a more compelling reason to belong to AFTA, here it is. It was a direct result of AFTA’s hard work in representations to various State Ministers that had recreational fishing designated as “a form of exercise” and “a means of collecting food”, albeit with individual state-based restrictions from the beginning of the lockdowns. The Victorian government inclusion was a little delayed, but the final result much welcomed.

Reports from various wholesalers and retailers have shown there is a light at the end of the tunnel, in fact in recent weeks, some are talking of incredible sales that in part are helping to make up the sales gap that occurred from December – March.


AFTA’s engagement with individual Ministers, politicians and government agencies across the divide has been constant and meaningful in building stronger and beneficial relationships. Whilst AFTA will never take a partisan line advocating for a political party, we will advocate for the best possible policy results for Recreational Fishing.  With elections this year in the Northern Territory (August 2020), Queensland (October 2020), ACT (October 2020) and Western Australia (March 2021) there is a lot of work to do and policy ideas to collect from our members, so please submit your policy ideas and concerns so we AFTA can advocate on your behalf.  We will distribute a policy analysis from each State for you to consider and distribute to your base ahead of the elections.

It has been a privilege and an honour to serve the AFTA Board as an Independent Chair for the past 12 months,  I thank President Michael Starkey and the Board for their individual dedication and input in working through these testing times, exacerbated by the need to cancel this year’s AFTA Show due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The AFTA Board met:
Sydney Meeting:             29 October 2019
Brisbane Meeting:             4 March 2020
Update Covid Meeting:     23 April 2020
Update Covid Meeting:     2 April 2020
Video Meeting:                  27 May 2020

The Boards leadership and commitment to our industry shone through with the AFTA Fishing Industry Natural Disaster Appeal raising in excess of $120,000 to support affected areas.

Retiring Board Member and Past President;
Colin Tannahill

I want to express my sincere appreciation to former President, Past President and Life Member, Col Tannahill (Shimano) for his leadership, commitment & guidance to AFTA, and I, in particular, for his personal support over the years.  Col has decided it is time to let a new generation take AFTA forward with a commitment he will always be available at the end of a phone or ready for a cuppa should AFTA Board members need to reach out to him.  Thank you, Col.

I also recognise the tremendous contribution of former VP, Damian Kerves who sadly retired upon leaving Rapala last year and I thank Mitch Birt (Pure Fishing) for taking on the additional role of Vice President.

Retired Vice President;
Damian Kerves

The ability to renew and refresh any organisation is important, I welcome the 3 new AFTA Board members, Alicia Bolitho, (Tackleworld, Port Lincoln) as a Retail Division Board Member,  Kord Luckus (L. Wilson & Co), Ben Scales (Jarvis Walker) as Wholesale Division Board members.

There will be a lot of work to do over the next 12 months and it is not just the Board meetings or AFTA Trade Show that consume Board members time, but also the many emails/phone calls and AFTA projects that go unseen by many.

I don’t wish to re-hash what I have previously reported on as Chair, these reports are readily available at:

January 2020               https://afta.net.au/chairpersons-report-january-2020/
February 2020             https://afta.net.au/chairreportfeb2020/
May 2020                    https://afta.net.au/afta-chairs-report-may-2020/

Finally, I thank the Board for the opportunity to serve as Independent Chair and look forward to the next 12 months helping grow our industry for the benefit of our members.