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hooting & Fishing business

An independent voice for the tackle and gun trade

December 2009

Country values The role of gamekeepers in field sport protection



The growing problem of KHV, and advice for avoiding an outbreak

HArris Tweed

The historical, economic and industrial importance of an iconic fabric



Contents Editor’s letter Roundup 


The latest news from the industry



Lindsay Waddell, chairman of the National Gamekeepers Organisation, discusses with Louise Hoffman the importance of countryside management

The fabric of tradition


Louise Hoffman takes a look at the history of Harris Tweed, its economic importance, and its place within the country clothing industry

Six of the best 


Binoculars are an essential item for many country pursuits



Handing a treasured family retail business on to the next generation requires care, tact and planning, says Brian David



Industry shows, forums and meetings

Voice on the highstreet 


Tim Hammond of G.T. Shooting in Coulsdon

Shooting focus Comment 


BASC’s Conor O’Gorman tackles the prickly subject of airgun safety legislation – is a ban looking likely for 2010?

Taking stock 


A selection of new products from the shooting industry

Fishing focus A quiet threat 


By the time this issue of Shooting & Fishing Business reaches you, the Christmas season should be in full swing. There’s no escaping the fact that the month of December is a stressful one, but with good planning, attention to detail and plenty of A+ customer service, the rewards will be well worth it!


nside the magazine this month are plenty of stock ideas for the coming year, from jackets and gloves (pages 10 and 11), to fishing flies and polarised overglasses (pages 22 and 23), to binoculars (pages 28 and 29). On page 24, I take a look at the history of Harris Tweed – an iconic name within the country clothing industry – and the ways in which designers are maintaining the appeal of the fabric in the 21st century. Meanwhile, on page 10, I catch up with Lindsay Waddell, chairman of the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO), who explains the important role that gamekeepers play in protecting and managing our countryside – work which also helps to ensure the continued survival of field sports. Michael Northcott reports on Koi herpes virus (KHV), an issue which is becoming a growing problem for anglers and fishery owners alike. Turn to page 16 to find out more, including advice for avoiding or dealing with an outbreak. Meanwhile, for this month’s business article, Brian David provides guidance for handing a family retail business down to the next generation – a process which requires tact, diplomacy, and lots of forward planning. And finally, on pages 9, 19 and 21, our columnists discuss some of the latest issues affecting the shooting and fishing world. Wishing you a profitable Christmas and New Year!

Michael Northcott reports on the growing problem of Koi herpes virus, and the advice issued for avoiding or dealing with an outbreak



Mark Lloyd of the Angling Trust sees trouble ahead if the Environment Agency succeeds in introducing operator self-monitoring



Paul Knight of the Salmon & Trout Association discusses the problems that illadvised hydropower schemes can cause

Taking stock  A selection of new products from the fishing industry


Louise Hoffman



hooting & Fishing business

Deputy Editor Louise Hoffman Editorial Assistant Louise Miles Production Editor Matt Bower Group Advertisement Manager Kelly Smith Advertisement Manager Julie-Ann Kwok Sales Executive Katie Thurgood Accounts Tina Pitcher Customer Services Contributing writers: Michael Northcott, Conor O’Gorman Mark Lloyd, Paul Knight and Brian David Design Emma Aldous, Arthouse

Shooting & Fishing Business is published monthly by:

Mulberry Publications Ltd

Mulberry Publications Ltd, Wellington House, Butt Road, Colchester CO3 3DA Tel: 01206 767 797 Fax: 01206 767 532 The editor and publishers do not guarantee the accuracy of statements made by contributors or advertisers, or accept responsibility for any statement that they express in this publication. The opinion of the contributors may not necessarily be the opinion of the publishers. Articles are considered for publication on the basis that they are the author’s original work. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the permission of the publishers.

BASC advises game rearers to abandon battery pheasant cages The shooting world should seize the opportunity to rid itself of battery cages used by about 10 game rearers in this country to produce pheasant eggs, advises the BASC. The Association highlights the social, environmental and economic values of responsible game shooting. BASC also emphasises the importance of skilled husbandry in all game rearing and gamekeeping, and the need to provide adequate space and living conditions for birds before they are released into the wild.    Defra has published a draft code of practice on game rearing for England, as part of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. A consultation on the code runs from 24 November until 18 January 2010. The Government intends to approve the code by April next year. After that, anyone involved in game rearing risks conviction for an animal welfare offence under the 2006 Act if they do not comply.

BRC warns retailers to beware of delivery vehicle attacks As we move into the peak season for attacks on cash delivery vehicles, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is launching a set of security guidelines to help retailers and couriers to thwart robbers. While other categories of reported serious and violent crime have been declining, the number of ‘cash and valuables in transit’ (CVIT) robberies is increasing. In the first 10 months of 2009 there were 911 (figures compiled by SaferCash) of these offences in the UK – 15 per cent more than the 791 in the same period in 2008. Of the attacks, 35 per cent were on deliveries to retailers, with the street being the commonest place. It is estimated that up to £2 billion of cash and valuables is transported in the UK each day. The BRC guidance provides a ‘checklist’ for retailers to assess their anti-robbery measures. Please see the website for more details:

Young Shots Day is a success A group of young shooters came together recently to advance their expertise to the next level in their hunting careers. On the 28 October BASC Eastern Region held a Young Shots Simulated Game Day at Burrow Hill Farm in Chatteris, by kind permission of Trevor Scott and Sentry Simulated Game. The fast pace of the drives, which mimic partridge and pheasant drives as closely as possible, means it is a real test for the youngsters. Throughout the day they were able to practice shooting safely, accurately, and courteously when under the pressure of a busy drive, all under the watchful eye of BASC shotgun coaches. They also had the opportunity to shoot Sentry’s 50 bird sporting layout, again with the expert help of their individual coaches, so that any problems with their technique could be ironed out.


‘Wild Fishing Wales’ project Environment Agency Wales is inviting people in North and West Wales and the Valleys to attend one of six seminars being held across the country promoting improvement to access and habitats in rivers and still water fisheries. The seminars are designed to raise awareness of the assistance available from ‘Wild Fishing Wales’, a £2.6 million EU funded project aimed at boosting the rural economy in the area through angling tourism. Representatives from the Agency will be explaining the funding available to fisheries, angling clubs and river trusts to help improve access to fishing and habitat for fish. Those taking part will be able to learn more about the training available for angling guides as part of the project, and also the promotional opportunities for fishing sites in these parts of Wales. For further details on each of the events planned across Wales please visit www.

Top tips for temporary staff With the busy festive season fast approaching, many retailers may be thinking about employing temporary staff to meet increasing customer demand. Premierline Direct is offering guidance to businesses when considering this option. The published guidelines include making sure you are covered by employment law. All businesses employing one or more members of staff must have employer’s liability cover for at least £5 million. Standard on most insurance policies, it provides cover if the business has to pay damages as a result of injury or disease caused in the workplace, to an employee. Temporary staff members are likely to be covered by the business’ insurance policy, so there is usually no need to inform your insurer when extra employees are hired, but it’s surprising to know that research shows 27 per cent of business owners didn’t know whether they need to be covered in the first place. When recruiting temporary staff, as with permanent positions, it is essential to obtain references to ensure they are responsible. Make sure their background is thoroughly checked and ask questions about their work ethic, whether their previous employer would hire them again and if they have ever been subject to disciplinary action. To protect your business some insurers offer cover against incidents such as an employee stealing from the business, however this may be invalidated if adequate references are not taken prior to employment. Other tips can be found at or call 0800 107 9373.

National Taste of Game Week Hundreds of people were able to enjoy their first ‘taste of game’ at special events held at Borough Market in London as part of National Taste of Game Week. Top chefs Mark Gilchrist and Mike Robinson talked to visitors about how game makes its way from field to fork, how to prepare and cook game, as well as giving them the opportunity to try a wide range of game including venison, pheasant, partridge and rabbit. The tastings at Borough Market were held from the 19 to 20 November during National Taste of Game Week, which is organised by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation as part of its ‘Game’s On’ campaign.

and briey Airgun safety should be ‘common sense’ Britain’s largest shooting organisation says airgun safety should be a matter of common sense rather than legislation. Responding to the Government’s proposal in the Queen’s speech to draft a law to ensure that airguns are stored securely out of the reach of children, the BASC said airgun safety is a matter of good sense and good practice and all legitimate users of airguns are aware of safety precautions including access and storage. Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said: “It is regrettable that a small number of incidents of abuse and carelessness have prompted government action. However, even a single accident is one too many and BASC understands public concern and will support measures which will reduce the misuse of airguns, while not impinging on the practices of safe and law-abiding airgun users.”

Online retail market A recent collection of research carried out by accountancy firm Deloitte, claims the online retail market, worth £9 billion in the UK in 2005, will leap to £25 billion by 2010, as more consumers switch to the convenience of online purchasing. Deloitte also found that 46 per cent of people buy more products online now compared to the previous year. However, there is still room for improvement, with 61 per cent saying retailers need to offer a more flexible service, such as in-store collection. The research also claims that about 75 per cent of retailers say online sales have increased compared to this time last year, while 85 per cent expect them to increase over the next 12 months.

Tight Lines podcast Tight Lines is the UK’s number one fishing show and now there is no need to miss an episode thanks to the all-new podcast. are offering the Tight Lines podcast every week, so you can download and take it with you wherever you go... perfect for long days on the riverbank. Keith Arthur is in the bothy every Friday evening on Sky Sports, bringing you great guests, top tips and lively chat about all the issues from the world of fishing. And now if you can not get in front of your TV screens on a Friday night, you can log on to every Monday and download the podcast.

Shooting sports awards In the recent Wheelpower Awards, now a fixture on the disability sport calendar, Jean Guild won the Best Female Newcomer for her passion – shooting. There was no mistaking the confidence displayed by the award winner who insisted she not only wanted a medal at London 2012, but wanted nothing less than gold. Certainly one to watch out for.


Representing at home and aboard Congratulations to the Individuals Sea Angling Club (ISAC) who were granted the honour of representing the Angling Trust at the 17th World Shore Angling Championship for Clubs, an annual event organised under the control the Federation Internationale de la Peche Sportive en Mer (C.I.P. S/F.I.P. S-M). The 2009 competition attracted 17 teams from nine nations and was hosted by the German Anglers Association (DAV) in Kuhlungsborn near Rostock from the 1 to 7 November. The team representing ISAC were: Captain, Steve Deathe (Southampton), Darren Phillips (Lee on the Solent), Ian Dancey (Waterlooville), John Brown (Southampton), Ally Harvey (Warnham) and Team Manager Trevor Sutch (Portchester).

Fisherman’s expansion The largest angling franchise company in Europe is planning to accelerate its growth in 2010. Germanybased Fisherman’s Partner believes it is at the forefront of a retail revolution and is actively seeking retailers to join its partnership. Fisherman’s Partner already has franchises in eight European countries, and marketing consultant Dieter Willenbruch has even gone so far as to declare that the “epoch of the wholesale trade is coming to an end”. “Organised retailers will begin taking the place of wholesalers,” he tells Angling International magazine this month. “Some large retailers are already importing successfully and franchise is the logical consequence of this changing market condition.”

The great debate Defra has announced its intention to publish a draft Animal Health Bill in January which proposes to establish a new independent body for animal health in England. Most shooting organisations do not believe that game rearers should have to contribute to the costs of such a body because game rearing is seasonal, nonagricultural, and such a financial burden would only encourage imports of game bird eggs and chicks from overseas, creating a greater disease risk. For more information on this topical debate please visit

Taste of Game Dinner The next Taste of Game Dinner is scheduled to take place on Thursday 4 February 2010 at The Queen’s Head, Hawkedon. There will only be one evening on this occasion, so book early to avoid disappointment. The cost of the dinner will be £30 per head, which includes a donation to BASC. The evening starts at 7.00pm and dinner will begin at 7.30pm. Closing date for applications is Wednesday 20 January.

EFTTEX is the greatest gathering in Europe for the international fishing tackle trade industry, and 2010 is set to be bigger and better than ever with more than 30 per cent bookings on this time last year, suggesting confidence is returning to the tackle industry. The 2010 event will be held be in Spain for the first time in its history, and will take place in Valencia between the 11 and 13 June. The floorplan has just been published, and it shows an increase in space sold of 796 square metres over this time last year. Neena Tailor, EFTTEX exhibition manager, said: “We have 176 companies booked, compared to 134 this time last year. It’s going really well, bookings are coming in every day right now. I believe this is a strong sign that the economy is slowly picking up.”

Protecting your business against the winter weather With the arrival of winter, insurance providers are advising businesses to protect their premises, not only from the bitter cold, but also from other dangers that could be awaiting them. As the seasons change, the risks that businesses face can also vary. For example, as the weather is gradually getting colder, companies must protect themselves from frozen pipes, which could potentially put them out of business for some time. To prevent this there are easy tips to follow: provide suitable lagging to exposed sections of pipe work to prevent freezing; heating can be set to automatically start if temperatures fall too low; and if premises are going to be unoccupied for some time, isolate and drain the water services. For further help and advice on how you can protect you business, contact your broker or visit

Retail businesses are rewarded for supporting apprenticeships Retail businesses across England are being urged to show their commitment to apprenticeships by displaying a new ‘badge’ on their websites or stationery. The Apprenticeship employers’ badge, which was launched in November, has been developed in response to consumer demand. Recent research, commissioned by the National Apprenticeship Service, showed that 64 per cent of consumers would use a register enabling them to choose a business that hires apprentices, and over 80 per cent of people are more likely to use a business if it offers apprenticeships to young people. Once an organisation has put the badge on its website, its logo will in turn be placed on the Apprenticeships website – ensuring their customers can see they support young people. With 11,800 apprentice starts last year, the retail sector is really set to benefit from this new initiative. Employers who want to get involved in Apprenticeships should call 0800 015 0600.

© EFTTA 2009

and briey

EFTTEX 2010 event bookings up 30 per cent on previous year


Reservoir work blamed for 2009 River Earn disaster A court has heard how the pond plans of one of the UK’s richest men caused a major ecological disaster in March last year. Property tycoon Paul Thwaites, 55, had hoped to convert an overgrown reservoir into a private fishery on the Dunira Estate in Perthshire, but the damage caused by the work led to one of the worst pollution incidents ever recorded by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). His contractor, Richard Philp, had smashed through the reservoir wall with a digger, causing the water to empty out into a tributary and consequently into the River Earn, with a total of 15 kilometres of river affected. His actions led to 1,000 tonnes of silt pouring into the fresh water and destroying important spawning grounds for brown trout, sea trout and salmon.

Alpha Feeds supports retired greyhound fundraising event The working dog food company Alpha Feeds was delighted to support a fundraising event for Retired Greyhound Re-homing. The sponsored walk was organised by Barley Kennels on behalf of Walthamstow Owners and Welfare Association. The walk raised more than £2,000 and Alpha Feeds provided bags of dog food and raffle prizes. Each year the fundraising team organises a number of initiatives to raise the funds required to continue to re-home retired greyhounds. The Walthamstow Owners and Welfare Association is an independent group that has re-homed an incredible 1,100 greyhounds over the last eight years. This year’s event – the Golden Mile Greyhound Walk through Epping Forest – saw each owner raise sponsorship for their dogs, along with resident kennel dogs being sponsored by the public.

New sales statistics are positive news for retailers Recent statistics have shown that UK retail sales values rose 3.8 per cent on a likefor-like basis from October 2008, when sales had fallen 2.2 per cent due to turmoil in financial markets hitting consumer confidence. On a total basis, sales rose 5.9 per cent against a 0.1 per cent decline in October 2008. Non-food non-store sales (internet, mail-order and phone sales) in October were 18.0 per cent higher than a year ago, compared with 11.9 per cent in September. The faster growth rate in October than in September was in line with the improvement in store sales. Postal strikes prompted some online retailers to switch to other delivery services.

and briey Monofil-Technik steps up export plans German line company Monofil-Technik GmbH is stepping up its search for distributors in new territories. Famous for its well-known Platil brand, Monofil-Technik has identified Italy, Austria, Denmark, Finland and the UK as priority countries for new, exclusive distributors. “Italy is a big but difficult market,” said export sales manager director Dirk Sowietzki. “Austria and the UK have never been easy for Platil to find the kind of suitable long-term partner we are seeking; and Denmark is a country with a very attractive coast for fishing but where we have had little contact for too long. In Finland our former distributor took the unheralded decision to leave us so there is an opportunity there too.”

New marine conservation sites A dozen new marine conservation sites could be established around the UK’s seas to protect wildlife, under proposals published last month. The new sites consist of 10 possible Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protect habitats such as cold water reefs and sandbanks, and two potential Special Protection Areas (SPAs), which are designed to conserve bird species. The designations could affect activities such as fishing, recreation, sand and gravel extraction, wind farms and the oil and gas industry. The undersea habitats that would be protected would be sandbanks, which act as nursery grounds for fish and support sand eels which are food for seabirds and seals, sea caves and reefs which support sponges, sea squirts and corals, as well as crabs, lobsters and fish.

Sea angling has been ‘smothered’ by restrictions Members of Parliament are being urged to tell fisheries minister Huw Irranca-Davies that Britain’s recreational sea angling industry is in danger of being “smothered by the restrictions and rules of management regimes” that are really only intended to control the European commercial fishing industry. It could be saved through continued negotiation at home and by diplomacy in Brussels and would not need extra taxpayers’ money. The Angling Trust also calls on the minister to stop illegal commercial overfishing to enable fish stocks to recover from years of being abused.

Queen’s Speech introduces rules The announcement of the Government’s legislative programme confirms it plans to open the door to new costs for employers. Reacting to the Queen’s Speech, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the Government seems determined to press ahead with misguided measures on equal pay and temporary workers: new burdens which would be wrong at anytime but should not be diverting retailers’ resources and attention in these tough and uncertain times.



Airguns back in the political spotlight BASC’s Conor O’Gorman thinks that airgun safety should be a matter of common sense rather than legislation, but political pressure for greater regulation and even a ban is gaining momentum for 2010


s a teenager I spent many enjoyable summer hours plinking cans and other assorted targets. We treated airguns with common sense and the same applied when throwing knifes, and when using catapults, homemade crossbows and peg guns. We also knew that the consequences of any accident, whether to each other or to property, would be met by our parents with ‘a ban’ of unknown quantity and possibly even a grounding on top of that. However, I cannot recall any accidents among my friends that led to parental involvement, let alone the police. Fast forward 20 years and it seems that every week there is something in the press relating to airgun ‘incidents’. Namely, these relate to domestic animals being illegally shot, but there have also been some tragedies involving children. I

don’t know if this means that there are more airgun incidents these days than a few decades ago, or if it is related to the media spotlight on gun crime, but in either case it has led to unprecedented political pressure to further regulate their use, particularly in Scotland. Indeed, recent press reports indicate plans are afoot to hand over control of airguns in Scotland from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament. Regulation relating to the use of firearms is Westminster based, but demands for this devolution of power, made by the SNP government and the Calman Commission, have so far been resisted by the Home Office. Some hardliners seek nothing less than a ban on airguns, and see devolution of power as the means to achieve that. But airgun use is already well regulated by law and the idea that a transfer of authority would lead to a ban in Scotland is simplistic, given that there are an estimated 500,000 airguns in Scotland and six million in the UK. The last thing that either the police or shooters need is more complex legislation or licensing. However, recent tragedies involving young children gaining unsupervised access to airguns have made their mark, and in November the government proposed a draft law for debate that would require users of airguns to keep them stored securely out of the reach of children. BASC has been discussing this matter with government for some time and anticipates legislation which, if parliamentary time allows, would place a responsibility on airgun owners to take reasonable precautions to keep them safely stored and out of the reach of children. This is a common sense approach and one that is already followed by the vast majority of airgun users. However, in an age where Dennis the Menace has had his trusty catapult, water pistol, and peashooter confiscated by BBC bosses in their new cartoon series, one wonders if common sense approaches will be enough…

Conor O’Gorman is policy development manager for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). Is there a policy issue you would like explained in more detail in the next issue of Shooting & Fishing Business? Contact the author with comments at


Rural preservation

Gamekeepers play a pivotal role in the protection and management of our countryside, and the continued success of our field sports. Louise Hoffman speaks with Lindsay Waddell, chairman of the National Gamekeepers Organisation

Interview  11

What is the history of the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO)? The NGO was set up in 1997 by a small group of gamekeepers led by David Clark, now the president, who were not satisfied with the representation gamekeeping was receiving from their representative body. The changes in the organisation have been quite dramatic in some respects as, from a standing start with part time voluntary staff, we now have three full time staff in our office, as well as two development officers ‘on the road’ to assist regional chairmen, set up shows, help with training and education, and generally aid the running of the organisation. We also employ two PR staff – one in the media and one in political work – both of whom work on a freelance basis.

What are the organisation’s objectives in the present day? The objectives have not changed since the NGO was formed, although there may be more emphasis on some things than on others. • To provide proper representation for the gamekeeping profession • To be the first point of contact for anyone seeking information on gamekeeping activities • To raise the profile and public understanding of gamekeeping, as well as promoting the positive impact that our management has on the countryside • And last but not least, to counter adverse publicity.

How does the NGO operate? The NGO is organised by a network of regional committees with a regional chairman, all working gamekeepers. There are 22 at the moment, and they come together a few times per year to decide policy and other matters of interest. The day-to-day work goes on through the office, with all matters requiring attention being fed through the chairman and the other members of staff. Campaigns are led by the most appropriate member of the team.

We should not of course forget the financial value of field sports to the countryside. The recent PACEC Report put that value at £1.6 billion The NGO is becoming more involved in the training of gamekeepers, following demand from members. We are embarking upon a police training programme for the coming year, once again in response to the membership pointing out the lack of knowledge of all matters regarding field sports within the police force. It will, all being well, help all those who come into contact with the police regarding their sport, from firearms, to poaching, to predator control. Without the internet we simply could not do our work, as much of the information is passed on that way and it enables working gamekeepers to still be in control of, and run, their organisation.

What led you to become involved in the organisation? My involvement was quite straightforward really, as I was the chairman of the Moorland Gamekeepers Association, which had been in existence for a decade before the NGO. We had been very successful in our own right but were only dealing with upland matters, so when the time was right we amalgamated with NGO and a few years later I was elected NGO chairman.

How has the gamekeeping profession changed over the years? How do you see it changing in the future? Gamekeeping has changed quite a lot in a generation. High volume rearing has altered the way many shoots run, and this has also opened up shooting to many more people as it has become more affordable. It is no longer the domain of the sporting elite. That volume of game has also made the end product more attractive to consumers, and I’m delighted to see the sales of

12 Interview

Strength comes from numbers, so the more people we can get participating the stronger we will be

game increasing year on year – 15 per cent increase this season alone, I understand. Appropriate training is now more or less demanded by all employers, as well as being a legal requisite, so most gamekeepers have far more official training than their predecessors. We are also being far more open about what we do in an attempt to promote what we do. As for the future, providing we continue to be responsible then I feel there will be a place for gamekeepers in the countryside for many years to come, as without us, there will be little of the countryside left as we know it. The more professional we become the better we can withstand attacks on our profession.

What do you see as the key problems currently facing gamekeepers? Ignorance, prejudice and legislation. With the real danger being a combination of all three.

How important is gamekeeping to the UK countryside? Gamekeeping is vital to our countryside. Without management in the uplands we would lose our moors, as well as the internationally important birds we have there. The public value the wide open spaces, and they would soon become covered in scrub if the rotational burning practiced by the gamekeeper, so important for the sheep as well as the birds, was to cease. In the lowlands the songbird population would decline badly if it were not for all the crops planted for game birds, which help the others through the winter months. Then there is woodland management, including deer control, and all the

predator control carried out, which aids all the other species. We should not of course forget the financial value of field sports to the countryside. The recent PACEC Report put that value at £1.6 billion – no small amount by any standards.

How can gamekeepers and those involved in field sports work together to ensure a flourishing future for the UK countryside? Co-operation and co-ordination are the keys for success, and by mobilising our resources we have science and logic on our side to fight the case for field sports. The manner in which we do this is important, and we require the best efforts of all the industry to put forward our case. PR from retailers, to clay grounds, to fishing lakes – they can all help educate the public and get more of them involved in the countryside and field sports. Strength comes from numbers, so the more people we can get participating the stronger we will be.

What are your goals for NGO during your time as chairman? If I can leave NGO better and stronger than when I came into the seat I will be content. We now have around 15,000 members, and that number is growing at around 1,000 per year. We have an exceptional group of staff working for the cause, so I am content we are doing something right, which is being recognised by those who wish to join us. Most importantly, the organisation is still being run by gamekeepers, for gamekeepers.

AD  13


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16 KHV

A quiet threat

KHV  17

The Koi herpes virus (KHV) is becoming a growing problem for fisheries and anglers. Michael Northcott takes a look at the current situation, and the advice issued for avoiding or dealing with an outbreak


t first glance, the name of this virus doesn’t necessarily suggest that it is of major significant to the fishing industry; such viruses would be assumed to be the plague of pond-owners, not lake fisheries. Quite to the contrary, however, this virus is a growing problem for fisheries and anglers alike. There is no known cure for this virus, and with a near 50 per cent mortality rate for infected fish, the onus is on the fisheries to introduce controls protecting their stocks. According to the only way of ascertaining whether an apparently healthy fish is carrying the virus in its latent form (similar to the way in which herpes operates in humans), is to conduct an antibody test. Herpes works by ‘hiding’ from the immune system when latent. In humans, this is normally in an ‘intra-cellular’ capacity, meaning that symptoms are neither experienced nor detected by the body, because otherwise healthy cells do not attract phagocytes (the immune system’s antibodies for attacking intruder or infected cells). Scientific studies have isolated where it is that the virus hides in humans, and consequently there are a number of treatments available to combat the disease (although rarely is a full cure achieved). In Koi, it is not yet known where the virus hides, and owing to the significantly different anatomy of a fish, it will be some time before this information will come to light.

There is no known cure for this virus, and [there is] a near 50 per cent mortality rate for infected fish As yet, it is thought that all the fishery owner can do is to test healthy fish for presence of the KHV antibody. If KHV antibodies can be detected in the test, then the fish has been previously infected, and is a carrier of the virus. This means that when the virus comes out of latency and shows symptoms, scores of other fish can be easily infected. You may ask, ‘Why does it matter if the fish has had the disease and survived it?’ The answer is simple: there are very few numbers of fish that will survive the disease, and thus if they spread their infection, the recipients will almost certainly not survive it. The principle problem, however, is for large fisheries, where it is a logistical nightmare to introduce any sort of screening programme involving such tests. Many fisheries are already asserting their own rules. The most common techniques to at least keep the virus out work on similar principles to those that combated foot and mouth disease. Making sure anglers use nets that have been disinfected for 15 minutes and then rinsed thoroughly prior to use is a sure way of reducing the possibility of anglers themselves introducing the infection. We spoke with Mr David DeVere, director of Premier Fisheries, the largest commercial fisheries group in the UK. He told us that while the contaminations usually come from anglers or the introduction of contaminated stock, there have even been cases of lakes and ponds ‘contracting’ the virus without a known point of contamination. Additionally, small privately owned ponds can seemingly be contaminated with the disease without the introduction of new fish, or any

18 KHV

angling. The only feasible theory for this is that wild fowl are carrying it, or it can survive water-borne and make its way through streams or underground flows. Interestingly, KHV has now been classified as a notifiable disease, meaning that if a fishery detects the disease in its stock, it is a requirement to inform CEFAS (an arm of DEFRA), as the mortality rate is around 50 per cent for infected fish – catastrophic for the small fishery owner, whose stocks can be difficult to replenish. According to Mr DeVere, the basic steps that the fishery owner can take to avoid KHV are: make sure lakes are not overstocked, and make sure water quality is near perfect as much as possible. Contravention of either of these two basic maintenance issues results in stressed and therefore immuneweak fish. Even if a fishery has any infected fish in its stocks, then keeping water quality and numbers well under control can prevent the fish ever becoming weak enough to allow KHV to come out of dormancy. It is only the active symptoms which will cause loss of fish.

There have even been cases of lakes and ponds ‘contracting’ the virus without a known point of contamination Generally, however, it appears that the majority of fisheries have not experienced any major KHV issues. The disease remains a quiet threat, which many will never have to suffer. It is a worrying development for many that without any obvious and recordable periods of incidents of contamination, the virus appears still able to spread. However, promoting the routine

and compulsory cleaning of landing nets and indeed all fishing gear, coupled with excellent regulation of water quality and population sizes, should avoid the need to engage in extensive antibody detection tests, which are simply not a practicable option for the many. The fact that it is a notifiable disease is not necessarily an indicator that it is reaching dangerous levels. Most fisheries have been able to continue operating untouched by the virus, or have been able to combat it relatively quickly. Advice is available from CEFAS, and the disease does not show signs currently of exhibiting a catastrophically powerful threat – our fisheries remain well within the clutches of safety for the time being. It is ‘a quiet threat’, that requires awareness, but not panic.

Outbreaks of KHV by Region: 2009 Source: Bristol 5 # Cambridgeshire 2 # Cornwall 3 # Derbyshire 3 # Hampshire 4 # Hereford 2 # Kent 2 # Leicestershire 4 # Lincolnshire 4 # London area 7 # London (S) 4 # Midlands 8 #

Northampton 3 # Norfolk 3 # Nottinghamshire 6 # Oxford 5 # Scotland 2 # Somerset 3 # Staffordshire 2 # Sussex 5# Yorkshire 6 # Warwickshire 3 # West Country 8 # Wales 6 #

Comment  19

What’s that coming over the hill? Mark Lloyd from the Angling Trust scans the horizon and sees monsters lurking


ast month, the River Trent was polluted with a deadly cocktail of cyanide and raw sewage, killing tens of thousands of fish, just weeks after the Angling Trust launched a campaign with WWF and the HSBC climate partnership calling for action on surface water pollution. Such incidents could become more common if Environment Agency (EA) proposals for ‘operator self-monitoring’ become reality. The plans would see water companies and other companies put in charge of monitoring their own environmental performance. This is rather like the police asking you to check your own speed on the motorway. What would you do? Slow down to 70, take the reading, and then return to cruising along at 80? Water companies can hardly be trusted to police themselves – there have been several examples of companies providing false information in recent years. We have recently been highlighting many companies’ shameless tactic of appealing every new condition that the EA has attempted to place on their polluting discharges. This ties up the EA’s lawyers and puts the improvements to water quality firmly into the long legal grass of the appeals process. Also on the horizon is the review of the Common Fisheries Policy, which has been responsible for the emptying of our seas

in recent decades. Given the massive presence of commercial fishing interests at the launch in London, recreational anglers will have to fight hard to slow the trawlers’ relentless destructive work. The number, and size, of fish in the sea is a key factor for the sea angling industry. Newcomers to the sport will quickly become disenchanted if they don’t catch anything, and keen anglers will fish a lot less if they only catch a few small fish. Anglers regularly have to watch from the beach as trawlers with giant nets sweep the water in front of them. I recently had a call from one of our members who had his reel emptied in a shore fishing competition after a trawler picked up his bait with its net. We need to fight hard to keep trawlers away from the shore; to apply national fisheries laws to foreign boats within the 12 mile limit; and to create Marine Conservation Zones where damaging commercial fishing is banned. We will be competing with a multi-million pound PR machine working on behalf of commercial fishermen. Back on the rivers, in the last few years we have seen a flurry of proposals for generating hydropower from running water. Most of these schemes are not economically viable and many of them would be very damaging to fish stocks and flows unless they are designed with appropriate screening. It’s not just salmon, sea trout and eels which migrate up rivers; most coarse fish travel many miles from spawning to feeding habitats. We have managed successfully to oppose two planning applications on the basis of damage to fisheries, and we have got the guidelines for developers tightened up, but there remain some 60 planned schemes on Dartmoor alone, and more than 1,000 across the country.

These are just a few of the areas where the Angling Trust is working on behalf of angling. We will need far higher levels of support if we are to make our voice heard above the clamour from polluters, commercial fishermen and others who would damage our fishing. Visit for more information.

20  ad

Comment  21

When Green isn’t necessarily Good Paul Knight, Salmon & Trout Association CEO, identifies the problems ill-advised hydropower schemes can cause


he fisheries world is having to face a bizarre policy issue at the moment. As the ‘eyes and ears’ of our waterways, as David Bellamy once famously called us, we know that carbon emissions and global warming are likely to have a serious effect on the aquatic environment and fish stocks. Anything that could help alleviate that situation should be welcomed, and so the Government’s wish for renewable energy would seem, at first sight, to be a policy we should support. However, the current rush to build a hydropower unit on every conceivable weir or mill leat threatens to impact water habitats and fish to an alarming degree. And the main problem is that all these applications – whether from individuals with a riverside house, or from commercial hydro developers – are being processed by the Environment Agency (EA) and planning authorities on a piecemeal basis. There is no strategy for hydropower in England and Wales; the EA knows that one is needed, and is working to establish one, but hydro schemes are still being allowed on an individual basis without any real idea what the cumulative effect might be on a particular river system.

There are potentially four main problems associated with hydropower development: • The weirs required to create the head of water necessary to drive turbines can cause barriers to fish migration – salmon and sea trout, of course, but also eels, lampreys and several species of coarse fish which migrate throughout river systems. Unless sufficient water flows through an adjacent fish pass, fish will not be able to reach spawning areas. Also, migratory fish massing in unnaturally large shoals below barriers will attract increased predation, poaching and the risk of disease outbreaks, especially in warmer weather and higher water temperatures. This has the potential to impact the overall productivity of a river catchment and jeopardises achieving Good Ecological Status, the primary objective of the Water Framework Directive which goes ‘live’ in January. • Where hydropower schemes rely on water being abstracted above a weir and discharged below it, the area between these

points has the potential to become a depleted reach; lower than mean flows will alter the habitats in the stretch, so impacting the species living there. The accumulated effect of several schemes could be significant. • Where mill leats or side streams take water away from the main river channel, migratory fish will become confused as to the route they should travel upstream. Evidence has shown that fish disorientated in this way may not find alternative migration routes, and will be lost to the breeding stock completely. • Unless efficient screening is made compulsory, both upward and downward migration of fish could be jeopardised, and mortalities cause impact on fish populations. This could be highly significant, for instance, if downward migration of salmonid smolts – which shoal – or silver eels were sucked into turbines. The Salmon & Trout Association is working closely with other fisheries organisations to overcome these fisheries issues. With the Atlantic Salmon Trust, we briefed peers on a debate covering hydropower and fish passage in the House of Lords in early November, introduced by one of our members, Lord Dear. We are also in discussion with the Environment Agency and, indeed, hydropower industry representatives, about how to minimise environmental impact. We must succeed in this, otherwise what the public see as clean, renewable, low carbon energy will, in fact, have disastrous unintended consequences; a serious deterioration in our aquatic environment and fish species, and at a time when Europe is insisting we substantially clean up our watery act. As I said at the beginning – bizarre! But then, that’s what makes life as a fisheries NGO so interesting!

The Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) was established in 1903 to address the damage done to our rivers by the polluting effects of the Industrial Revolution. For 105 years, the Association has worked to protect fisheries, fish stocks and the wider aquatic environment on behalf of game angling and fisheries. In March 2008, it was granted charitable status. S&TA’s charitable objectives now empower the Association to use its professional influencing skills to address all issues affecting the management of salmonid and other fish species of UK origin. For more information, visit the S&TA’s website at


¥¥ Tubeology

Tubeology is the complete, patented tube fishing system. Uniquely versatile in creating Tube Flies, Spinner Flies, Flying Cs and Spinner type lures for game, coarse and sea. With over two million permutations of lures from a standard Tubeology System, the possibilities are extensive. There is less chance of the fish throwing the lure as it cannot be used for leverage – one of many advantages of this system. Information: 0845 401 4001 or

¦¦ Silstar

Waterline is pleased to announce the re-launch of the Silstar brand back into the UK market. Available at a competitive price, the range will build over the coming months to re-establish this well respected name. Waterline has now had 17 years of experience in the wholesale tackle trade and prides itself on good stock levels and efficient deliveries. Having secured the exclusive distribution of Silstar, it is looking forward to the new trading year with customers old and new. Information: 0114 242 5454 or

¥¥ Cotswold Aquarius

A new concept in game fishing bags, Cotswold Aquarius’ range includes the Usk and the Grafham, which have been deliberately modelled differently to the traditional bag to give you plenty of extra features and offer a new concept in game fishing luggage. Available in an olive green combination making these bags both stylish as well as practical, they are both compact and lightweight offering generous space inside to transport everything you will need on the bank. The bags are generously padded with removable dividers and trays giving you the freedom to create your own unique carrying system. Information: 0121 585 9834 or

¦¦ Measom Freer

Measom Freer has added two new pump ranges to its stock packaging ranges. The spray pumps are available in polypropylene in natural, white or black, with colours available to order. Neck sizes 18, 20, 22 and 24mm all come with ribbed finish and clear smooth over caps. The spray pumps fit all of the company’s bottle ranges and are ideal for line lubricants, fly sinking and floating solutions and boilie flavour and attractant sprays. The gel pumps are also available in polypropylene in natural, white or black, with colours available to order with neck sizes 20, 22 and 24mm. Information: 0116 288 1588 or or


¥¥ L R Active

The Ucaller Night Eye handheld lamp is a lightweight, tough and durable lamp that has been constructed using the highest quality polymers. The lens measures a generous 170mm. The lens can be twisted by hand to adjust the width of the beam from a spotlight to a flood light. The cable used is high quality and built to withstand a tough life. There are two filters available for this 170mm, available in red or orange. The company can OEM other colours if required. The bulbs available come in 100W, 50W and 30W and there are currently two size battery packs available: 7amphr and 14amphr. These battery packs are supplied with a very high quality 2-amp charger. Information: 00 353 906 491 966 or

¥¥ Nisa Feeders

Nisa Feeders is delighted to present the Porky – an innovative, simple to use and deadly effective flat method feeder. These are inline feeders and so conform to most fishery rules and are fish friendly. They also incorporate a simple but clever Shock Link system within the feeder to counter hook pulls. These are extremely hard wearing but are also available separately as spares. The innovative peg system allows easy loading in the palm of the hand, of ground bait, damp pellets etc, and holds the bait securely for even very long casts. The weight loading of 36g has been determined after much trial and error to give the best casting qualities and stability through the air, even when wind conditions are adverse and also stability in the water, meaning you can tighten up without moving the feeder, even on sloping bottoms. Information: 01502 563 965 or  

¦¦ Eyelevel

Eyelevel Overglasses feature genuine polarised lenses and glare blocking side shields, which conform to both European and American standards. They are available in brown, smoke grey, amber, sportsman’s yellow and vermillion lens colours. Designed for spectacle wearers, they have the ability to reduce glare resulting from light reflecting on water and allow the wearer to have a more relaxed vision. Available in two sizes – medium and regular – each pair is supplied with a protective case. Information: 01204 864 874 or  

¥¥ Pallatrax

The Cheese Feast Stick is a 14mm yellow bait stick, made in-house at Pallatrax, on a top quality shelf life base mix, and is flavoured with an irresistible blend of mature cheddar cheese and bacon. The angler can break off any amount of the stick to fit the size of their hair rig and present an anti-eject shape, further encouraging the hook to take purchase in the fish’s mouth – perfect for wary fish. Having broken a piece off, flavour will leak from both ends. They are great for stringers, too. Simply pass a boilie needle through the length of the stick, pull back through with PVA string and then break the stick into bite-sized pieces. Information: 01409 240 042 or


The fabric of tradition Harris Tweed has been used in the production of country clothing for many hundreds of years. Louise Hoffman takes a look at the history of the fabric, and the ways in which the industry has responded to a changing market

Countrywear  25

Over time, the process involved in the production of Harris Tweed has evolved, but it has always remained true to the basic principles


product and industry integral to the heritage and the economic success of the Outer Hebrides, off the Scottish coast, Harris Tweed has long been an important name in the countrywear sector.

The history

The origins of the cloth are hidden centuries into the past. It was first produced by the inhabitants of the Outer Hebrides from the wool of their own sheep, and made into garments to protect them from the cold and damp. Surplus cloth was often traded, and the frequent use of blankets or lengths of cloth for rent payments meant that the fabric became a form of currency. Production of the cloth was carried out by hand, and each member of the household would have his or her part to play. Indeed, even as the Industrial Revolution reached Scotland, and the mainland turned to mechanisation, the Outer Islands continued to follow their traditional production methods. By the end of the 18th century, the spinning of wool yarn from local raw materials was a staple industry for the crofters of the Outer Hebrides. Finished handmade cloth was exported to the Scottish mainland and traded along with other commodities produced by the Islanders, such as dry hides, goat and deer skins. But it was not until 1846 that Harris Tweed – Clo Mhor in the original Gaelic, meaning ‘the big cloth’ – became an industry. It was at this point that Lady Dunmore (Catherine Herbert – widow of the late Earl of Dunmore) had the Murray tartan copied in tweed by the Harris weavers. Being hardwearing and water resistant, the new Harris Tweed clothing was highly suited to life on the Dunmore’s estate. Lady Dunmore noticed immediately that the Harris Tweed jackets worn by her staff would be ideal attire for the pursuit of country sports and the outdoor lifestyle, which was popular among her peers.

So happy was she with her tweed that she set about introducing improvements to the production process, and marketing the fabric to her acquaintances. Her efforts were duly rewarded, as sales increased significantly, trade was established with cloth merchants in large UK towns, and the tweed soon became the fabric-to-be-seen-in for the landed gentry and aristocracy of the time, including members of Queen Victoria’s inner circle. Success, of course, led to imitations, and so legal protection was sought for the genuine article. The Harris Tweed Association was formed in 1909 and the adoption of the world-famous Orb trademark, which authenticates genuine Harris Tweed, came a year later. Direct competiton was also an issue, and it was this problem that was the subject at the Court of Session in 1964 – once the longest civil case in Scottish legal history. The judgement by Lord Hunter reaffirmed that all production processes were tied to the Outer Hebrides. Also as a result of the rapid increase in demand was the introduction of new loom technology. The somewhat primitive small loom was replaced by the improved ‘fly-shuttle’, followed by the Hattersley domestic loom introduced in the 1920s/30s. This particular type of loom could be found in more than 1,000 Hebridean homes for the next half century. It enabled weavers to achieve more complex patterns and to increase production speed. In fact, the Hattersley loom is still in use today, though it has to some extent been upstaged by the Bonas-Griffith double-width loom, which was introduced in 1996 in response to demand for softer, wider and lighter Harris Tweed. In the 1980s, Harris Tweed saw a drop in sales, due to changes in fashion and consumer trends. The industry responded to this situation with the development of the double-width handloom; the retraining of weavers; the improved marketing of the new, lighter fabric; and the introduction of tougher standards. These changes enabled the industry to regain stability for the 1990s. So important is the industry to the island economy – both in terms of trade and, more recently, tourism – that Harris Tweed is the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament. This status has existed for the past

Success, of course, led to imitations, and so legal protection was sought for the genuine article century, but the UK Parliament updated the legislation in 1993 in order to support the unique status of the tweed. At this time, the Harris Tweed Authority also took over from the Harris Tweed Association. The statutory definition of Harris Tweed is now: “A tweed which has been hand woven by the Islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the islands of Harris, Lewis, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra and their several purtenances (the Outer Hebrides) and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”

The cloth

Over time, the process involved in the production of Harris Tweed has evolved, but it has always remained true to the basic principles which are enshrined in the aforementioned Act of Parliament. In fact, Harris Tweed is the only handwoven fabric produced in commercial quantities today. Specially blended yarns are produced to secret recipes and then warped up to exclusive designs before being sent to weavers’ homes to be handwoven, using the skills handed down from generation to generation. The cloth is then returned to the mill to be finished to very high standards. The final stage in the process is the examination of the fabric by the independent Harris Tweed Authority. Having been inspected and approved, the famous Orb trademark is ironed onto the fabric, as authentication of its status as true Harris Tweed.

Harris Tweed Hebrides (HTH) is based at Shawbost on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, and now accounts for more than 90 per cent of Harris Tweed production. The company uses a range of more than 100 yarns which can be made up into thousands of patterns, the full range is shown to customers from around the world, and trade orders are taken for a minimum of 65 metres. Despite having only been founded in late 2007, HTH is often credited with revitalising the industry, dealing successfully with such customers as Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein and Vivienne Westwood. The company makes three weights of cloth. The heaviest is mediumweight which is 550gms per square metre. This weight is suitable for furnishings and interiors; for example, it has been used to stunning effect in the new 5-star Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow. The main weight is featherweight (475gms), popular for jackets and other outerwear, and the lightest weight is superfine (375gms), which is ideal for ladieswear. Harris Tweed Scotland is another major player in the industry, and its Stornoway mill is the oldest producer of Harris Tweed in the Outer Hebrides, operating since 1906. Inspired by the original Harris Tweed jacket, the company offers a classic gentleman’s jacket available in four tweeds: Barva, Dalmore, Laxdale and Taransay. Offering modern designs and exploring new avenues for tweed use, while at the same time preserving production traditions, has allowed the Harris Tweed industry to maintain its significance, both in terms of historical importance and product sales. Being simultaneously protective of the past and eager to embrace the future, those involved in the industry continue to maintain the economic security of the Outer Hebrides.

Harris Tweed in the 21st century

Many individuals and companies are now involved in the Harris Tweed industry, all working to maintain the popularity of the fabric as time and society moves on. In the 21st century, it seems the tweed has become popular with designers not only for countrywear, but also for interior décor, furnishings and accessories.

Harris Tweed Hebrides

Harris Tweed Scotland

Harris Tweed Scotland

26 Countrywear

Supplier listing Harris Tweed Hebrides: Harris Tweed Scotland: Harris Tweed Textiles:

AD  27


Looking to the horizon


inoculars are one of the most practical and widely used of all optical instruments, proving their worth for all those engaged in outdoor activities such as shooting, hunting, saltwater fishing, boating, sports spectating, bird watching and travelling. Superior clarity, great optics, and an easy-grip waterproof/ fog-proof design are important aspects to consider when choosing binoculars. The need for accuracy is of course vital, and the type of binoculars needed depends greatly on the setting and weather conditions.

Wet conditions

If you need to use a pair of binoculars in wet conditions, then the waterproof version is the best option. Most of the popular waterproof binoculars can efficiently handle various natural elements and rigorous work conditions and are designed to be rugged. Even if you think that your non-waterproof binoculars will be able to handle moisture, you are wrong. Moisture generally finds its way through the unsealed parts of the binoculars and eventually ruins your investment. The waterproof binoculars are nitrogen filled and this helps them to keep moisture free. Waterproofing is actually done with the construction of the binoculars and if it is fully waterproof it will be printed on the binoculars. Most of the waterproof binoculars are also available with an individual eye focusing system.

Binoculars are a key piece of equipment for anyone involved in shooting, and indeed many other country pursuits. It is therefore important to provide your customers with the latest and most efficient products on the market The twilight factor

In twilight conditions it is best to use the mathematical formula that predicts the amount of detail that can be seen in low light. The twilight factor on a mathematical basis is calculated as the square root of the diameter of the objective lens and the magnification power of the lens. A 10x40 will have a twilight factor of 20 (square root of 10x40). As with exit pupil and relative brightness, the twilight factor should not be taken too literally, since it treats all binoculars, regardless of lens coatings and optical quality, as if they are the same, so try to be wary when calculating.


3 5





1  Bushnell Legend Ultra-HD Binoculars Optics manufacturer Bushnell has combined high quality optics and premium glass with its new ultra wide custom coating lens technology to provide the ultimate in high definition performance in two new roof prism models – the Legend Ultra-HD 8x42mm and 10x42mm. The optics have been upgraded on three levels: super-premium Premium ED (Extra Low Dispersion) glass delivers optimal colour performance and edge-to-edge sharpness; the new anti-reflective Ultra Wide Custom Coating delivers the best available light from the front lens to the eyepiece; and new Rainguard HD permanent coating also boosts light transmission, while ensuring foul weather or your own breath will never cost a view.

3  Sportsmarketing

5  Nikon 8x42

Essex-based distributor Sportsmarketing has unveiled no fewer than 21 pairs of high quality binoculars with precision-ground lenses in its latest, 164-page catalogue, which is available free to the trade. Covering every conceivable sporting activity, there are four ranges – Eagle Eye, Rubicon, Stealth and SMK’s own brand of traditional compact and roof prism models – which span specifications from 7x21 to 20x60... and many in between.

High-performance binoculars with 8x magnification and 42mm objective lens, combining superb optical quality and durability, these binoculars are ideal for activities such as trekking and nature watching. The compact and lightweight body is filled with nitrogen gas to make it fog-proof, and covered with a rubber coating for a secure grip. Multilayer-coated lenses provide bright, clear images and the higheyepoint design ensures a clear field of view and comfortable use, even when wearing sunglasses or spectacles.

Sportsmarketing 01206 795 333 •

4  The FL Concept

This rugged set of binoculars is designed for nature and birdwatching. They are rubber armoured and fully waterproof with high-grade roof prisms and coated lenses for clarity and colour. The Wetland models are lightweight and very compact and feature twist eyecaps. All models include a case, strap and a 10-year guarantee. They are available in 8x25 and 8x42.

FL Binoculars from Carl Zeiss have set a new standard in optical brilliance featuring a light transmission of over 90 per cent, close-up limits of up to two metres, and a highperformance objective lens system. FL lenses capture the finest details and the sharpest contracts without any chromatic aberrations. The Victory FL range of binoculars are handy, all-purpose models, offering an extremely large field of view. The 42mm lens makes them particularly light sensitive, even deep into twilight. Magnification options range from 7x and 8x for normal observation distances, to 10x for even greater distance.

John Rothery (Wholesale) Co Ltd 01730 268 011 •

Carl Zeiss 01707 871 350 •

JJ Vickers & Sons Ltd 01634 201 284 •

2  Visionary Wetland Series DCF

Highland Outdoors

6  Visionary Wetland Binoculars The Visionary Wetland range of DCF binoculars feature rubber armour, full waterproofing, high-grade roof prisms and coated lenses, which produce an image of excellent clarity and colour. The expanded Wetland range consists of 8x25, 10x25, 8x42, 10x42 and 12x42 models. Optical Hardware also offers a 10-year warranty with its Visionary products. Optical Hardware 01226 203 275 •

30  Family businesses

Keeping it in the family Family businesses are an essential element of the retail sector and of the UK economy. Handing them on to the next generation needs care, tact and planning, says Brian David

Family businesses  31

One of the principal qualifications for a managing director is a vision for the future and a willingness to take the company along new paths


he question of managing succession within family businesses is one of vital importance to the retail sector. While it is easy to view family businesses as enclosed worlds in which there is a natural order of succession, neither of those assumptions has any substance. No viable commercial operation is an enclosed world; no one should be expected or forced to take over the reins unless they are the right person to do the job. Assuming your business is not going to be passed on at the moment you pass on, you are going to have to plan succession. Planning starts with three questions: Who? When? How?


The man or woman everyone in the company assumes will take over may not be the best person for the job. Of course, it is advantageous if your staff regard someone as your natural successor, thereby minimising the chances of opposition or conflict. On the other hand, the apparent ‘obviousness’ of the candidate should not prevent you from questioning their qualifications. Are they fully capable of taking over? Do they want the job? Are there other people within the company who have a legitimate claim to the position? If there is another likely candidate, they may well create conflict when you are no longer there to hold them back, even if they have kept quiet about their aspirations until now. Consider whether the business may do better in the hands of a non-family member, even if you come back to family succession after exploring that alternative. After all, should

your business priority be keeping the company in family hands, or securing a prosperous future? At the very least, thinking outside of the family will give you the chance to consider the concept of an ‘ideal’ rather than an ‘obvious’ choice. This will give you a wider perspective and allow you to focus on the role of management instead of personality. The manager’s chair is not a reward for good or long service, or even for boosting turnover. Nor should succession be a prize for popularity with staff, important though it is to be confident that your new head of the company will have support throughout the organisation. It is natural to desire a smooth transition and to hope that your own good work will be continued. But it is a mistake to think that the perfect successor is a clone of you. Indeed, one of the principal qualifications for a managing director is a vision for the future and a willingness to take the company along new paths in response to changing times – or better still in anticipation of market trends. Let us imagine that you have pondered all this and that you still decide that the logical course is to keep the business within the family. As the solitary head of the family (let us assume), you may well decide to hand over to a single member of the next generation – but are there perhaps siblings who will create disharmony within the family and thus disturb the company’s efficiency? If that is a worry, remember that there are several alternative ways of letting your family share in the company’s success, and they need not involve any managerial responsibility. You might give them shares without voting rights, for example.

32  Family businesses

The manager’s chair is not a reward for good or long service, or even for boosting turnover


It is essential to timetable transition. This doesn’t just mean choosing the right moment for the company and the new boss, it means planning the handover process in stages. Work out a schedule for your successor’s involvement in management and your own disengagement. Apart from anything else, this will give staff time to get used to the new person’s presence in a position of authority. It should also give your successor the opportunity to train for their new role. Even if you decide years ahead who is going to take over, and even if they and the rest of the company accept this succession as inevitable, it may not be best for the ‘chosen one’ to spend his or her entire working life within the firm. Working elsewhere could allow them to gain the fresh perspectives and new skills that will stand them in good stead when they return to the fold. As part of your planning, make provision for the unexpected – what if your son or daughter decides at the last moment that they don’t want to be in charge? And question your own motives over timing; are you waiting because the time isn’t right, or are you merely postponing trouble?


Is your departure going to be a clean break or a gradual disengagement? Either way, set rules for your future involvement in the company (if any). You – and the company – might find it more comfortable if you divorce yourself entirely, even severing such connections as pension schemes and investments. That way you will no longer be dependent on the success of the company for your personal future, allowing you relative freedom from anxiety and the temptation to interfere. However much you intend to be involved in the company after relinquishing control, make sure your house is in order

before you let go of the reins. This may sound obvious, but you will have become used to dealing with immediate matters and giving less pressing concerns a lower priority. The ‘some time in the future’ horizon, over which individual items have rolled as they needed attention, has become a fixed deadline. So far, this article has been addressed to the generation handing on. But the new boss must also be proactive in the transition. He or she must consider how difficult it can be for the old guard to let go; how can the incoming MD reassure the out-going manager that things will be all right? Each generation must look at the situation from the other’s point of view. What will the old boss be looking for from the intended successor, and what will persuade him or her that the candidate is ready? Meanwhile, the older generation must remember that the young do not have unlimited patience, and they may well have a wide range of attractive options outside of the business. However you decide to deal with the detail of transition, it is important to formalise the new person’s position, role and responsibilities. Once they have taken over, they should no longer feel they are on trial. If they are, then the ‘who’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ have probably been mismanaged.

The moment of truth

Assuming that you are handing on within the family, consider how you are going to sell succession to the rest of the staff. Remember that a family business is something really special – and emphasise that keeping your company in family hands is the best way to preserve its identity. A 2002 survey determined that three out of five UK firms with a turnover up to £5 million are family businesses. If you are among them, you are a large part of what makes this country what it is today. Here’s to the future!

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34 Classified BAITS







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BASC Taste of Game Week

12 December Byrne’s Auctioneers & Valuers Sporting Guns and Country Pursuits online sale

21 December Pike Anglers Club East Yorkshire Meeting North Bar Within, Beverley

9 – 10 January 2010 Brentwood Carp Show Brentwood Centre

23 January 2010 Derrylin and District Gun Club Game Night Northern Ireland

26 – 28 February 2010

11 – 14 March 2010

Angling Equipment Trade Fair Poznan International Fair Grounds, Poznan, Poland

Crufts Dog Show NEC, Birmingham

4 February 2010

028 6774 1020

12 – 15 March 2010

Taste of Game evening Hook Norton Brewery Oxfordshire

2 March 2010 Pike Anglers Club Dartford, Kent

IWA 2010 & Outdoor Classics Nuremberg, Germany

11 February 2010

6 March 2010

11 – 13 June 2010

BASC – Taste of Game Dinner The Restaurant at Ashlyns, North Weald, Essex

Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland Lake of Menteith, Scotland

European Fishing Tackle Trade Exhibition Valencia, Spain

01798 865 165

01284 728 752

UK retail traffic weathermap The only footfall data to trust

Year-on-year change

Month-on-month change Forecast for this month

October 2009 vs October 2008

October 2009 vs September 2009

November 2009 vs October 2009



UK overall




Regional variations against a UK average of




Set fair



Bright spells

Last month

– The strongest year-on-year performance of the year (excluding April with its Easter boost) reflected growing consumer confidence.

This month

– Expect the recent upturn to continue as the better-off householders re-discover their need to shop.


-0.7% -2.3%


Regional variations against a UK average of


+0.2% -0.8%

November 2009

-1.6% -3.4%


Variable to stormy


Derived from over a billion visits to over 5,000 retail premises. For a detailed explanation visit Synovate Retail Performance at or phone +44 (0) 1908 682700

For London & Southeast | Midlands | Northern England | Wales & the Southwest | Scotland & Northern Ireland

© 2002 - 2009 Synovate Retail Perfomance Limited


Voice on the highstreet Tim Hammond of G.T. Shooting, Coulsdon, Surrey Tim Hammond is an established gun trader who has been retailing for several years. His shop is located in the leafy London Borough of Croydon. His shop offers a range of both used and new guns, and is a main agent for Anschutz, BRNO-CZ, Euroarms, Marlin, Pedersoli, Pietta, Rossi, Ruger, Taurus, Tikka, Uberti and Winchester. He also stocks accessories such as ammunition, reloading equipment and optics, including telescopic sights, spotting telescopes, Helios binoculars and night vision attachments. How did you get involved with the industry?

What do you enjoy about the trade?

I was fed up with my existing job and decided to expand my expertise to the gun trade.

Dealing with the public, working on firearms, and shooting in general.

Are you online yet, has it helped your business?

What is the biggest challenge you face in your day-to-day job?

Yes and I believe that sales and enquiries have gone up since the website was opened. Online, we advertise our range of accessories including airgun pellets, copper and lead BB, also .20 & .25 calibres, animal-shaped knockdown targets, re-settable shooting galleries, Tarian Marks chalk targets, lamping kits by Logun Deben and the new Napier Pellet Lube. Alongside an extensive collection of accessories, including gun cleaning kits and smallbore targets.

On the whole, working with the public can be quite a challenge from time to time, especially when I get difficult customers.

How do you think online sales have changed the industry? In terms of accessories quite a bit, but for firearms not so much since they cannot be sold by mail order.

What is the most popular selling item in your shop? I would say that airguns usually come off the shelves the quickest, but I sell a wide range of items to do with airsoft shooting, which helps to get the youngsters interested in shooting, and they normally prove to be very popular with the younger generation.

What advice would you give to retailers starting out? I think that the best advice I can give is to not be tempted to try to compete with the heavy discounters in the industry. Concentrate on making a decent profit rather that a massive turnover.

Shooting & Fishing Business December 2009  

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