Sales to the wind

Re­tail­ers lament­ing late an­nounce­ment for food fish­ery dates

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY GARY KEAN

When Gary War­ren heads out across the prov­ince sell­ing sport fish­ing gear to re­tail­ers, he tries to kill two birds with one stone and brings along cod fish­ing equip­ment, too.

This year, the de­layed an­nounce­ment of the recre­ational ground­fish fish­ery threw a mon­key wrench into that an­nual strat­egy em­ployed by War­ren’s Cor­ner Brook busi­ness, Good Buddy Sports.

“No­body pur­chased any­thing,” said War­ren of this year’s pro­vin­cial gear-ped­dling tour.

“Every­body was hold­ing off un­til the last minute to see if it was go­ing to be worth­while to buy any prod­uct or not.”

He said it won’t make much eco­nomic sense to go back over the sales route with just cod fish­ing gear.

That is just one way the de­layed an­nounce­ment of the recre­ational fish­ery is im­pact­ing the lo­cal econ­omy this year.

War­ren said cer­tain fish­ing items re­quire or­der­ing months in ad­vance and, if it’s not on hand right now, it will be hard to find on short no­tice. His busi­ness held back on or­der­ing more gear this year be­cause of the un­cer­tainty over the dates.

He said it’s not good enough that the dates for this year’s fish­ery, which starts the last week­end in June, were an­nounced less than three weeks prior to the start.

It af­fects not just re­tail­ers like Good Buddy Sports, War­ren noted, but also im­pacts tour op­er­a­tors, book­ings for ac­com­mo­da­tions and peo­ple’s plans to co­or­di­nate vis­its to New­found­land and Labrador with the fish­ery.

Paul Barnes of Barnes Sport­ing Goods said he took a risk when or­der­ing gear peo­ple would use to fish cod recre­ation­ally.

“The only dif­fer­ence the de­lay made to me is not know­ing whether to or­der or not,” he said. “I took a chance and or­dered and that was a gam­ble of around $10,000.”

He said there’s no good rea­son why the dates could not have been nounced at least three months ago.

There has been some con­cern ex­pressed about the im­pact on the cod stocks the recre­ational fish­ery might be hav­ing. Seafood pro­ces­sors have said the fish­ery is not reg­u­lated enough in terms of mak­ing peo­ple re­port how much fish they are tak­ing from the sea.

“What the food fish­ery is go­ing to hurt is noth­ing,” Barnes said of its im­pact on the stock.

By­ron Lang­ford of By­ron’s Tarp and Shoe Re­pair in Deer Lake also or­dered in­ven­tory for this year’s cod fish­ery, but did so last year un­der the as­sump­tion there would be an­other recre­ational fish­ery in 2018. The late­ness in con­firm­ing this year’s sea­son also doesn’t sit well with him.

“There’s al­ways an im­pact when peo­ple don’t know if there’s go­ing to be a fish­ery or not,” he said. “Busi­ness has been slow. Peo­ple weren’t buy­ing be­cause they were wait­ing.”

The dates are con­firmed now, but more no­tice would be bet­ter for busi­ness. Lang­ford is just glad it was done in time for peo­ple con­sid­er­ing fish­ing gear as a Fa­ther’s Day gift idea.

“There haven’t been many sales yet, but at least peo­ple are talk­ing about it now and they are look­ing,” he said. an-

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