Thursday , 23 May 2019

Reeling in customers 

With fishing a popular sport in Goa, it is smooth sales for the handful of fish equipment dealers in the state, reports Serilda Coutinho

For several residents fishing is an art carried over generations and comes along as a leisure activity on weekends. To keep up to the enthusiasm of anglers, the dealers selling fish equipment have invested in the latest gear to lure anglers. Most dealers offer imported equipment that is popular among affluent anglers and stock the full range of rods, lures, reels, etc, for customers.

Angling as an activity picks up during the monsoons and is a common leisure as well as commercial activity. One can sport these skilled anglers along the rocky rivulets of Ribandar, Old Goa jetty, Chorao Island, Britona and near Reis Magos fort. Owing to low quality of fish equipment in the country angling enthusiasts tend to opt for imported brands that are costly but are superior in features.

“From the past ten years there has been a drastic increase in the sales of fishing equipment especially among the youngsters” says Sandeep Bharney, owner, Bharneys, MG Road, Panjim, a fish equipment dealership that is more than 40 years in business. He further adds, “Few years back locals who from overseas started using imported equipment while on vacation in the state. These equipment are more durable and easy to use and so understanding the demand we also started ordering them.” The store now maintain a good buffer stock of imported equipment including hooks, weights and spools among others.

Some of the imported brands that are available in dealerships include Daiwa, Okuma and Pioneer and other Japanese brands. To some dealers maintaining large stocks of imported products comes with a risk as they are costly. The cheaper equipment sell faster, according to store owners.

Having cultivated angling as a hobby from a young age, Nassir Shaik, proprietor, Nassir Enterprises, Vasco, wholesaler in fishing equipment says “We place an order six months in advance to cater to the customer’s requirement. I personally try out the products before selling it to my customers to understand it and to avoid chances of creating a dead stock”.

According to dealers, the price of a fishing rod can range from Rs 600 to Rs6000 while the combo kit that consists of a rod and reel starts from Rs 1300 and can go up to Rs10,000. Another trend that is picking up is the use of artificial fishing baits instead of the real ones as the artificial ones can be reused for multiple catches and saves anglers the time spent on searching for shrimps and worms. These bait costs around Rs 300 to Rs 800 for a superior quality and Rs 50 to Rs 100 for the plastic ones.

The GST imposed on fishing equipment is five per cent for fishing hooks and 12 per cent for all other angling equipments.  GST according to some dealers is resulted in decrease in the profit margin. “We reduced our profit margin post-GST to boost sales.  In this way our sales were not affected and consumers were not disappointed with the hike in prices” says Shaik.

The fish equipment business offers steady profits, according to the dealers. The sale is actually throughout the year with seasonal spurt during monsoons. Bharney says, “Most of the profit earned from the sales goes in ordering new stock.”

To improve sales of fishing equipment and to encourage angling as a full-time activity, Michael Fernandes, member, Ribandar Fisherman Association, suggests that the government give subsidies on equipment. “It will encourage the modernized way of fishing and will support the fishing community,” says Fernandes.

“If you have the skill of angling and the patience to wait for about one to two hours for a good catch then this can turn into a profitable business. I have seen youngsters earning an income as high as Rs 4500 for a single catch and not less than Rs 1000 for a smaller one,” he says.