Louis moves back to Portugal in 1997, as Managing Director, to continue the development of the Propesca group of companies.
The group at the time is composed of two companies: Propesca, Lda., which handles the exclusive distribution of the brands Shimano, Rapala and Ragot in Portugal together with a great portfolio of accessory brands. The other: Indipesca, Lda., as nascent company, created for the handling of the Daiwa brand once the total portfolio of the original company had become too large to handle by one single entity.
During his time in the group, Louis streamlines the companies, strengthens the product portfolios and the sales teams, and develops marketing through product catalogues and the creation of a unique quarterly free magazine: Segredos da Pesca Desportiva” which allows the launch of new techniques and establishes the group as the dominant market player in Portugal. Sales are multiplied by a factor of three within a period of 6 years and the group’s market share grows to over 40%.
Sales are expanded to supermarkets and hypermarkets with the creation of a third company Bota d’Agua S.A. that shell-packs and distributes a modern range of fishing tackle for the self-service mass market.
The group then spreads sales to other European countries through the development and the promotion of Louis’s created house brand Hiro, specialized in Sea Fishing, a brand that counts many innovative products and innovative sales ideas and systems and ends up being distributed in Spain, France, Scandinavia, the UK, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
Main Sponsor, Tavira-Shimano Trophy 1999.
Winning team, 1st day, Tavira-Shimano Trophy 1999.
In 2000, As President of EFTTA, Louis promotes the idea of a Mass Media TV program, aimed at introducing young Europeans to Recreational Fishing.
This three part program, sponsored in totality by EFTTA was designed for the promotion of recreational fishing to the European non angling community.
The program was co-produced by EFTTA, The European Fishing Tackle Trade Association and a leading British television production company Chrysalis TV and by Vision Ltd, a British company specialized in organizing sporting events.
This program was designed to project a positive image of Sportfishing to the younger generations and incline them to take up the sport.
It was a program that had been orientated to attract the eye of the NON SPORTFISHING POPULATION.
It was not a program designed to please those who already practiced the sport.
18 young Europeans from six different countries took part in the program, most of them had never seen a fishing rod before in their life.
Filmed in Namibia, on the Zambezi and the Chobe rivers and in South Africa, on the Wild Coast near Port St Johns, the three 15 minute programs of the Sportfishing Challenge 2000 were broadcasted several times on Eurosport TV in most European countries, reaching out to millions of new potential anglers.
The program achieved its main purpose which was to use the mass media to promote and improve the image of Recreational Fishing in Europe.
A second series was planned to be filmed in Costa Rica and ASA (The American Sportfishing association) and JAFTMA (Japan Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association) were invited to participate in the sponsoring and send teams, but unfortunately the project ended up being cancelled through lack of interest and lack of budgets.
The three programs can be viewed here:
Fishing trip to Graciosa, Canary Islands with his two sons, spring 2001.
2nd place, Tavira-Shimano Trophy 2001,
Main Sponsor, The Rapala Trophy, G.N. Olhao 2001.
Big Game Fishing consultancy trip together with Capt. Helder Ferreira to the Ilha
das Rolas, Sao Tome and Principe, autumn 2001.
Commissions and launches together with Capt. Helder Ferreira
the wonderful MV Jose Batista:
A revolutionary Charter Sportfishing Vessel especially conceived for the year round exploration of multiple Sea Fishing techniques, based in Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal.
1st Place, Mustad Zuca Sesimbra Shark Fishing Tournament, summer 2002
Official Sponsor, World Freshwater Fishing Championships, Coimbra autumn
2002 Sales incentive Fishing Trip, Cabo-Verde Islands, autumn 2002
November 12th 2002: As President of EFTTA, Louis makes a presentation in Brussels, to the Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament.
PRESENTATION for the Fishery Committee of the European Parliament on November 12th 2002 by the President of the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association.
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,
There are, within the European Union, 2900 companies, (manufacturers, and wholesalers) trading in Recreational Fishing tackle and representing 60.000 jobs.
These 2900 companies make an annual turnover of 5 Billion Euros.
The Fishing tackle Trade serves 25 Million Recreational Fishermen representing 6,5% of the total EU Population through 12900 Tackle shops that employ another 39.000 people.
25 Million Recreational Fishermen spend an estimated 25 Billion Euros per year on equipment transportation and lodging in the 15 EU countries. This is only an estimation due to total lack of proper socio-economic data.
For comparison: USA 2001 Data – Source: National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation
USA: 44 Million Recreational Fishermen that spend USD 42 Billion on equipment, transportation and lodging, and other expenses associated with their sport.
Including expenditures and measuring their “ripple effect” on the economy at local, regional, and national levels, the report shows that the broad economic impact of Sportfishing has grown from $108 billion in 1996 to $116 billion in 2001 in the USA.
The impact of Recreational Fishing on the European Economy
Recreational Fishing is one of the largest, if not, the largest pastime in the EU.
Recreational Fishermen are nature loving, healthy enthusiasts that go to great lengths to enjoy their hobby, in extreme cases, some competition adepts will spend up to 20.000 Euros per year on their sport.
The amount of the budget they spend on Fishing Tackle is negligible in comparison with their indirect spending on items such as: Sportfishing Boats, Sports and Utility Vehicles, Caravans, Air Travel, Hotels and Accommodation, Fuel, Food, Maintenance, plus further spending at their fishing destination.
The importance of this economy was outlined in particular by a Swedish study on the local economic and ecological effects of Commercial Fishing for Salmon Vs Sport Fishing (Erlandson-Hammargren, Ph.D.) carried out in 1989 on the Morrun river, Sweden.
The results speak for themselves:
The annual catch of 50 000 commercially caught Salmon was worth 500 000 Euros in total.
The annual catch of 750 Salmon caught by Recreational Fishermen was 6 Million Euros to the local economy.
ONE SALMON CAUGHT BY COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN IS WORTH 10 EUROS TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY.
ONE SALMON CAUGHT BY RECREATIONNAL FISHERMEN IS WORTH 2000 EUROS TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY.
Many Central American countries have realized the enormous potential income related to Sport Fishing: Costa Rica and Guatemala have already banned the commercial fishing of species such as Billfish in order to preserve them for the Tourism Fishing Industry.
When will Europe understand this potential?
When will the EU start importing Recreational Fishing income through sustainable management of its fishing resources?
Alternatives for sustainable employment of commercial fishermen:
A solution via recreational fishing.
The 70 000 Km of coastline of the European Union represent a major unexploited potential for recreational fishing and Eco-tourism. ( The USA only has 20 000 km of coastline )
Coastal Charter Fishing is a major potential for the recycling of commercial fishermen, made redundant by the new CFP.
Funding should be made available for transforming commercial boats into Charter Fishing and Eco-Tourism Boats, improving safety equipment and structures, and providing training for the skippers and crew.
By recycling commercial fishing boats in this manner, the local socio- economic tissue will be preserved, together with the local know-how and the dignity born of experience of these commercial fishermen. The economic input created by recreational fishermen could help the sustainable development of rural coastal areas and new forms of eco-tourism.
This will also result directly in the development of rural accommodation structures.
Recreational fishermen are not only interested in coastal fishing but also in Long-Range Deep Sea Angling, thus providing alternatives for larger boats.
By managing in a sustainable manner the ocean’s resources, we do not only guarantee the future of the harvesting of the wild commercial species, but we also
allow for the development of new economic potentials with a special link to recreational fishing and tourism.
New legislation must be passed at EU level in order to organize Charter Fishing operations, as for the moment, in most EU countries, little or no legislation exists
and most Charter Boats operate on an illegal basis through lack of governance or over-complicated bureaucracy.
Only the UK seems to have a well-organized legislation. As a direct result, there are presently 3000 Small Commercial Vessels operating in the UK for Charter Fishing and Eco-Tourism. (Source: UK, Maritime and Coastguard Agency)
These represent an average of 6000 sustainable jobs not including “ripple effect” on accommodation and travel, fuel supply, boat construction, maintenance services, electronics supply, bait supply and harbor services.
We can reasonably say that for every existing job on a Charter Fishing Vessel, there are 4 more indirect jobs created on land.
The British Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Commercial Vessels
The British Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Commercial Vessels was created in 1993 as a direct result of consulting with the Professional Charter Boat Organizations. It applies to Vessels up to 24 meters in length that don’t carry more than 12 passengers.
It is a set of rules elaborated by the British Administration taking into consideration the different interests involved.
In this highly practical document, priority is given to the security of the passengers and crews. Security is implemented by several measures covering the characteristics of the vessel, the security equipment required and the crew’s qualifications.
Despite the fact that these small commercial vessels have a degree of security adequate to an area of operation, evaluated by nine years of records, the British code nonetheless, allows the operator, a relatively wider area of operation.
This is a “must” nowadays, when the condition of the fish stocks require longer and longer journeys to find fish.
We believe the British Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Commercial Vessels would represent an excellent guideline for the implementation of new EU legislation for Charter Fishing Vessels.
We truly believe in the necessity for an important reform of the CFP, taking into account not only the dramatic need to manage fish stocks in a sustainable manner, but also to incorporate the importance of Recreational Fishing into the equation.
The Recreational Fishing Industry can absorb the redundancies created by future reforms, and this can be made in a form that preserves the dignity of the Commercial Fishermen, the local socio-economic tissue, and the promotion of tourism in rural and even remote areas.
All Sport Fishermen know very well that the more remote the area, the more fish there are to catch !
Louis Tchertoff – President EFTTA – November 12, 2002
1st Place, Mustad Zuca Sesimbra Shark Fishing Tournament, summer 2003
Founder and Vice-President of AGUA SELVAGEM, Associação da Pesca Desportiva in Portugal.
2004: Hiro exhibits at EFTTEX in London
Louis catches a 262 Kg Blue Marlin off the coast of the Algarve.
2005: Hiro exhibits at EFTTEX in Warsaw
Sales are established and growing in 12 European countries
Sales incentive trip to Guinea-Bissau for Field testing of Hiro products.
Filming, photos, all used for future promotion of the Hiro brand.
The Hiro brand becomes World Boat Angling CIPS champion 2006-2007 with Rui Gomes, who uses 100% Hiro tackle.
2006: Hiro voted Best New Product at UK Tackle and Guns show
2007: Hiro is exported to 14 countries and enters Middle East and South
Algarve Blue Marlin, 275Kg, caught by his son Laurent, 16 years old, on MV Jose Batista.