This is a Governance shambles where a derogation has been applied to 100+ Dutch vessels against EU policies banning such practice. This CFP’s version of ‘scientific whaling’. EIA for fisheries are needed before major technology changes are subsidised.

European Vote prompts this flurry of interest

Electric pulse fishing: The Commission has warmed to electric pulse fishing, which sends out an electric current to shock fish out of the seabed to make them easier to catch. Its use by Dutch trawlers has angered some MEPs and some representatives of the EU fishing industry.

“The proposal to extend [use of this type of fishing] is based on scientific data, it is not influenced by lobbying,” a Commission spokesperson said. “Contrary to allegation, the most recent scientific opinion of the independent expert committee, the recommendation was to remove the limits on vessels using electric pulse fishing.” The Commission said it had “a number of biological, environmental and economic advantages over traditional trawling.” “If carried out correctly, it is more environmentally friendly. It reduces by-catch, and reduces damage to the seabed and reduces CO2 emissions. That is why the Commission is looking into this proposal, which will be discussed by Parliament.”

The Guardian looks at both sides of the argument

Michel Kaiser On Electric pulse fishing

‘While many people may be interested in the sustainability and welfare of the fish they eat, or the health of the environment, fewer probably worry about the effect that trawl fishing – which accounts for 20% of landings – has on the ocean.

For a long time researchers and the industry have been trying to improve trawl fishing practices. Things have moved on from practices such as beam trawling – where a large net is dragged across the ocean floor – to potentially less invasive and newer methods like electric pulse trawling. This sees electrical pulses being sent into the seawater to flush out bottom-dwelling fish like plaice and sole, causing them to swim into the path of trawl nets.

Beam trawls have been the focus of environmental concern for decades, as it causes a substantial reduction in the abundance of animals living on the seabed. These effects can be long lasting if the fishing occurs in areas which are inhabited by long-lived seabed dwelling species such as oysters and sponges. Beam trawls are also associated with high amounts of bycatch – unwanted fish and other organisms – although the industry and researchers are working on ways to reduce this.’

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