Dutch appoint former minister to lobby EU over pulse fishing

A pulse fishing net. Photo: Ecomare/Pam Lindeboom via Wikimedia Commons

The government has appointed former minister of agriculture Cees Veerman to try to head off the introduction of a ban on pulse fishing, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday.

Farm minister Carola Schouten had asked parliament to nominate a candidate to push for change over pulse fishing after the European Parliament voted for a total ban in January.

Opponents of the system say it is a cruel and unnecessary method of fishing. It involves sending a current of electricity through sections of the sea bed, partially stunning sole and plaice and forcing some into the net.

Its supporters, however, say pulse fishing is less destructive than beam trawling, which involves dragging a heavy metal bar across the sea bed.

Dutch fishermen have invested millions of euros in specialized equipment since the ban on pulse fishing was lifted several years ago under a scheme to allow ‘innovative methods’ in the name of research. The Netherlands has at least 84 pulse fishing vessels – more than any other EU country.

France in particular is opposed to pulse fishing and had campaigned for change.

The European negotiations on a total ban on pulse fishing will start in March.