As expected, European parliament votes to ban pulse fishing

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

The European parliament on Tuesday voted to ban pulse fishing in a move that will see most of the Dutch trawler fleet losing its licence to use this form of fishing in June.

A small group will be able to continue for two more years, but that may be no more than 15 trawlers, broadcaster NOS said.

The vote was not unexpected and MEPs voted in favour of a ban last year. Tuesday’s vote follows consultations with the European Commission and member states.

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 research into ‘innovative methods’. Some 40% of the Dutch fleet now uses the system.

Pulse fishing 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 say pulse fishing is less destructive than beam trawling, which involves dragging a heavy metal bar across the sea bed. Opponents say it is a cruel and unnecessary method of fishing and is depleting fish stocks.

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