The European Fisheries Commission in Brussels recently authorized the extension of electric pulse beam trawling in the North Sea. It justifies this decision citing the ability of Member States to conduct pilot projects. 87 Dutch trawlers can now practice electric fishing, compared to 42 in 2012.
This new madness contradicts the 1998 fishing regulation, which, based in particular on the need to protect juveniles, prohibits the use of explosives, poison, soporific substances, or electric currents.
Sole is the main target species for this “new” fishing technique, which has actually been in practice for more than a century. The European pilot project has been running since 2006, but no progress reports have been submitted. Fish that have been caught in the trawl nets show burns, bruises, and skeletal deformations as a result of electrocution.
The damages on shellfish, crustaceans, planktons, and non-target fish species are unknown.
It remains up to the European Union to authorise cyanide fishing, as is used in Asia, as well as what the soldiers in First World War called in their familiar language, “Von Kluck fishing,” that is to say, with grenades.
Dutch, Belgian, and British trawlers using electric trawl nets can bring their catch to ports such as Boulogne-sur-Mer or Dunkirk. The electrocuted soles can be easily marketed in France. Clarification on this subject needs to be communicated to consumers.