The Netherlands will continue fight to introduce electric-pulse fishing in EU waters

The Netherlands will continue fight to introduce electric-pulse fishing in EU waters. Photo: Nathalie Steins

The Netherlands will continue to their campaign to introduce electric-pulse fishing in the European Union waters according to Dutch Minister Carola Schouten.

According to, the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality told the House of Representatives that the fight will continue despite last week’s ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on electric-pulse fishing.

A derogation on allowing the use of electric-pulse fishing for scientific research is due to end on 01 July after the European Parliament and Council voted in 2019 to ban the practice. Not accepting this decision, the Netherlands requested a report on the impact of electric-pulse trawling from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) which had found that electric-pulse fishing was marginally better for the marine environment over traditional beam trawling when targeting sole on certain seafloors.

The Netherlands lodged an appeal with the CJEU to overturn the ban, but the Court found in its judgment that the Netherlands had not demonstrated “the inappropriateness” of this ban, decided in 2019, and that Brussels had in any case a “wide discretion” in the fisheries, exclusive competence of the Union.

“This is a big disappointment for the pulse fishermen, I understand that. In the progress report next summer on the Technical Measures Regulation, of which the pulse ban is part, we will continue to argue in favour of this method of fishing, which, according to scientific research, is more sustainable than the traditional beam trawl. Unfortunately, the pulse ban is not off the table, ” writes Schouten.

DMT Marine Equipment The Fishing Daily Fishing Industry News
Brian J McMullin Solicitors

At the same time, she indicates that an amendment to the Technical Measures Regulation is not expected in the coming period.

After the disappointing decision, Minister Schouten and the top officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality immediately had digital consultations with the cutter foremen of VisNed and Vissersbond on Thursday afternoon.

In it, the Minister indicated that the European electric-pulse ban is one of the reasons for working together with the sector in the future. The Minister refers to the financial resources ‘from the North Sea Agreement’ to accelerate innovations.

“The development of replacement gear for sole fishing is a high priority. Various parties within the sector are already developing and testing alternative tongue harnesses. I wholeheartedly support these developments, with the hope that in time an economically and ecologically sustainable sole harness will emerge. ”


Related Stories:

Key words: netherlands electric-pulse fishing fight

Follow The Fishing Daily