A meeting of the Dutch fishing industry heard calls for politicians to market electric-pulse fishing again
A meeting of the Dutch fishing industry last Friday, 29 April in Scheveningen heard calls for electric-pulse fishing to be legalised.
The future of fishing, challenges, opportunities, the relationship with the British and Norwegians, the use of BAR funds and pulse fishing, all came up during the SEVO meeting.
The platform of Dutch MEPs in the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, sector representatives and local politicians, also invited were members of Parliament and other MEPs for the occasion. Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA) chairman Tim Heddema and Durk van Tuinen of the Nederlandse Vissersbond gave informative presentations about the trawler and cutter fleet and there was a tour of one of the Wiron trawlers in front of Cornelis Vrolijk/Jaczon’s office.
“SEVO chairman Peter van Dalen regrets that due to various circumstances more members of parliament were unable to respond to the invitation, but nevertheless spoke of a meaningful meeting, attended in any case by Caroline van der Plas (BBB) and Bert-Jan Ruissen (SGP),” reports Netherlands commercial fishing magazine, Visserij Nieuws.
“In the current era of sky-high gas oil prices, the pulse at SEVO is once again high on the agenda. How do we get the opponents on our side? In a subsequent consultation, we will make an initial draft for this,” said CU MEP Van Dalen.
The Dutch have been calling on the European Parliament to reverse its decision to ban the controversial electric-pulse fishing. The decision was taken by the Parliament after evidence produced by NGOs such as BLOOM, showed that the fishing method, aimed at bottom fish such as sole, caused life threatening injuries to bycatch such as cod.
The system uses a series of electrical prods that are trailed below a beam that stuns the fish with an electric pulse, much like a taser.
In late April 2022, the Dutch released a report from the Wageningen Institute in the Netherlands, that contradicted the evidence brought to the EU Parliament at the time of the vote to ban electric-pulse fishing in 2019.
There is also huge controversy surrounding the funding of the electric-pulse fishing research and the number of vessels that the Dutch rigged for “research” purposes.
In July 2021, a Dutch journalist reported that he had uncovered years of organised fraud by the Netherlands government regarding electric-pulse fishing. The exclusive investigation by Dutch newspaper NOS claims that the government “lied and cheated to obtain licences in a fraudulent manner, without any reaction from the European Commission”.
The journalist summarized his revelations as follows: “The published part of the documents shows for the first time in black and white how the ministry aimed to mislead Brussels and other EU countries in order to obtain as many electric fishing licences as possible. Dutch officials informed each other by email that their methods were not legal and ‘dubious’ but were instructed to hide this from the European Commission and the Ministry’s political level.”