The German EU Presidency has been heavily criticised for its intention to repon the debate on electric-pulse fishing after it has been banned
Fileyeurs Hauts-de-France and the Bloom Association have sent a message to the European Commission and the German EU Presidency on electric-pulse fishing.
Fileyeurs Hauts-de-France tweeted “Enforce the regulations on electric fishing. 5% = 15 licenses. No sleight of hand to justify a fraud that has lasted for 10 years and that you confirm. Responsible artisanal fishermen are disappearing by your schemes.
“Shame on the Commission … test of a Europe that does not work no longer.”
At last Thursday’s PECH Committee, German Minister Julia Klöckner announced that Germany, during its Presidency of the EU, would reopen the debate on electric-pulse fishing.
The announcement has been met with great dismay and hostility across the board with some scornful criticism from non-governmental organisations who campaigned against its legalisation in the EU.
It has been generally accepted globally that any form of electric is illegal but in 2010, the European Commission granted the Netherlands a derogation to test electric-pulse fishing for scientific research. In February 2019, the European Parliament voted to ban electric-pulse fishing with the Netherlands’ derogation expiring in June 2021.
In their argument against pulse fishing, the Bloom Association claimed that the licences had been delivered illegally in 2010 as they were granted in order to carry out research that never took place.
On Friday, 4 September, Bloom reacted to the news from Klöckner that the German’s were going to reexamine electric-pulse fishing based on scientific evidence which is presumed to be a scientific report compiled by ICES as requested by the government of the Netherlands, which finds in favour of legalising the method of fishing.
On their website Bloom wrote:
“While the European Commission has finally acknowledged – almost three years after our first complaint – that the Netherlands has always been and continues to be in the most total illegality regarding their practice of electrofishing, Germany does not finds nothing better to do than to want to “reopen the debate” . A position light years away from the exemplarity demanded by citizens from political decision-makers and yet advocated by Germany.
Made by Julia Klöckner, German Minister for Food and Agriculture at a meeting of the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament on September 3, 2020, “ this announcement is in fact hardly surprising, in view of the incestuous relationship that the German state has historically maintained and the Dutch industrial lobbies ” , analyzes Frédéric Le Manach, scientific director of BLOOM. Last June, the NGO Corporate Europe Observatory had already revealed the extent of this problem in its report entitled ” Tainted Love ” (“tainted, corrupted love”).
The latest example of Dutch interests that are a little too present in German politics: the electric trawl equipment of the BRA-2 BUTENDIEK in April 2020 , in flagrant violation of the regulations prohibiting electric fishing. BLOOM had filed a complaint about this with the European Commission in July 2020; complaint remained a dead letter for the moment.
EELV MEP Caroline Roose also raised this problem of illegal German derogation during the meeting of the Fisheries Committee on 3 September. Question also remained unanswered, the German minister skilfully preferring to ignore it. “To justify this illegal derogation just after having advocated wanting to” show responsibility “would indeed have been more than perilous, especially since Germany is currently in the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and is therefore expected to turn »Continues Frédéric Le Manach.
The electric fishing scandal therefore continues and risks even knowing a second wind, between this desire of Germany to reopen the debate and the surreal bluff of the Netherlands to attack the ban on this destructive fishing method before the Court of Justice of the European Union . ” By striving to flout the general interest for the benefit of their industrial friends, European political decision-makers give the impression of doing everything they can to destroy the already very eroded trust that citizens place in them “, laments Sabine Rosset, director. by BLOOM. A situation to which civil society can not do much, legal processes being blocked by these deleterious interests.”