(18 April 2019) – The European Parliament approved on 16 April new technical rules on fishing activities and catching methods allowed within EU waters, confirming that the use of electric currents or ‘pulse fishing’ will be illegal from mid-2021.
The new rules contain restrictions on the use of certain types of fishing gear, a list of fish species that cannot be caught, as well as common guidelines on how, where and when EU fishermen may fish.
The issue of electric fishing has been at the forefront of the interinstitutional negotiations, as well as a heated public debate, holding up the entire legislation for months.
The controversial practice of pulse trawling consists of sending electric signals to stun and startle fish away from the seabed before scooping them up in nets.
Pulse trawling was officially banned in 1998, but a system of derogations set up in 2006 has allowed the practice to continue.
The technique has negative effects on juveniles and eggs, and damages marine wildlife. (EurActiv)