Welcoming the European Parliament’s vote to ban the use of electric pulse beam trawling, Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) highlighted the “massive negative impact” of this practice.

“It is so important to reiterate yet again that our resistance to the use of electric pulse fishing was not based on ‘fake news’, jealousy between fishermen or NGO dogma as suggested by VisNed but was as a direct result of the numerous first hand observations of other commercial fishermen from the UK, Belgium, France and even the Netherlands. These mainly inshore fishermen highlighted the massive negative impact that these boats have had,” said LIFE’s Executive Director, Jerry Percy.

“As the representative body for small scale fishermen across Europe, LIFE has a responsibility to accurately reflect their concerns and fight for their survival. When these fishermen were reporting the dramatic loss of not just commercial fish stocks but also negative impacts on almost every other form of life on and in the seabed, we were duty bound to take notice and support them in their cause.”

At an initial meeting with Dutch pulse interests, LIFE suggested that if the method was so harmless then they should keep it confined to Dutch waters only until they could prove it so. Neither the Dutch or their colleagues in the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations [NFFO] supported this suggestion and at a subsequent meeting where LIFE was excluded, a deal of sorts was agreed.

One UK fisherman participant described the meeting as nothing more than a PR job and likely to follow the same result as a similar meeting four years ago when the Dutch identified some closed areas, and then simply completely ignored the agreement.