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EU Parliament votes to ban electric pulse fishing

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By Emma Beswick
EU Parliament votes to ban electric pulse fishing

MEPs today voted on new measures that affect fishing across the European Union, including a total ban on using pulsed electrical currents to fish.

The amendment was passed by 402 votes to 232, with 40 abstentions.

The controversial fishing technique is banned in much of the world but was partially authorised by the EU and defended as “environmentally friendly” by the European Commission and some researchers.

For example, the Dutch government has promoted its use along with the country’s fishermen who argue that trawlers employing it use less fuel, catch fewer fish unintentionally, and cause less damage to the seabed.

The method was forbidden by the EU in 1998 but over the past decade, a number of exemptions have been granted for the North Sea.

Environmental campaigners and groups representing small-scale fishing fleets have called for a full ban on electrical pulse fishing to be reinstated.

The new fisheries law also concerns where and when fish can be caught, updating and combining more than 30 regulations.

It provides common measures on fishing gear, methods and the minimum size of fish that may be caught, in addition to stopping or restricting fishing in certain areas or during certain periods.

The rules also allow for tailor-made measures to be adapted to the regional needs of each sea basin, according to the European Parliament.