The Netherlands have championed a technique for fishing which uses electric shocks to lure fish into their nets. It is called electric pulse fishing. The Dutch state (and fishing lobby) maintains that this technique is superior to traditional beam trawl fishing, because:
- It's less damaging to the seabed (does not scrape as much)
- It is more fuel efficient, because there's less resistance from the nets. According to a lobby group, the fuel saving are 75% percent.
- Gives a better yield
Given these arguments, the question is raised whether it is correct to ban electric pulse fishing, but not beam trawl fishing.
Is electric pulse fishing ecologically less harmful than traditional beam trawl fishing?
The Dutch claims are substantiated by Dutch research from Wageningen University, kindly offering their findings in English and French. Strikingly, exactly the people likely to consume information in these languages are staunchly opposed to this manner of fishing, namely the United Kingdom and France respectively. France has led a bitter campaign against electric pulse fishing, spearheaded by the French NGO Bloom. This campaign has ultimately led to an EU-wide total ban on pulse trawl fishing. One of the first actions the UK took after leaving the EU was to impose a ban on pulse trawl fishing.
According to Bloom, electric pulse fishing is very harmful and this is why it is banned in most countries:
China, which used it in the 90s, banned it in 2000 because of its uncontrollable nature and serious harmful effects on bio- diversity and targeted shrimp populations.
This seems to imply that the alternative is less harmful.