Difference between revisions of "🐟 Fishing series: The scandal of electric fishing"

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Revision as of 15:44, 14 February 2020

You may have heard the term “electric fishing” before. If you have, it is most likely due to the fact that “electric fishing” has turned out to be an ongoing scandal-story followed by the press and NGOs since the end of the millennia. And the main actor of this scandal is: The Netherlands.

In fact, the green country, famous for its windmills and its peaceful pairies, may appear has one of the most advanced actors of the fight against climate change, whereas in reality the Netherlands is home to multiple institutions[1] and lobbies[2] which do not shy away from breaking the law to reach maximum productivity.

To that end, the scandal of “Electric fishing” has allowed NGOs[3] and the international community to shine a light on the Netherlands’s shameless violations of EU law, its extensive lobbying on the European Commission and its total indifference towards the state of the marine life in general.

But what is “Electric fishing”?

If the first image that comes to your mind is of fisherman, fishing rod in hand, electrocuting fishes, you are not too far off…

“Electric fishing” also called “Pulse fishing” is a technic designed to catch flat fish (such as sole or plaice) and crustaceans hiding under the sand at the bottom of the sea. It consists of a giant net equipped with electrodes, dragged by a boat across the sea bed. This net creates an electric field which knocks out the fish within its reach. Under shock and unable to move, the fish then float up to the surface of the water which allows the fishermen to simply scoop them up by the ton.

Click on this video to get a clearer idea of the system.
— See note below[4]


Before the invention of pulse fishing, fishing boats would only rely on trawling, which consists of dragging heavy chains along the sea bed to dislodge mollusks and flat fishes hiding under the sand at the bottom of the sea. But this method is costly. Indeed, trawling calls on large amounts of diesel to allow the dragging of the chain and net. It also damages the sea floor and the net unintentionally catch unwanted species.








Notes

  1. We can here reference the powerful Wageningen University which slogan says it all: “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life.
  2. We can here mention “VisNed”
  3. In particular, french NGO Bloom, which played a major part in the affair.
  4. Declaimer: It is produced by “pulsefishing.eu” which is primarily funded by the “Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality”. It, therefore, relies on biased numbers.