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

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These are few between many detrimental impacts of pulse fishing on the environment. (to learn more on the matter, you can read through: [http://www.bloomassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/plaidoyer-peche-electrique-v3.pdf/ Bloom’s document which references many detailed studies]
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[[File:Electric trawl.png|thumb|Thumbnailed image|A pulse fishing trawl]]
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[[File:Pulse fishing vote.jpg|thumb|Thumbnailed image|EU's 2017 vote to ban electric pulse fishing]]
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[[File:Visned.png|thumb|Thumbnailed image|Illustration produced by VisNed, one of the most powerful dutch fishing lobby]]
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[[File:Broken spine.png|thumb|Thumbnailed image|Scan of a fish’s spine broken by the shock of the pulse]]
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[[File:A flat sole.png|thumb|Thumbnailed image|A flat sole.png]]
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[[File:Newspaper pulse.png|thumb|Thumbnailed image|British fishing magazine announcing the ban of pulse fishing]]
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[[File:Electric fishing.png|thumb|Thumbnailed image|A pulse fishing trawl]]
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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: <u>The Netherlands</u>.
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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<ref>We can here reference the powerful Wageningen University which slogan says it all: “<i>To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life.</i> </ref> and lobbies<ref>We can here mention “VisNed”</ref> which do not shy away from breaking the law to reach maximum productivity.
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To that end, the scandal of “Electric fishing” has allowed NGOs<ref>In particular, french NGO [https://www.bloomassociation.org/nos-actions/nos-themes/peche-electrique/ Bloom], which played a major part in the affair.</ref> 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.
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== But what is “Electric fishing”? ==
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If the first image that comes to your mind is of fisherman, fishing rod in hand, electrocuting fishes, you are not too far off…
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“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.
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<b>Click on [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7n06xlkYpw/ this video] to get a clearer idea of the system.</b><br>
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— See note below<ref>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.</ref>
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== The impact of electric fishing on the Environment and marine life ==
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==== The argument of Fuel ====
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:Before the invention of pulse fishing or “pulse trawling”, fishing boats would only rely on “beam 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. This method, which has a devastative impact on the sea beds, unintentionally catch unwanted species, is also very costly. Indeed, trawling calls on large amounts of diesel to allow the dragging of the chain and net.
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:Pulse fishing was therefore advertised by the dutch as a “climate friendly”, less calorific alternative than conventional trawling with numbers such as 46% less fuel. These incredible numbers on which the dutch relied to advocate for more pulse trawling are however challenged by french NGO [http://www.bloomassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/plaidoyer-peche-electrique-v3.pdf/ Bloom] which argues that electric trawlers use slightly less fuel<ref>An electric trawler consumes 2.21 litres of fuel per kilo of fish caught, whereas a beam trawler consumes 2.36 l/kg</ref> because they manage to catch their sole quota much faster with the efficiency of the gear. 
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==== The effect on marine life ====
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:The electric current, which was meant to knock the fish out for a few minutes, was actually proven to make fish undergo violent convulsions, often leading fish touched by the pulse to be injured or to die.
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:50% to 70% of northern sea cod in the array of the electric arc are said to be left with a broken spine and internal bleeding<ref>The effect of electric pulse stimulation to juvenile cod and cod of commercial landing size. IMARES Report C141/11. Available at: www.wur.nl/en/Publication-details.htm?publicationId=pub-lication-way-343137383633.55<br>Pulse trawl fishing: characteristics of the electrical stimulation and the effect on behaviour and injuries of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). ICES Journal of Marine Science 73(6): 1557-1569.</ref>. Just as well, since electric fishing is in use in the north sea, the north sea has seen its banks of cod eggs reduced by 25% as the electric current used by electric trawlers jeopardizes the integrity and future of marine ecosystems by impacting both the hatching of eggs and survival of larvae.
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These are few between many detrimental impacts of pulse fishing on the environment. (to learn more on the matter, you can read through: [http://www.bloomassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/plaidoyer-peche-electrique-v3.pdf/ Bloom’s document which references many detailed studies]
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== Notes ==

Revision as of 16:55, 14 February 2020

A pulse fishing trawl
EU's 2017 vote to ban electric pulse fishing
Illustration produced by VisNed, one of the most powerful dutch fishing lobby
Scan of a fish’s spine broken by the shock of the pulse
A flat sole.png
British fishing magazine announcing the ban of pulse fishing
File:Electric fishing.png
A pulse fishing trawl

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]

The impact of electric fishing on the Environment and marine life

The argument of Fuel

Before the invention of pulse fishing or “pulse trawling”, fishing boats would only rely on “beam 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. This method, which has a devastative impact on the sea beds, unintentionally catch unwanted species, is also very costly. Indeed, trawling calls on large amounts of diesel to allow the dragging of the chain and net.
Pulse fishing was therefore advertised by the dutch as a “climate friendly”, less calorific alternative than conventional trawling with numbers such as 46% less fuel. These incredible numbers on which the dutch relied to advocate for more pulse trawling are however challenged by french NGO Bloom which argues that electric trawlers use slightly less fuel[5] because they manage to catch their sole quota much faster with the efficiency of the gear.

The effect on marine life

The electric current, which was meant to knock the fish out for a few minutes, was actually proven to make fish undergo violent convulsions, often leading fish touched by the pulse to be injured or to die.
50% to 70% of northern sea cod in the array of the electric arc are said to be left with a broken spine and internal bleeding[6]. Just as well, since electric fishing is in use in the north sea, the north sea has seen its banks of cod eggs reduced by 25% as the electric current used by electric trawlers jeopardizes the integrity and future of marine ecosystems by impacting both the hatching of eggs and survival of larvae.

These are few between many detrimental impacts of pulse fishing on the environment. (to learn more on the matter, you can read through: Bloom’s document which references many detailed studies








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.
  5. An electric trawler consumes 2.21 litres of fuel per kilo of fish caught, whereas a beam trawler consumes 2.36 l/kg
  6. The effect of electric pulse stimulation to juvenile cod and cod of commercial landing size. IMARES Report C141/11. Available at: www.wur.nl/en/Publication-details.htm?publicationId=pub-lication-way-343137383633.55
    Pulse trawl fishing: characteristics of the electrical stimulation and the effect on behaviour and injuries of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). ICES Journal of Marine Science 73(6): 1557-1569.