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News > World

European Parliament Bans Electric Pulse Fishing in EU Waters

  • Cartoon made by  @moncoeurbalance & cartoonist @TerreurGraphiQ

    Cartoon made by @moncoeurbalance & cartoonist @TerreurGraphiQ | Photo: @Bloom_FR

Published 17 April 2019

The European Union (EU) has prohibited the controversial practice of electric fishing within EU waters.

The European Union voted Tuesday to ban electric fishing within European Union waters starting mid-2021, during a full parliamentary session in Strasbourg, France.

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The legislation was passed with 571 to 60, with 20 abstentions.

The new regulation will prohibit electric fishing starting in 2021, leaving member states time to implement the new measure in their territorial waters. The new law combines 30 prior regulations and will provide one reference for fishing regulations across the EU, such as a ban on the controversial electrical fishing and restrictions on marine mammal catches.

Electric pulse fishing consists of sending electric shocks through the below-water sediment to capture the flatfish that live there.

According to BLOOM association, an organization which fights against destruction of the ocean, "there is enough empirical evidence of the ecosystem damage caused by pulse fishing for this fishing method to be banned in many countries around the world, including China, the U.S., Brazil, etc," said the organization in a statement.

With overwhelming majority, the @Europarl_ES has approved the prohibition of # electric fishing. The end of this destructive method will take effect in July 2021. This victory proves that David can win over Goliath.


The practice was actually prohibited in 1998 in Europe, but in 2006 an exception was allowed.

Electric fishing has been used especially by the Dutch fishing fleet which currently has at least 84 traulers equiped to fish with voltage. 

"We would have liked to see the ban (implemented) more quickly, in July 2019, but this is major progress! It is a victory of David against Goliath, the parliament and the 500 million citizens it represents (against) the lobbyists of industrial fishing," said French Socialist Party member Eric Andrieu who voted in favor of the move.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist, was invited to speak to the European Parliament Tuesday. During her speech, she called on EU policymakers to take more action on climate change. "I want you to act like the house is on fire. I want you to panic," she said. “In other words, it will take cathedral thinking. I ask you to please wake up and make changes required possible,” she told the European leaders.

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