Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ní Riada is calling on the European Commission to “urgently carry out more research” into pulse trawling.  Also known as electro trawling, this is a controversial, technologically advanced method of commercial fishing that has been used on an experimental basis but is reportedly making a breakthrough into mainstream European fisheries.

Pulse fishing

The Ireland South MEP who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, said there were too many unknown effects of the practice on marine life and ecosystems:

“Ordinary fishermen and conservationists alike describe pulse trawling as the marine equivalent of fracking when it comes to the fishing industry,” she remarked.

Fishermen have also reported a major decline in cod, seabass and other species in the North Sea since the Dutch introduced “large-scale pulse fishing” three years ago, she added. 

“The practice simply has too many unknown effects on marine organisims and the ecosystem so I am urging the Commission to carry out further research…as a matter of urgency,” she said.

An ICES report  published earlier in the year states that while irreversible effects of electrical stimulation seem to be restricted to vertebral fractures in cod and whiting, ‘further research on the effects of electrical stimulation on marine organisms and ecosystem functioning is needed to assess the effects on the scale of the North Sea’.