Breaking news! EU-wide ban on electric pulse fishing

fishing

New EU rules on how, where and when fish can be caught, were voted on by the European Parliament on 16th January 2018. MEPs inserted an amendment to ban the use of electric pulse fishing.

The new law – updating and combining more than 30 regulations – would provide for common measures on fishing gear and methods, the minimum size of fish that may be caught and stopping or restricting fishing in certain areas or during certain periods.

It also allows for tailor-made measures to be adapted to the regional needs of each sea basin.

An amendment calling for a total ban on the use of electric pulse fishing (e.g. to drive fish up out of the seabed and into the net) was passed by 402 votes to 232, with 40 abstentions.

EU-wide prohibitions

The EU rules, reported as ‘designed progressively to reduce juvenile catches’, would:

  • prohibit some fishing gear and methods,
  • impose general restrictions on the use of towed gear and static nets
  • restrict catches of marine mammals, seabirds and marine reptiles, including special provisions to protect sensitive habitats, and
  • ban practices such as “high-grading” (discarding low-priced fish even though they should legally be landed) in order to reduce discarding.

Regional measures

Regional measures would cover minimum conservation reference sizes, and closed or restricted areas. Member states and the Commission would have 18 months after the entry into force of the regulation to adopt regional rules on mesh sizes.

However, it would be possible to deviate from these regional rules, via a regional fisheries multi-annual plan or, in the absence of such a plan, via a decision by the EU Commission.

Member states could submit joint recommendations to this end, and MEPs ask them to “base their recommendations on the best available scientific advice”.

Read the full European Parliament press release and access the legislative papers here.

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