UK moves to forbid pulse fishing post-Brexit

Published on
February 18, 2019

European Union vessels will no longer be able to carry out electric pulse fishing in the waters of the United Kingdom after Brexit, U.K. Fisheries Minister George Eustice has announced.

Using an electric current to fish was banned by the E.U. in 1998 but since 2006 pulse beam trawling has been allowed under an E.U. derogation. At present, more than 80 Dutch vessels have permission to use this method in certain parts of the southern North Sea, including in U.K. waters outside the 12-mile zone.

A new statutory instrument has been laid in U.K. parliament to provide continuity for the fishing industry by ensuring E.U. law on technical conservation is operable in the United Kingdom, but the current derogation for E.U. vessels has been removed, meaning they will not be able to conduct pulse trawling in U.K. waters.

Because there are also three U.K. vessels that use pulse fishing, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is working with the Marine Management Organisation and Marine Scotland to review their licenses.

“There are serious concerns about pulse fishing and it is wrong that the E.U. has allowed it to happen,” Eustice said.“We will stop E.U. vessels pulse fishing in U.K. [waters], safeguarding our marine environment and keeping our seas sustainable for future generations.”

The E.U. Exit statutory instrument will apply if the United Kingdom leaves the E.U. without a negotiated deal, or after any implementation period included in a deal.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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