Pulse fishing: the Netherlands against the rest of Europe
What is pulse fishing and why is it in the news right now and what is the Dutch role in this scandal? For a little bit more background of our story below, please first read this article from Sciencemag:
Some say that this affair is just as big a scandal as the scandal of illegal Japanese whaling, also supposedly under the guise of "research". But not many people talk about it even though it is just as outrageous for a number of reasons:
1 / Distortion of competition in the EU - small fishermen are being driven out of the market by this large-scale way of emptying the North Sea of fish. The Dutch do not even confine themselves to their own waters, but also enter the fishing waters of the British, the Belgians, the French, and even go into the more vulnerable areas where the fish breed, the nurseries and even in EU Natura 2000 areas. Pulse fishing is banned throughout the world and also in the EU ...... the competition problem is one of the main reasons for this.
2 / The Netherlands has received permission (and even money in the form of subsidies from the EU) as an exception to the rule of a general European ban on pulse fishing, to carry out research. For 5 boats to start with. Now there are 84 or possibly even more. Are so many necessary for research? According to many, and even the researchers themselves, it's not at all necessary. Moreover, that research has NOT been officially requested, framed, nor has it been explained exactly what it is that is being investigated. There is no independent “control” over the study and nothing has been reported since 2010. And how are we expected to just believe a research that is carried out by the University of Wageningen (Wageningen Marine Research (WMR)) and by fishermen who depend on the results of these studies for their livelyhoods?
3 / Who guarantees that the fishermen give the correct pulses of electricity. Demonstrations show how innocent the effect is (for humans), but the damage to, especially large, fish is not insignificant with broken spinal columns as a result (if you were to get such a big electric shock, so that the convulsions broke your spine, imagine how that would feel) and even the researchers with the most expertise in this area confess that everything that is left behind after such a pulse fishing ship has passed is "dead". You can read more in this article about the Effects on fish.
4 / The by-catch of starfish, or fish too small for consumption is not insignificant. And the catch each time is enormous! Imagine if the whole European fishing fleet would be allowed to use these boats the sea will be empty in no time.
Source: WMR
5 / the comparison between the beam trawling method and pulse fishing is equivalent to comparing the plague with cholera. Both are equally bad with the same disastrous consequences. They exterminate the scarce fish in the North Sea, which are already having enough difficulties. From an ethical point of view, this method of fishing is just as indefensible as an other way of fishing. It should be a thing of the past to want to catch fish in a sea that is already poor and polluted enough by human intervention and that endangers the other animals in the cycle.
If you watch this video you see what happens to the fish in the net of such a pulse fishing trawler:
NB Also take a look at the other videos on this page.
The fish tries to escape, gets entangled in the net, and then when the net is brought up (which they prefer not to show) it gasps for air, it is crushed by all the other fish / sea creatures, its eyes bulge out due to the pressure difference, and eventually it dies a slow and horrible death from oxygen deprivation.
Foto The Guardian: Fish the forgotten victims on our planet https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/sep/14/fish-forgotten-victims
Not so long ago research has shown that fish feel too!
Researchers agree that there are a large number of animal welfare problems associated with fishing in general. Below a quote from a researcher about the consequences of the pulse fishing of cod in the NRC (also a very interesting article to read but in Dutch): “Ethically it is undesirable, but it does not result in extra mortality. The majority of the cod that you fish is mostly doomed. Because of the pressure difference the swim bladder tears and their eyes can pop. And we know that you catch less cod with pulse fishing than with beam trawling.”
6 / Finally. How can anyone act for animals like pets, cows, pigs, chickens etc.... and yet close their eyes to the feeling of other animals, namely fishes? The answer is speciesism. Discrimination between animal species! We wrote a site about speciesism: https://anti-speciesism.com/NL.php and you can read more about fishing and speciesism here: https://anti-speciesism.com/Fishing-and-Fish-Farming.php
Conclusion: If all this is only to keep the Dutch fishermen in work, please give these people help to retrain. Or if they like the sea so much then give them money to ensure that they make the North Sea healthy and rich in flora and fauna again.
Further reading:
Electric Pulse fishing and the Effects on fish
Or to watch: