The electric shock makes them convulse and flip upwards, into the net. However, many other fish also suffer fractured vertebrae and internal hemorrhages, leading to death. These other fish that are not the intended targets but are killed anyway, including those with declining stocks such as cod, are not sold for food but are wasted and left to rot in the sea.
Fishing in Europe with poisons, explosives and electricity is banned, yet the European Commission has gradually been rescinding the ban on using electricity. Recently the UK government has licensed 12 more ships to use electric pulse trawling across the entire southern North Sea including the region’s Special Area of Conservation.
A on-line petition (with currently 49000 signatures) has been created, you can sign it here.
Not only does pulse trawling negatively impact the survival of some species of fish, but it also puts the livelihoods of small-scale fishermen at risk.
Tom Brown, secretary of Thanet Fishermen’s Association, said his members complained it was like “fishing in a graveyard” after the pulse trawlers had been in the area. “What they don’t catch, they annihilate,” he said. “Virtually everything is dead.”
Jeff Loveland, who owns two fishing boats in Ramsgate, which mainly catch Dover sole and skate, said: “This is absolutely devastating for us because we never caught so many fish that [were] already dead.
“You can have as many as 50 dead Dover sole in an hour and a half. We would hardly ever see a dead fish before.”
More on pulse trawling and it’s impact here.
It should also be noted that many of Scotland’s Inshore Fishery Groups are exploring the introduction of electro-fishing for razor clams.