EU: More fisheries to use innovative "pulse trawl" system

More Dutch fisheries can make use of a pulse trawl, an innovative type of fishing gear for catching sole and plaice. An agreement to that effect was reached between the European fisheries ministers and the European Commission. In negotiations over the conditions for the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) for the period 2014 2021, it was also decided to include the option of decommissioning a limited number of vessels. For the Netherlands, this presents an opportunity to reduce the shrimping fleet.

Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade Henk Bleker is pleased with the agreement. "Dutch fisheries can move ahead with their innovative, sustainable fishing operations and their profitable business practices. This sector in particular is comprised of many small businesses that work extremely hard. Now I can work with the sector and civil society organisations on measures for sustainable Dutch fisheries."

European fisheries ministers have reached an agreement on the conditions for sector support. These conditions apply to the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), whose purpose is to invest in innovation and sustainability, helping create an economically sound and sustainable fisheries sector. Eliminating bycatch remains a priority.

Dutch fishing vessels

A total of 42 vessels have already been equipped with the pulse trawl, a fishing net that floats just above the seabed and emits small electrical pulses to startle bottom-dwellers into the net. This form of trawling causes much less disturbance to the seabed than traditional methods, results in less bycatch, and uses far less fuel. Many requests have been received for the purchase of this innovative system. With this EU agreement to expand pulse trawling, requests currently pending can also be honoured.

The proposal drafted by the European Commission and the European fisheries ministers will now be submitted to the European Parliament. After the Parliament has considered the Commission’s proposals, the European Commission and the European fisheries ministers will establish definitive conditions.