UK to ban EU pulse fishing vessels post-Brexit

George Eustace

EU vessels will no longer be able to carry out electric pulse fishing in UK waters after Brexit, Fisheries Minister George Eustice has announced.

Pulse trawling is a controversial fishing method that uses electrical signals to drive flat fish, such as sole, from the seabed into nets. While further scientific research is being conducted into the practice, there are concerns about its impact on the marine environment.

Using an electric current to fish was banned by the EU in 1998 but since 2006 pulse beam trawling has been allowed under an EU derogation. At present, over 80 Dutch vessels hold permissions to use this method in certain parts of the southern North Sea, including in UK waters outside the 12-mile zone.

A Statutory Instrument was laid in Parliament yesterday to provide continuity for the fishing industry by ensuring EU law on technical conservation is operable in the UK – but the current permit for EU vessels will be removed, meaning they will not be able to conduct pulse trawling in UK waters.

The legislation comes as the UK prepares to leave the Common Fisheries Policy and become an independent coastal state, committed to building a sustainable and profitable fishing industry and delivering a green Brexit with new protections for our precious marine environment.

Fisheries Minister George Eustice said: “There are serious concerns about pulse fishing and it is wrong that the EU has allowed it to happen. We will stop EU vessels pulse fishing in UK, safeguarding our marine environment and keeping our seas sustainable for future generations.”