Today the European Parliament voted on a set of technical measures to protect fish stocks and marine ecosystems with a crucial GUE/NGL amendment calling for a full ban on electric pulse fishing – seen as unnecessary, cruel and destructive – approved by MEPs. 

GUE/NGL has for long defended small-scale artisanal fishing, where local fishers and communities have a symbiotic relationship with their own ecosystems, as the most sustainable alternative to foreign and large-scale industrial fishing currently being promoted by the EU.

The resolution was a response to a Commission proposal from March 2016 to establish a new and more simplified legislative framework in light of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The technical measures proposed set the rules which govern how, where and when fishers may fish. The ban on pulse fishing was among the most contested of the measures, with intense lobbying from the industry.

Irish MEP Liadh Ní Riada recognised the need for a more simplified legislation than what currently exists:

“Whilst in principle I support simplification of rules for fishermen and more regionalisation there were still a number of issues. It is true that the existing legislation was more complex and inflexible, and did not adequately take into account the characteristics of each fishery.”

“There is further debate and research needed on the impacts of electric pulse trawl fishing but so far we have not been convinced. The result of the vote today was based on that.”

Galician MEP Lidia Senra expressed satisfaction with the approval of the ban on electric pulse fishing: 

“An EU-wide ban on pulse fishing is good news for artisanal, coastal and low-impact fishing communities and I am happy to have been among the proponents of this amendment. Electric pulse fishing is incompatible with the sustainability that the European institutions aim to achieve with the CFP.”

“The Commission, Council and the Parliament must focus their efforts on completely banning pulse fishing and advancing measures to protect fisheries that are artisanal, coastal and of low-impact; and to guarantee the preservation of traditional methods like the ´xeito´ (a net fishing technique) in Galicia.”

“I nevertheless abstained in the overall resolution because I consider that the themes addressed in the report should be debated within the framework of the CFP, and not separate from it, and should strive to preserve local fishing traditions,” Senra concluded.

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