Pulse fishing no longer allowed within 12 nautical miles of the coast. | Compendium Coast and Sea

Pulse fishing no longer allowed within 12 nautical miles of the coast.

Flemish Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Koen Van den Heuvel prohibits pulse fishing in the Belgian twelve-mile zone. The ban came into force on 14 August of this year, and Belgium, like France, is thus issuing the European regulation that will come into force on 1 July 2021 ahead of schedule.

Minister Van den Heuvel argues that the technology, which is now mainly used by Dutch fishing vessels, creates unfair competition with other fishermen in this part of the Belgian North Sea. Offenders will now be sanctioned and prosecuted. The ban came about after consultations with the Belgian coastal fishermen and marine recreational fishermen. Pulse fishing for research and experimentation is also no longer permitted. Future research should now focus on increased selectivity and survival and techniques that reduce seabed disturbance. In addition, research will also be carried out into alternatives such as temporary and local fishing bans, adjustments to the marine spatial plan, etc. for the benefit of a supporting policy.

The effect of this ban on the Belgian fishing fleet remains small, however, since the Belgian fishing fleet is only active in the Belgian North Sea to a limited extent and is more focused on lighter vessels and other sustainable techniques (Emiel Brouckaert, Redercentrale). The Netherlands, on the other hand, has some 80 vessels equipped with this technique. The argument here is that the pulse technique protects the seabed better than towing techniques, which means that less fuel is required and consequently less CO2 is emitted.


You can find the minister's statement here and if you want to know more about the Belgian fishing sector, you can go to our theme text 'Fisheries'.
Image (c) ILVO