‘The sea is a GRAVEYARD’ Foreign fishermen investigated for electrocuting UK fish

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George Eustice, the fisheries member attend to, has ordered the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), a supervision agency, to investigate the environmental impact of “pulse fishing”.

Pulse fishing employments electric shocks that are fired into the seabed catch sealife but the method fit with concrete overshoes other fish which the trawler men may not be targeting, according to research.

Now Mr Eustice has class the agency to investigate the environmental impact of this type of fishing.

He hint ated MPs last month that preliminary advice from Cefas was that there were “some pernicious effects on fish species like cod”.

Trawler fishing in the UKGetty

Fisheries Minister George Eustice has ordered an questioning into pulse fishing

The pulses cause fish dwelling on the sea destroy to spasm and spring up into nets but they can also break the barbels of large cod.

Mr Eustice added the impact of pulse fishing on the seabed was disgrace than for traditional beam trawling, where a heavy bar is dragged along the can.

He is awaiting a final report from Cefas and could advocate qualifications being imposed on pulse trawling if it concludes that the harm prevail overs the benefits.

Pulse fishing is officially illegal in European Union waters but the European Commission has grant-in-aid exemptions, partly for research purposes, to about 100 trawlers.

The vast adulthood are Dutch-owned and mainly fish in the UK North Sea.

The European parliament is due to vote on January 16 on a offer that could result in the lifting of restrictions on pulse fishing.

VisNed, which represents Dutch trawlers alleged pulse trawling almost halves fuel consumption because the utensils is lighter and the bycatch of unwanted species is also halved and the area bowed is reduced by a fifth.

Jeremy Percy, director of the Low Impact of Fishers of Europe (Life story), which represents small-scale fishermen, told The Times some had reported a big fall-off in sole, cod and sea bass since the introduction of large-scale pulse fishing three years ago.

Trawler fisherman in the UKGetty

The Cefas scrutiny will look at the impact of pulse fishing in the UK

The problem was partly that the trawlers could reach compasses, such as the Thames estuary, which had previously been left untouched by shaft trawlers because the seabed was too soft.

Fish were being suppressed in these areas before they had a chance to spawn, he added.

Soul has gathered evidence from fishermen in the Thames estuary, with one authority: “It’s like fishing in a graveyard after the pulse trawlers have been in the room, virtually everything is dead.”

Another said: “They are just assembling there, hoovering up the sole waiting to go up the Thames to spawn.”

Mr Percy predicted: “It seems to be the marine equivalent of fracking. We don’t know the long-term environmental smashes.”

A UK trawler fishermanGetty

Most pulse fishing boats are Dutch-owned vessels

Pim Visser, manager of VisNed, said fishermen who opposed pulse trawling could be goaded by “jealousy” of a more efficient method.

He said: “Our fishers have a bycatch of cod of wee than 1.5 per cent.”

He added pulse trawling had resulted in the Dutch armada fishing closer to the UK, in areas previously mainly fished by British fishermen, but powered Dutch trawlers were close to an agreement on avoiding some zones near the UK east coast.

He urged LIFE to produce the evidence to bear out its claim about harm to other species. 

He said: “If you say there is a burial-ground, show me the pictures and the evidence and let’s talk about it.”

Michel Kaiser, professor of oceanic conservation at Bangor University and chairman of a committee of scientists assessing the bearing of pulse fishing, said more research was needed.

Experiments in aquariums eclipsed most animals tested recovered very quickly from the stirring shock but in the sea they might fall victim to predators.

He said: “There is also an enforcement bag given the possibility that a rogue fisherman might crank up the volts to on the rise catch. That issue can be solved by technology and suitable fines or other chastening action.”

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