Pulse trawling uses electricity to flush flatfish or shrimp out of the sediments in which they hide. The electric shock makes them convulse and flip upwards, into the net. However, many other fish also suffer fractured vertebrae and internal hemorrhages, leading to death. These other fish that are not the intended targets but are killed anyway, including those with declining stocks such as cod, are not sold for food but are wasted and left to rot in the sea.
Not only does pulse trawling negatively impact the survival of some species, but it also puts the livelihoods of small-scale fishermen at risk.
Fishing in Europe with poisons, explosives and electricity is banned, yet the European Commission has gradually been rescinding the ban on using electricity. Eighty-five Dutch super trawlers have now been equipped with electric pulse gear. Recently the UK government has licensed a further 12 ships to use electric pulse trawling. These ships have been licensed to operate across the entire southern North Sea including the region's Special Area of Conservation. How will anything be conserved if these trawlers are allowed to rip it open every day? What is conservation supposed to mean?!
This massacre of our oceans needs to be stopped. The mass destruction of species is happening in the ocean as much as on the land. Please take note and act now by signing this petition. Many voices can be heard and petitions can make a difference.
Among the few studies of the impacts of pulse trawling conducted so far is one showing that between 50 and 70% of large cod that come close to a passing electrode at realistic field strengths suffer fractured vertebrae. The cracking of their spinal columns through electric shocks also creates internal hemorrhages.
In 2012, a small-scale fisherman in Kent told the Sunday Times that the areas through which the pulse trawlers have passed are “a graveyard. What they don’t catch, they annihilate. Virtually everything is dead.” Another reported “You can have as many as 50 dead Dover sole in an hour and a half. We would hardly ever see a dead fish before. It is a waste of time going to that area now. It stinks of dead fish.”
As for the effects of repeated exposure to electric shocks on the animals of the sea, the impacts these might have on their ability to breed, implications for the survival of long-lived species such as sharks, rays, whales, who knows? Studies in freshwater suggest that electric shocks can be highly damaging to both fish eggs and fish embryos, so what about in salt water?
Please sign now. Doing something no matter how small is far greater than doing nothing at all.
This petition expresses the views of many people regarding pulse trawling taking place in and around the UK. It is clear from the number of signatures taken that many are against this fishing method and I ask that you review this petition and please respond accordingly. Sincerly Lauren Bates