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House of Commons Hansard
07 December 2017
Volume 632
  • 3. What steps his Department is taking to tackle pulse fishing in EU waters. [902792]

  • There are some concerns about the impact of pulse trawling on certain species of fish, in particular gadoids such as cod. Earlier this year, I asked the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science to review the science on pulse trawling. The preliminary advice concludes that while the impact on the seabed is typically smaller than for traditional beam trawling, there are some detrimental effects on fish species such as cod. Once CEFAS has completed its work, we will decide what steps are required next.

  • I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. He will be aware, I am sure, of the concerns of fishers in parts of south-east England about the impact of Dutch electric pulse fishing on the stocks that, surprise surprise, move across national boundaries and are consequently shared. At the moment, we have a voice at the table and we can influence, alongside other, more conservation-minded northern European countries, policies such as that on electric pulse fishing. How will we exert the same influence if we leave the European Union?

  • The right hon. Gentleman is right that pulse trawling is predominantly carried out by about 84 Dutch vessels, which mostly fish in UK waters to catch those species. Once we leave the European Union, we will decide the terms of access. That will give us the clarity and the ability to be able to ban certain approaches if we want to.

  • The European Union is currently proposing draconian measures for our recreational sea anglers. They will stop recreational fishing for half the year. These ridiculous proposals should be resisted. I seek assurances from the Minister that he will stand up for our recreational sea anglers.

  • The situation with bass is precarious, which is why I and the UK Government pressed for emergency measures three years ago. However, we believe it is important that the current International Council for the Exploration of the Sea advice is benchmarked to take account of measures that have already been brought in. We will be arguing for a more proportionate package this December.