Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the European Commission to urgently carry out more research on Pulse Trawling.
The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, said there were too many unknown effects of the practice on marine life and ecosystems.
“Ordinary fishermen and conservationists alike have described pulse trawling as the marine equivalent of fracking when it comes to the fishing industry,” she said.
“Fishermen have also been reporting a massive decline in cod, seabass and others species in the North Sea since the introduction of large scale pulse fishing 3 years ago by the Dutch.
“Meanwhile, English fishermen have stated that where the Pulse trawlers have been working they have found a huge amount of dead shellfish and other fauna.
“The practice simply has too many unknown effects on marine organisms and the ecosystem so I am urging the Commission to carry out further research on the effects of pulse trawling as a matter of urgency.
“I would also ask them to reconsider the current terms of the derogation until this research has been done.
“A recent ICES report quoted that ‘various adverse effects of electrical stimulation on fish have been reported. Electro-fishing in freshwater has been well studied and there is ample evidence of vertebral fractures and associated haemorrhages.’
“Samples taken from the commercial fishery also indicates that cod shows the highest incidence rate.
“When electrical fishing technologies were deployed in the East China Sea for the shrimp fishery, it led to the collapse of that fishery in the 90s, with the result that electrical fishing has been banned in China since 2001.
“While I acknowledge that some studies have stated that the impact to the seabed itself and the surrounding environment by pulse trawls is apparently less than that of a conventional beam trawl, others have stated that pulse trawls may negatively effect the ecological functioning of flora and fauna and the chemistry of our seabeds.
“There is simply too much unknown about the effects of the practice to let it continue without further investigation. The Commission must urgently carry out further research.”