Electric fishing for flatfish in the North Sea: pulse trawling

M.M.M. Rasenberg, F.J. Quirijns

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperProfessional


Electric Fishing is done by dragging wires on the sea bottom (the ‘pulse fishing’), allowing the fish to be startled from the bottom by electric stimulation. Many Dutch fishermen see pulse fishing as their future because of reduced fuel costs and good catches. At the same time, it is a heavily debated fishing method. Currently, 5% of the Dutch fleet (42 ships) uses the method on a temporary license. Whether they can continue using the method depends on politics but also on the availability of information and knowledge. To extend the amount of licenses for pulse fishing or to change the temporary license into a permanent one, more information was and is needed on the catch composition in pulse fishing. The Dutch government asked the fishing industry to provide these data. Therefore, in 2011 the fishing industry started a catch monitoring program together in kilograms in the sample of the quantities of plaice, sole, cod and other fish species (commercial and noncommercial), benthic species, stones, peat and shells. When registering fish species, a distinction is made in landing size and undersized fish. Halfway through the program, a quality check of the data was carried out. Based on the outcome, some changes were made in the program. Also, extra attention was given to fishermen that had problems filling in the forms in the correct way. The monitoring program will run until December 2012. The data are analysed and reported by scientists from IMARES. The data collected in the independent observer trips will be used as an extra control mechanism. Results of the monitoring program will be used in the discussion on whether pulse fishing can continue. At the same time, the industry also wants to use the data for certification needs (MSC certification). with research institute IMARES. 24 vessels participate in a self-sampling scheme and in addition ten independent observer trips are conducted. The fishermen were trained by IMARES to collect and sort samples from their catch. The participating fishermen take weekly at a fixed time a sample from the catch from one haul and sort this sample. The results are written down on the standard form that has been developed for this program and send it to IMARES. It concerns data on the volume of the total catch, the weight
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event7th IFOMC, Vina del Mar, Chile -
Duration: 8 Apr 201312 Apr 2013


Conference7th IFOMC, Vina del Mar, Chile


Dive into the research topics of 'Electric fishing for flatfish in the North Sea: pulse trawling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this