BLOOM’s campaign

On this page, you can find the timeline of our campaign against electric pulse fishing, until the victory, together!

4 October 2016: BLOOM sends a letter to the French National Fisheries Committee (CNPMEM) to develop a joint position in favor of a full ban on electric fishing

In this letter, BLOOM asked the Committee to support a full ban on electric pulse fishing, due to our concerns regarding ecosystem impacts and the clear opposition to this technique by French fishers. We have never received any official response to our letter.

24 February 2017: Ségolène Royal requests a moratorium on electric fishing to the European Commission

In a letter sent to Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Ségolène Royal (Chair of COP21 and former French Minister of Ecology) advocated for a ban on electric fishing.

21 June 2017: BLOOM fights electric fishing at the European Parliament

Dutch fishing lobbies organize a conference at the European Parliament on 21 June 2017 on electric fishing. BLOOM attended the meeting and delivered a short speech to rebut flawed arguments heard during the presentation.

2 October 2017: BLOOM files a complaint against the Netherlands

BLOOM’s campaign officially started on the 2nd of October 2017, when we filed a complaint to the European Commission against the Netherlands with regards to their unlawful exemptions.

=> See the media impact of our complaint against electric pulse fishing.

2 October 2017: a weak and problematic French position on electric fishing

French Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert phrases the French official position explicitly: France will be opposed to derogations granted to electric fishing beyond 5% of each Member State’s beam trawl fleet in the North Sea but it does not question the existence and development of electric fishing. This is way too weak in the face of the problems posed by electric fishing on ecosystems and on the livelihoods of small-scale fishers of Northern Europe.

9 October 2017: priority question to the European Commission

French Green MEP Pascal Durand submits a priority question to the Commission about the unlawful number of exemptions that were granted to Dutch trawlers. The Commission is supposed to answer withing three weeks, but had still not provided any clarification on the matter after the Parliament’s vote (16 January 2018).

27 November 2017: The answer of the Commission can be read here.

“P-006573/2017
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission (27.11.2017)
The Commission is currently examining the complaint lodged by BLOOM and is in the process of verifying the relevant infomation, notably as regards the exact number of licenses granted by the Netherlands pursuing to Article 31a of Regulation (EC) No 850/98[1].
As long as this verification is not completed, the Commission is neither in a position to provide the Honourable Member with an accurate state of play, nor to make any statement concerning compliance with the above-mentioned Article over the years.”

[1]    Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98 of 30 March 1998 for the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms, OJ L 125, 27.4.1998, p. 1–36

2 November 2017: BLOOM launches a petition against electric pulse fishing

BLOOM launched a petition against electric pulse fishing before the PECH Committee vote of the Parliament (held on 21 November 2017) which was going to decide whether MEPs agreed to consider electric pulse fishing a potentially “conventional” fishing method (which it is not!).

petition

6 November 2017: small-scale fishers from Northern France threaten to block ports depending on the outcome of the Parliament’s PECH Committee on 21 November

Sole gillnetters from Northern France announce that they will block the port of Calais if Members of the PECH Committee of the European Parliament vote for the expansion of electric fishing in Europe.

8 November 2017: small-scale fishers of Europe send an open letter to MEPs

The LIFE (Low Impact Fishers of Europe) platform writes to MEPs, asking them not to soften the current framework on electric pulse fishing.

8 November 2017: French MP Paul Christophe requests the French Government to clearly position itself against electric fishing

The answer of the French Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert is weak and ambiguous: “we will not defend electric fishing”

14 November 2017: meeting of the shadow rapporteurs at the Parliament

While in Strasbourg for a Plenary session, MEPs of the Fisheries (PECH) Committee gathered to discuss the Technical Measures Regulation and determine a political compromise on electric ‘pulse’ fishing, which will most likely be adopted during the PECH Committee vote (and it was). See details on the Compromise position below (see outcome of the vote of 21 Nov. 2017).

14 November 2017: Rt. Hon. Richard Benyon calls on the UK to fully ban electric fishing before leaving the E.U

At a Westminster Hall Debate, MP and former UK Minister for Fisheries and the Natural Environment (2010-2013) Rt. Hon. Richard Benyon said: My final point is to ask, please, in the remaining months for which we are in the EU, that we hold it to account to make sure that pulse fishing is banned. […]” (at 15’22).

15 November 2017: op-ed in Le Monde signed by politicians and scientists

An op-ed is published in Le Monde, in which politicians and scientists ask for a full ban on a destructive fishing method.

According to the signatories, “accepting the development of pulse fishing would also implicitly mean we admit failure: there are not enough fish left for fishers to fill their nets without needing increasingly efficient fishing gears“.

The op-ed was also published in Spanish in EfeVerde and La Vanguardia.

15 November 2017: BLOOM’s campaign against electric fishing is featured on main French TV news

France 2, one of the main French TV channels, airs a 5 mn coverage on electric fishing in prime time.

16 November 2017: BLOOM requests more transparency to the Dutch lobby

During a “Common Language Group” (CLG) meeting facilitated by Seafish in London on 16 November 2017, BLOOM reminded Dutch fishing lobby VisNed that we still did not have any clarification on the complaint that we had filed against the Netherlands to the European Commission regarding their illegal licenses. We also asked VisNed’s representative, Mr. Pim Visser, to provide us with the full list of beneficiaries of the 2007-2014 European Fisheries Fund (EFF). The Netherlands is one of the only EU coastal countries (along with Bulgaria, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Portugal) not to have published this list. This is unfortunate, as most vessels using pulse trawls would have been equipped under this Fund.

21 November 2017: BLOOM’s petition gathers over 84 000 votes prior to the PECH Committee vote!

84 000 signatures were gathered before the vote on the Technical Measures Regulation by the European Parliament’s PECH Committee. BLOOM gathered several MEPs on a picture of supporters to the full ban: Yannick Jadot (Greens, France), Anja Hazekamp (GUE, Netherlands), Karima Delli (Greens, France), Marco Affronte (Greens, Italy), Pascal Durand (Greens, France) and Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE, France). Thanks to our champions for supporting our campaign against electric pulse fishing, and thanks to all of you who signed the petition!

BLOOM delivers its petition

BLOOM delivers its petition to our champion MEPs against electric pulse fishing

21 November 2017: the European Parliament’s PECH Committee opens the door to the expansion of electric fishing

The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee voted for a possible massive expansion of electric ‘pulse’ fishing in Europe. All the amendments tabled by MEPs under the direct influence of Dutch Fishing industry – which was loudly present in the room and reminded by MEPs to behave – were adopted.

The main compromise amendment (Compromise 10 on Article 24) concerning electric ‘pulse’ fishing in the Regulation on Technical Measures was adopted by 23 MEPs against 3. It approves the possible limitless commercial expansion of electric pulse fishing in Europe should research fail to demonstrate after four years “direct or cumulative negative impacts on marine habitats”.

=> Read our analysis of the vote outcome here

BLOOM’s presence with media and fishers ensured, by a close vote (one vote difference!) that at least the Rapporteur (Spanish EPP MEP Gabriel Mato) did not obtain a “mandate” from the Committee members to go straight into final Trilogue negotiations without first having to go through a Plenary vote process.

This gave our campaign a chance to turn around these bad results. Countdown was on because lobbies obtained that the Plenary vote would occur right after Christmas. Bearing in mind that the Parliament went into Christmas recess on Dec. 15 and reconvened on January 8, this only gave us about 3 weeks to reach out to 750 MEPs and alert them on the consequences of their vote!

21 November 2017: French MEP Younous Omarjee (GUE) requests a full ban

 

24 November 2017: French MP Erwan Balanant requests a full ban

 

27 November 2017: sole gillnetters from Northern France announce that they want a full ban

Following a meeting in Boulogne-sur-Mer, representatives of the sole netters sector announce that they want a full ban, i.e. no derogation.

27 November 2017: The answer of Karmenu Vella to Pascal Durand

Read the French Green MEP Pascal Durand’s priority question to the Commission and the answer here

“P-006573/2017
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission (27.11.2017)
The Commission is currently examining the complaint lodged by BLOOM and is in the process of verifying the relevant infomation, notably as regards the exact number of licenses granted by the Netherlands pursuing to Article 31a of Regulation (EC) No 850/98<a href=”#_ftn1″ name=”_ftnref1″>[1]</a>.
As long as this verification is not completed, the Commission is neither in a position to provide the Honourable Member with an accurate state of play, nor to make any statement concerning compliance with the above-mentioned Article over the years.”

29 November 2017: The amended version of the Regulation on Technical Measures is published

Following the vote of 21 November, the final version of the text amended by the PECH Commission is published.

29 November 2017: Joachim Son-Forget asks a question to the government

On Wednesday, Joachim Son-Forget, deputy from the majority, asks the Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert a question about pulse fishing. He requests a “strong position, with no ambiguity against the extension of derogatory measures as well as fallacious experimental arguments that follows.

4 December 2017: Fishmongers and processors against electric fishing

Following up on the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee paving the road to electric ‘pulse’ fishing, mobilisation continues and support gets bigger among professionals.

On December 4, the Association des Poissonniers de France – a French organization that gathers 6 400 fishmongers, processors etc. of the fishing sector for their know-how and passion – published an official statement against electric pulse fishing and announced the boycott of seafood from the Netherlands. This measure will be hold until electric fishing is completely banned in Europe. The group declared that the vote was “unjustifiable and unreasonable”, and also alarmed on the environmental disaster that is taking place.

5 December 2017: Giant French retailer Intermarché against electric fishing

On December 5, giant French retailer “Intermarché Agromousquetaires”asked for a moratorium on electric fishing. Their press release highlighted the negative impacts on marine ecosystems and but also pointed at the economic and social threats for the artisanal fishing sector in the North Sea.

It is the issue of responsible and sustainable fishing that is raised through this new and complementary mobilisation. The rejection by fishmongers, processors and retailers, who are the first concerned by this fishing technique, is a strong signal sent to MEPs. It must be heard. If not, their decision to mainstream electric fishing would be another argument to feed the criticisms against a technocratic Europe that is disconnected from environmental but also social and economic realities.

6 December 2017: The French small-scale fishers platform supports their colleagues from the North Sea

The French small-scale fishers platform brilliantly put into perspective the development of electric fishing and subsequent issues that their artisanal colleagues face in the North Sea. The platform “strongly and unanimously” supports their fellow fishers in their fight against electric fishing. Their words speak volume:

Let’s not be mistaken: with the question of electric pulse fishing, it is once again the industrialisation issue of the artisanal fishing sector in France and Europe that is at stake. If we allow electric pulse fishing like we authorized giant Dutch, British and French trawlers, it will increase the power of industrials. Just like pelagic trawling, Danish seine or any other super effective fishing gear, the rules of the game change each time a new technique, more efficient and more economical, emerges. It causes the smallest and the least performing fishers to go bankrupt and leads the other to embrace this new technique.

7 December 2017 Small-scale fishers abandoned by their National Committee

Over thirty fishers from the North of France went to Paris to demand the support of their National Committee (CNPEM) in their fight against electric fishing. Their request was clear: they wanted their Committee to show strong public support towards small-scale North Sea fishers and whose fishing resources are looted by the Dutch’s ultra-efficient electric trawls. They wanted their Committee’s support for a total ban of electric fishing in Europe, with no exemption possible. They also asked the Committee’s executives to pressure the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Stéphane Travert, in order to have his support on the file so he could ask for a total ban of electric fishing at Council. Unfortunately, the dice were loaded: the Committee seems to have other fishes to fry than to help small-scale fishers. They clearly support industrial interests rather than French artisanal fishers, even though those interests are Dutch. Their press release was crystal-clear: the Committee has concluded a deal with the Dutch and is open to negotiating with them…

This could be the last round in a decade-long war between industrials and small-scale fishers. This time, the latter might get crushed by the former.

 

12 December 2017: European petition to stop Electric Pulse Fishing in Europe

It will undoubtedly take time to rid ourselves of this terrible fishing method, but with the support of citizens, we have managed to get deep-sea trawling banned in Europe, so let’s get to work to show what we are capable of together!

European petition to stop Electric Pulse Fishing in Europe

 

13 December 2017: Adrien Quatennens asks a request to the government

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followed by a tweet from Ugo Bernalicis, deputy of the group « France Insoumise »

13 December 2017: The Dutch Federation of Fish Wholesalers and Processors issues a letter against BLOOM

Visfederatie, the Dutch Federation of Fish Wholesalers issues a letter against BLOOM dealing with pulse fishing. This letter debunks BLOOM’s arguments to underline only the “environmental benefits” of this fishing technique. This way of addressing to BLOOM merely demonstrates that Dutch lobbies fear our impact on this campaign.

14 December 2017: The Dutch government replicates

The Dutch embassy defends pulse fishing in a press release and uses the same arguments as lobbies and industry to make the case for the benefits of this technique.

18 December 2017: Press Release from the Socialist Party

This press release recalls that pulse fishing has strictly been forbidden in Europe since 1998, but also mentions the great doubts that still exist on the impact and damages of this fishing method.

The French socialist delegation calls on MEPs to vote against pulse fishing in Europe during the plenary session on behalf of the sustainability principle and ask for the Parliament to delay the vote. According to them, the current draft agenda does not allow NGOs and small scale fishermen to get their voices heard.

On the following day, this statement is shared by Sylvie Guillaume, S&D MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament.

19 December 2017: Elected officials from the local council of Boulogne (CAB) vote against a far-right resolution against pulse fishing

During the Community Council, the majority of elected officials including Frederic Cuvillier (yet strongly opposed to pulse fishing)  voted against a far-right resolution. This resolution “goes against the development of electric pulse fishing as part of the current derogation system.

Instead, Frédéric Cuvillier suggested its own resolution which was then adopted by the majority. Antoine Golliot considers this resolution as a “placebo” while the mayor of Boulogne sees it as a “more moderate position”. However, it states for “a greater scrutiny regarding the consequences of adopting the new regulation as such” and to “take into account the lack of sound/reliable scientific report”. It doesn’t mean or implicate in any way a pulse fishing ban.

19 December 2017: MEP Younous Omarjee (GUE/NGL) calls for a “ban on barbaric electric pulse fishing in Europe”

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20 December 2017: Draft Agenda for the Plenary Session in Strasbourg

The vote will take place on 16th January 2018, which is still too of short a time for the European Parliament to seriously consider the issue.

21 December 2017: Jean-Luc Mélenchon declares his opposition to pulse fishing

In his week’s review, Jean-Luc Mélenchon decided to speak about pulse fishing and strongly opposed the idea of legalizing this fishing method (beginning 21’10, in French).

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25 December 2017: “L’ère du Peuple” comes back to the topic of pulse fishing

The webzine “L’ère du Peuple” publishes an article entitled “Atomic Fishing is on the Way ‘’. It covers the historical background of the topic, from its ban in 1998 to the opposition to its extension by several French deputies and MEPs, includingYounous Omarjee, Joachim Son-Forget and Adrien Quatennens.

26 December 2017: Jean-Luc Mélenchon sends a Parliamentary question

Jean-Luc Mélenchon questions France’s position on a total ban of electric pulse fishing and the lack of relevant and independent scientific research on this subject.

8 January 2018: new revelations on a European scandal

As the European Parliament prepares to vote on whether to restore the 1998 ban on electric fishing or to authorise its wide use throughout Europe, a group of NGOs and fisher organizations[1] have sent a joint letter to the European Commission revealing a compromising document, which questions the morality of its 2006 proposal to lift the ban on electric fishing.[i] The letter reveals that expert scientific advice to the Commission was blatantly ignored and requests the European Commission immediately withdraw all provisions concerning electric fishing from its legislative proposal on the Technical Measures Regulation,[ii] which will be voted by the European Parliament on 16 January 2018.

Read the press release in english

Read the press release in french

Read the press release in spanish

Read the press release in italian

 

BLOOM, End Ecocide on Earth, the Irish Wildlife Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST), the Black Fish, Our Fish, Notre Affaire à Tous, Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE), Gillnet Fishers of the North of France, Thanet Fishermen, Queenbourgh Fishermen, Leigh and Southend Fishermen, Mersea Island Fishermen, Lowestoft Fish Market Alliance, Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation (IIMRO), Plateforme Petite Pêche Artisanale Française, Fishermen United.

[i] Electric fishing has been banned in Europe since 1998 by Article 31 of Council regulation (EC) No 850/98.

[ii] On 11 March 2016, the European Commission released its legislative proposal to reform the Technical Measures Regulation (COM(2016) 134 final).

9 january 2018: Spanish artisanal fishermen support ban on electric fishing

The Lonxanet Foundation has taken a public position for the ban on electric fishing in a statement and joined the support of BLOOM. The foundation works for the Spanish artisanal fishery and groups associations of artisanal fishermen.

10 january 2018: the European Parliament under high tension

BLOOM organized an event sponsored by several political groups (ALDE, CRE, GUE / NGL, S&D and Greens/EFA) during which several announcements were made demonstrating a strong mobilization of public opinion and professional actors against fishing Electric: the Manifesto of Chefs against electric fishing, the commitment of large retailers, the opposition of citizens to electric fishing, the position of intellectuals and fishermen.

During this event, the MEPs were able to attend an “artivist” performance.

From left to right : Valérie Le Brenne (BLOOM), Marco Affronte (MEP), Sophie Goudet (Kantar Public), Philippe Cury (scientist), Stéphane Pinto (representative of the gilliers of the Hauts de France), Franck Aubry (Quality Director Sustainable Development), Claire Nouvian (BLOOM), Yannick Jadot (MEP), Frédéric Le Manach (BLOOM), Paul Lines (UK fisher), Ken Kawahara (Plateforme Petite Pêche), ?, Didier Gascuel (scientist), ?, Olivier Plumandon (GUE/NGL), Pascal Durand (Green/ALE), Laetitia Bisiaux (BLOOM)

 

10 january 2018: 249 French deputies sign an op-ed in Le Monde

249 French deputies took up the cause against the reintroduction of electric fishing in Europe in an op-ed called “Electric fishing:” This practice is shameful to Europe and discredits us on the international scene “.

10 january 2018: Top European chefs take electric pulse fishing off the menu

Chef Christopher Coutanceau – Maison Coutanceau** in La Rochelle, inspired by his love of fine and good products and his membership of vast networks of Michelin-starred chefs, wrote the Manifesto of Chefs in support of BLOOM, presented Wednesday 10 January at the BLOOM press conference in the European Parliament.
“We refuse to work with seafood coming from a fishing method that condemns our future and that of the ocean,” said the text written by Christopher Coutanceau, whose restaurant on the Atlantic coast in La Rochelle, western France, has earned two Michelin stars.
Relais & Châteauxhas joined the commitment of the chiefs . The organization is committed to the protection of marine biodiversity and respect for the sea, which is its largest “pantry” in the world.
More than 200 top chefs across Europe have pledged to stop sourcing seafood obtained by electric pulse fishing, days before an EU vote that could expand the use of the controversial technique.
More informations here.
Access to the list here.

13 january 2018: Advocacy document against electric fishing

As part of our campaign against electric fishing, we have prepared an advocacy document that reviews the many environmental and social problems caused by electric fishing, but also the underlying political and financial scandal: in 2006, the European Commission went against scientific advice to allow this prohibited fishing method. Since then, millions of euros of public money have been injected into “research” and the equipment of fishing vessels with electric trawls.

Meanwhile, artisanal fishers are going bankrupt.

Read our advocacy document here.

14 january 2018: Rebuttal to the Dutch electric trawling lobbies

As BLOOM’s campaign against electric fishing grows stronger, and as more and more voices rise up against this destructive fishing method ahead of the European Parliament’s vote on Tuesday January 16 2018, Dutch lobbies are desperately trying to counter our well-referenced arguments.[1]

To this end, VisNed’s electric fishing lobby has prepared an advocacy document, which has been distributed to MEPs. Here, we refute one by one the biased, erroneous or simply false arguments. Indeed, trying to depict the electric trawl as a virtuous and sustainable gear by comparing it to one of the worst fishing method ­— the beam trawl — is outrageous.

Read our rebuttal to the Dutch electric trawling lobbies here.

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