The two years of fierce fighting and the constant pressure exerted by BLOOM are finally bearing fruit in fishing ports. After having tried all possible legal remedies, the Dutch industry is beginning to convert its electric trawlers.

As a reminder, the definitive ban on electric fishing in Europe will take effect on 1 July 2021. During this transition period, most of the derogations previously granted will gradually expire and ship owners will be forced to comply.

The first important date is 1 June 2019, the day after which 42 licenses corresponding to the ‘pilot project’ for electric fishing become obsolete. This represents half of the entire fleet of trawlers equipped with electrodes (84 operational boats in early 2019). This conversion is a huge victory for BLOOM, the small-scale fishers and elected officials who accompanied us in this fight!

Of the remaining 42 vessels, around 30 are expected to undergo conversion during the month of July, in accordance with the 5% rule adopted by the European Parliament on 16 April 2019. Despite these clear limits imposed by European regulations, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten granted a scandalous reprieve to 20 licenses until 31 December 2019, under cover of research. She also overestimated the number of derogations corresponding to 5% of the fleet (22 boats instead of 14). We will fight to the end to ensure that the law is enforced and that there is not a single illegal boat practicing electric fishing.

France ahead of the European Union

While these deadlines have just been met or are approaching fast, the French Members of Parliament decided to anticipate the European ban by voting unanimously (53 votes to 0) in favour of prohibiting electric fishing within the French 12 nautical miles on may 9 2019. This text must now be ratified by the Senate before its application in July, unless it is sent back to Parliament for further discussion. At the European scale, Belgian and Dutch small-scale fishers are also asking for a ban on electric fishing in their territorial waters.

> To learn more about BLOOM’s historical fight against electric fishing, please read here.

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