Electric fishing: #ComplaintFiled, 3 days to act

Our campaign to ban electric fishing has demonstrated the deep collusion between the Dutch fishing industry and the European Commission: the latter continues to blindly support the Netherlands despite their crystal-clear fraud on exemptions to practice electric fishing — a fraud that has now been going on for 10 years — despite two formal complaints [1], two referrals to the European Ombudsman [2] and nearly 60,000 emails sent by citizens. [3] BLOOM launched an unprecedented #ComplaintFiled campaign on 12 October 2020, which is now available in English, allowing all citizens to file an individual complaint with the European Commission in order to demand that law be enforced and sanctions taken against the Dutch Government.

> Exercise your citizen power and file a complaint in just 20 seconds.

You can also download and print the complaint, fill in your personal details manually and send it to this address: Secretariat General of the European Commission, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium

Simple, cost-free, and effective to make your voice heard

Citizen pressure has always been BLOOM’s best ally. It has already enabled us to win several historic victories, notably against deep-sea fishing and then against electric fishing. This is why BLOOM is now offering citizens to file a complaint with the European Commission against the Netherlands. The form is already pre-filled in. All the citizens have to do is to fill in their contact details for the complaint to be validated. “For the past three years, the Commission has been openly protecting a corrupt and corruptive lobby by clearly taking us for fools. It has been easy for them to ignore single complaints by BLOOM, but it will be much more difficult for them to ignore thousands of citizen complaints. The Commission leaves us no choice. Let’s overwhelm it with complaints and demand that it opens an infringement procedure against the Netherlands and the immediate withdrawal of all illegal licenses,” says Sabine Rosset, Director of BLOOM.

Let us exercise our citizen power

This individual legal action, multiplied by thousands of citizens, is a strong and engaging act that will allow us to make our voice heard and demand respect for democracy. Lobbies are more mobilised than ever to undo the slightest environmental or social advance; our historic victory, at your side, regarding the ban on electric fishing is far from being set in stone. Short-term industrial interests continue to defy the general interest, the protection of the ocean, and the perpetuation of small-scale fishing, but our institutions cannot be accomplices in this tragedy: citizens must regain power so that the law is applied equally to everyone. Cheaters and destroyers must be prosecuted and condemned for their misdeeds.

To go further

An impunity that has lasted too long

Despite the entry into force of the regulation prohibiting electric fishing, the Netherlands continues to flout European law with the official support of the European Commission. This regulation, which came into force in August 2019, only allows the use of 15 derogations until it is banned completely in June 2021. But BLOOM has demonstrated that there were still at least 27 active derogations in 2020. On 30 July 2020, the European Commission informed us of its intention to close our complaints without further action, while recognising that the Netherlands was indeed in breach. It even dared misinterpreting the European law to allow the electric fishing industry to keep its illegal licenses. BLOOM had then indicated its intention to file a new complaint if no action was taken against Dutch impunity. This has now been done and we ask you to follow us in this action and to file a complaint as well.

> Read the complaint filed by BLOOM

Notes and References

[1] BLOOM filed its first complaint on 2 October 2017: https://www.bloomassociation.org/en/pulse-fishing-bloom-files-a-complaint-against-the-netherlands/

BLOOM filed its second complaint on 18 September 2019: https://www.bloomassociation.org/en/electric-fishing-complaint/

[2] On 6 November 2018, in the absence of a response to our complaint of 2 October 2017, BLOOM referred the matter to the European Ombudsman, who is responsible for arbitrating cases of maladministration of the European institutions, transparency and ethics, for a finding of serious administrative shortcomings on the part of the European Commission. After being called to order in November 2018 by the Ombudsman, the Commission recognised for the first time the illegal nature of the majority of the Dutch derogations… and then did nothing to prevent the Commission from taking action against this bandit state.

On 5 June 2020, in the face of repeated violations of European regulations by the Netherlands and in the absence of a satisfactory response from the European Commission to our complaints, BLOOM once again referred the matter to the European Ombudsman and requested sanctions against this refractory member state. The Commission has until 15 October 2020 to respond to the Ombudsman and justify its total lack of reaction to the Dutch illegal fishing.

[3] Via our iPolitics platform (currently inactive): https://ipolitics.bloomassociation.org

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