On Wednesday March 21st, 2018, Emmanuel Macron visited The Hague in the Netherlands in order to meet the Netherland’s Prime Minister, Mark Rutte. The French president discussed many subjects during the public press conference, but it wasn’t until the intervention of a journalist that the issue of electric fishing was raised.


The president took the liberty of addressing the electric fishing file, despite the subject not being a part of the agenda. This declaration is the first public position from a European president against electric fishing: “I assure you that I am not in favor of electric pulse fishing. I know that this subject is very controversial among our fishers. I also know that it has been proven to have a damaging effect on fish stocks and therefore I think that the European decision was a good one affirmed the President.

The place was symbolic as it is the Netherlands, enthusiastic defenders of electric fishing, who granted 84 exemptions to practice this prohibited and destructive fishing method. The European Parliament voted in favor of a total ban on electric fishing on January 16th, 2018. The negotiations in ‘trilogue’ between the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union started on March 19th, 2018. They will determine the future of electric fishing in Europe.

Watch the video of Emmanuel Macron’s speech from minute 25:58, here.

Emmanuel Macron spoke about electric pulse fishing in the past tense, as if the ban was already effective. He then invited the Netherlands to turn toward truly sustainable fishing methods: “This is a controversial subject. On one hand, it’s said that electric  fishing allows for a reduction in fuel consumption, that’s good for the climate, and on the other hand I believe that it has not been good for biodiversity or for fish stocks. So here it is, we will find other methods but we will do it intelligently in order to preserve the both of them, as well as the interests of our fishers.” The Dutch Minister then reminded us that the negotiations at the European level were still ongoing and that this topic would not be treated bilaterally with France. He then abruptly ended the press conference by refusing a French journalist’s question.

BLOOM congratulates the strong position taken by President Macron, and encourages the Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert to find allies in order to form a qualified majority within Council such as the one suggested in front of the National Assembly on March 6th, 2018.

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