BLOOM’s information requests on electric fishing

On this page, we explain how we compiled the list of Dutch beam trawlers equipped with electrodes.

There is no list of electric trawlers on any of the official governmental portals or documents. The only list that exists is the one put together by the Cooperatieve Visserij Organisatie (CVO; an association of Producers Organization), which needed to be produced for the assessment procedure of the ‘Marine Stewardship Council’ (MSC) seafood label. As part of this assessment, a list of 84 Dutch vessels was provided, along with three UK-flagged and three German-flagged vessels.[1] By cross-referencing multiple sources (e.g. MarineTraffic etc.), we have updated and complemented this list.

It is important to note however that there has not been any official list of electric trawlers since this MSC assessment. Furthermore, there is no official indication of the dates at which each electric trawler was equipped with electricity, despite numerous requests to the electric fishing’s principal scientist (IMARES’ Dr. Adriaan Rijnsdoorp), the main representative of the electric trawling sector (VisNed’s Chief Executive Willem ‘Pim’ Visser), and ICES. A correspondence with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has also been initiated but no response has yet been obtained. Below, we provide the full correspondence with these actors.

Requests to IMARES

Requests to VisNed

Requests to ICES

Request to the Dutch Ministry of Economic affairs

First email sent on 25 October 2018 with a letter requesting access to the data described above.

As a result of this opaque context and in the absence of an official list, it is possible that our list may therefore contain some inaccuracies, and a few vessels may no longer be equipped with electrodes.[2] However, we assumed by default that our list was exhaustive and accurate. The burden of proof should be on the fishing industry given that electric fishing is supposed to be a scientific trial, therefore full accountability should be mandatory.

Notes and references

[1] This list from CVO is available at:
[2] For example, we know that TX-65 (BONA FIDE) was fitted with an electric trawl (it took part in the MSC assessment), but it changed hands in 2017 (rebranded WL-39 MONTE SR.) and we do not know whether it is still fitted with an electric trawl.

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