SOURCE: Euractiv

DATE: October 17, 2019

SNIP: The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) compared two British fishing areas of similar size, ecosystem and sediment composition, and analysed the quantity and condition of the fish species.

The only difference between the two fishing areas is that only one of them has electric beam trawlers operating in it.

The study showed that the area in which electric fishing had been practised had much less biodiversity, as the zone lost 57% of its species. Conversely, in the other fishing area, which did not have pulse trawlers operating, only 21% of the species had gone extinct.

By sending electric shocks into sediments, beam trawlers caught flatfish more easily. But in the process, this destroyed half of the organisms which lived at the lowest level of the body of water, also known as ‘benthic species’.

The researchers said that 17 benthic species observed in the reference area have vanished from the area where pulse trawlers had been active. And all the species present were strongly affected.