Mike Hookem MEP Slams the European Commission’s Over Support for Electro-Pulse Fishing

Published Feb 15, 2018

EU negotiations on pulse fishing “undermine the mandate of the European Parliament” in seeking to continue “gross” electric fishing practice

Mike Hookem MEP, has accused the European Commission of trying to "undermine the democratic mandate of MEPs" before the start of negotiations on the future of electro-pulse beam fishing in EU waters.

Mr Hookem's comments came after the European Commission defended its support for electro-pulse fishing before the start of three-way negotiations to decide the future of the practice. 

MEPs voted in January to ban the electro-pulse fishing method - mainly used by Dutch fishers - which campaigners say is making the sea-bed "a desert", breaking the backs of mature cod, killing non-target species, and destroying the livelihoods of small-scale fishers.

Speaking from his Hull constituency office, Mr Hookem said, "In January, MEPs voted overwhelmingly to ban the practice of electro-pulse fishing, yet the European Commission is not only defending its support for this grotesque fishing method but in my view, actively seeking its continuation."

"As far as all those who campaigned so hard for a ban are concerned, there is nothing left to discuss. Democratically elected MEPs voted to end electro-pulse fishing in EU waters, and a ban on the practice should be enforced at the first opportunity. 

"The simple fact is, the European Commission has been caught out ignoring their own scientific advice to allow pulse fishing to happen in the first place; not to mention providing finance - inadvertently or otherwise - to a practice that is systematically destroying the marine ecosystem in British waters.

"But rather than holding their hands up and admitting they were wrong to allow pulse-fishing, the European Commission are now cherry-picking evidence in an attempt to support a continuation of this destructive practice.

"Electro-pulse fishing is already banned in China, Brazil and the USA for a reason! However, the Commission seems determined to support the powerful Dutch fishing lobby in a David and Goliath fight between those looking to secure the marine ecology, and those seeking to destroy it for profit.

"The simple fact is, if the Commission chooses to ignore the will of MEPs on this matter, then they prove once and for all that there is no democracy within the EU. How can democracy flourish if un-elected bureaucrats can overrule the only elected body in the organisation, whenever they wish.

"However, I fear that the European Commission will revert to its usual modus operandi on this matter and tinker with the report wording to make MEPs vote again, with the aim of getting the answer they want!" 

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