Electric fishing is officially banned in French waters since Wednesday, pending the European ban that will take effect in 2021, said Wednesday the Ministry of Agriculture in a statement.
The European regulation of 25 July 2019, which "puts an end, as from 1 July 2021, to the derogation currently in force allowing the use of the electric trawl in the waters of the North Sea", enters into force "in waters under sovereignty from 14 August 2019 ", according to the text.
This regulation allows the Member States to decide the immediate prohibition of electric fishing in waters under their sovereignty, up to 12 nautical miles from the coast (22.2 km off the coast of France).
"As the government was committed," says the ministry, the prefect of the Normandy region, which has authority over the regulation of fisheries in the North Sea has issued an order dated July 25 to "make this ban effective in the United States. French waters concerned, for all vessels, from 14 August 2019 until the date of the generalization of this prohibition in all European waters ".
Electric fishing consists of sending electrical impulses into the sediment from a trawl to catch fish living at the bottom of the sea. It has been banned in Europe since 1998, but the European Commission has allowed its practice since 2006 under an exceptional derogatory regime.
Judged devastating for wildlife and the seabed, it is little used in France unlike the Netherlands who are the main supporters in Europe.
However, a historical right (prior to the Common Fisheries Policy) allows Dutch fishermen to fish in French territorial waters between 6 to 12 miles.
At the end of a long process, an agreement was reached in February between the negotiators of the European Parliament and the Member States to ban this practice from the summer of 2021. This agreement was endorsed by the European Parliament. April, and by the French parliament in May.
© 2019 AFP