Fishing for Leave are delighted that the government has fulfilled the ministerial pledge that the abhorrent Electric Pulse Fishing method will be banned in all British waters post-Brexit.

The government has moved to do so using a Statutory Instrument (SI) to amend EU laws adopted by the EU Withdrawal Act. This Act adopts EU legal text that forbids fishing with Explosives, Poison or Electricity. However, the Act provides that government can amend adopted EU laws using SIs.

In this instance the government will remove the EU derogation which provided for a fleet of 100 vessels to use Electric Pulse Fishing in direct conflict of the EUs core law.

All this shows what can be done to better husband our fishing, waters and marine environment by taking back control.

It comes after a lot of hard yards in raising publicity and parliamentary awareness. Massive credit should also go to Thanet Fishermen’s Association, East Anglia Fishermen’s alliance and the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association. Big credit must go to Bloom eNGO who worked tirelessly in the EU parliament.

Huge thanks must go to East Anglia MP Peter Lowestoft for tabling amendments and seeking support for such a ban, along with the shadow labour Defra team who supported a ban too.

This will be a huge saviour for the marine environment our fishermen depend upon to see their industry and heritage continue for generations to come. It will see a huge amount of foreign fishing pressure removed from British waters allowing local fishermen and communities to thrive again.


A few days after the British announcement the EU also amended its technical regulations meaning no EU vessels will be able to pulse fish by 2021. This means this abhorrent method will be gone from both sides of the southern North Sea.

Howls by the Dutch Fishermens organisation VisNed and their chief executive Pim Viser that the ban is equivalent to “scrapping solar panels and going back to burning coal” ignores that solar panels don’t taser the wider environment.

The Dutch citing that Pulse fishing gear being lighter means they save half the fuel and the gear is lighter on the bottom may be true – but they omit to mention the impact of surging electrical charge through the water and what effect this has on the wider ecosystem and food chain.

Perhaps this is why in 10years they have not produced one report into the effects of pulse on wider marine organisms?

There is no point in reducing a C02 footprint whilst tasering everything to death. The Dutch claim that the campaign against pulse is emotion or jealousy is a nonsense when results of investigative surveys between pulsed and non-pulsed areas off Kent showed a stark and dire difference.

The fact is the Dutch replaced one badly inefficient method of fishing with one bad environmental method – two wrongs don’t make a right. Doing this whilst having a 100boat commercial fishery masquerading as a trial was always going to catch up with them and one cannot have sympathy that it has.


Although, we are glad to see the ban on pulse fishing, this is somewhat abated at the governments method of using an SI to revoke a derogation rather than enact British legislation in the Fisheries Bill that explicitly bans pulse fishing in new independent British fisheries policy.

Theoretically a British government could issue a derogation of its own in a similar manner to what the EU did to allow the Dutch to blitz the southern North Sea with this terrible technique.

The minister has explicitly assured that this won’t happen, and we will be watch like a hawk to ensure that no administration ever allows this. to appease big EU owned but UK registered Dutch “Flagship” interests which dominate some fishing organisations and POs in Britain.


Such a ban will ensure that post-Brexit there will be no incentive or ability for Dutch companies to try to muscle in onto the British register to continue pulsing which would have created even more EU owned but UK registered ‘Flagships’.

The minister was made aware and acknowledged such a possibility is closed down by the British ban on pulse. However, it highlights the real need of the government to front up with courage to clamp down on Flagships post-Brexit by tightening the ‘Economic Link’ conditions which define what constitutes a British fishing vessel.

When the UK automatically repatriates the 60% of our resources caught by EU boats – as provided for in international law – it is important that the ability of EU companies to re-register as British Flagships is stopped. Otherwise they will jump the jurisdiction fence to buy up what Britain just repatriated.

This would squash the opportunity to rejuvenate UK coastal communities with the repatriated resources allocated to all fishermen (out with the current monopolized FQA system) which would provide incentive and ability to attract a next generation to a good career at the fishing.

The minister recognises the potential Flagship loophole and now must move to close it in the Fisheries Bill with a strong Economic Link Clause. This Conservative government must reinstate Mrs Thatcher’s 1988 Merchant Shipping Act which looked to stop EU Flagships, but, was overturned by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as being discriminatory against EU citizens right of establishment in the infamous Factortame case.

This landmark case proved that our parliament was no longer supreme or sovereign. Reinstatement of the provisions of the 1988 Act would not only protect the fledgling opportunities Brexit provides  to UK coastal communities, but also right a constitutional insult.

Pulse Fishing is one move towards stopping the economic and environmental plunder or British waters by the EU fleet. Now, to take back control, the minister must move to reinstate the 1988 Act and stipulate an Economic Link where British boats must be;

– 60% of beneficial ownership of a fishing vessel/company is held by British citizens.
– 60% of a vessels crew must be British. With a 5 year derogation to allow vessels to use skilled foreign crew until a lost generation of British fishermen is replaced with the next.
– 60% of catches, landed, sold AND processed in Britain to ensure that British ports, processors and the wider community derives maximum economic benefit from our nations resources.

Such provisions are no different to Norway and the other Nordic nations and we look forward to the government moving such an amendment immediately as failure to do so will allow economic exploitation of British fisheries despite Brexit. Something that the British public, who see restoration of our fishing as totemic would be apoplectic about.