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Commercial Fishing



Pulse voluntary closed areas extended for another year. The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations and Dutch fishing associations VisNed and Ned. Vissersbond, have reached agreement on continuing voluntary closed areas for pulse fishing for a second year. The closed areas in which no pulse fishing will take place, are designed to ease pressure on areas sensitive for English east coast inshore fishermen.

Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO said:

“The closed areas have worked well and, after a few teething troubles, have been honoured by all parties throughout the whole year.

It has been agreed to roll-over the important closed area in the Thames Estuary without change. We have agreed to replace the two East Anglian closures with a single area of equivalent size but running parallel to the coast between the 12 limit and a line 18 miles out. The feeling is that this will give more protection to the inshore fisheries on that coast.”

“This is an industry-to-industry agreement, acknowledging that the arrival of pulse fishing has meant a greater concentration of effort in areas traditionally fished by the small boat fleets and trying to find ways at a practical level to reduce the scope for frictions. The areas selected have been chosen by fishermen familiar with the fisheries concerned.”

Pim Visser, Chief Executive of VisNed said, “Whilst the bigger questions about the future of pulse fishing are being worked out, we acknowledged the fears and concerns about the inshore fishermen and have acted to address them. A delegation of Dutch fishermen travelled to London in January and we reviewed how the closed areas had worked during the previous year. The conclusion was that these were valuable arrangements but could be improved with a little refinement. It means that our boats will have to adjust their fishing patterns but we think that it is worth it to demonstrate our goodwill and ability to work together. We all have to earn a living and it is important to find ways to coexist.”

The recent ban on pulse fishing, adopted as part of the EU technical conservation regulation will not come into effect until June 2021 and there will continue to be some level of use of the method on an experimental basis, albeit at a much lower level. The voluntary closed areas will, therefore, continue to have relevance for some time.

View the 2019 agreement