Electrotrawling: a promising alternative fishing technique warranting further exploration

  • Published source details Soetaert M., Decostere A., Polet H., Verschueren B. & Chiers K. (2015) Electrotrawling: a promising alternative fishing technique warranting further exploration. Fish and Fisheries, 16, 104-124.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use an electric (pulse) trawl

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Use an electric (pulse) trawl

    A review in 2015 of electrotrawling activity in the North Sea (Soetaert et al. 2015) found that electric pulse trawls reduced unwanted catch, but some damage occurred to fish compared to standard trawls. Unwanted catch was lower in pulse trawls in three cases (30–50% less) and catches of commercial sole were lower in one case (13–22%), compared to using tickler chains. In two cases where electric pulses were used, one in Belgium and one in the United Kingdom, catches of small unwanted sole Solea solea and other small flatfish were lower compared to standard trawls. Cod Gadus morhua, but not lesser-spotted dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula, suffered spinal fractures, other injuries and death at all sizes in one case and only at adult sizes in one case, when fish were close to electric fields (injuries 9–70%, death up to 30%). The review summarised the development of electrofishing using trawls in European waters. Controlled studies (field and laboratory) of the effects of electrofishing on fish were also reviewed.

    (Summarised by: Rosslyn McIntyre)

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