Electrotrawling: a promising alternative fishing technique warranting further exploration

Soetaert, M., Decostere, A., Polet, H., Verschueren, B. Chiers, K.
Journal/Publisher Name
Fish and Fisheries
Volume (Issue #)
Page #s
Contact information
Maarten Soetaert, Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Poultry Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Gent, Belgium
Tel.: +32 9 264 77 41
Fax: +32 9 264 77 89
E-mail: maarten.soetaert@UGent.be

This is a comprehensive, critical overview of studies on the use of electrotrawling in the North Sea. Electrotrawling, involves replacing the tickler chains or bobbins with electrical stimulation. The result is reduced contact with bottom habitats, reduced fuel costs and reduced discards. An overview on the current status and implementation of this technique in flatfish, shrimp and razor clam fisheries is provided. In terms of the flatfish fisheries, while electrotrawling is a promising alternative, potential negative impacts (i.e. safe range of pulse parameters, differences in sensitivities of species, effects on early life stages, long-term effects, impact on electrosensitive fish and potential electrolysis effects) were not quantified. Regardless, it appears that electrified trawls are superior to conventional trawls in terms of ecological impacts, management and carbon footprint.