The group examines the effects of electric fishing on the marine environment, including reduction of bycatch, impact on bottom habitat, impact on marine fauna, energy saving, and climate related issues. This is done in light of current technical developments in electrical fishing.
Emphasis is placed on the relationship of pulse characteristics (power, voltage, pulse shape) and thresholds in terms of effects such as mortality, injury and behavioural change on fish and other organisms. The group is considering whether limits can be set on these characteristics to avoid unwanted effects – for example uncontrolled growth on catch efficiency and other ecosystem effects – once such systems are allowed and used on a wider scale. The potential economic, ecosystem, and population dynamics impacts of this type of fishing on a wide scale are also evaluated.
Experts from various nations attend meetings, e.g. from the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Russia. The group reports to the ICES-FAO Working Group on Fishing Technology & Fish Behaviour (WGFTFB) and its parent committee, the Ecosystem Observation Steering Group (EOSG).
Photo: Nathalie Steins