There is a ban on fishing with legumes in the European Union. On Thursday, the European Court of Justice rejected the Netherlands’s request to lift the ban. The Netherlands has challenged the ban for scientific reasons: The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have not been paying much attention to science. According to the court, this is not necessary: ”The EU legislature has wide discretion in this area and is not obligated to base its legislative choice exclusively on scientific and technical advice.”
The ruling means that, from 1 July, fishing for flatfish with electric shock is prohibited. Dutch fishermen are hit hard by this, because the Netherlands has invested heavily in technology. Other European member states, especially France, were not in favor of this. They saw it as an unfair industrialization of fishing.
UK Representative Peter Van Dalen (ChristenUnie) finds the verdict particularly disappointing, he says in response. As far as it is concerned, the hunting of legumes has been unfairly banned, motivated by a “false lobby from France”. He says: “Electric fishing is environmentally friendly, and it is the future within responsible frameworks.”
In 2019 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union approved new fishing rules, including a ban on fishing with pulses. In the same year, the Netherlands lodged an appeal, in particular by consulting scientific advice. According to the Netherlands Defense, for example, it has not been proven anywhere that this fishing method has negative consequences for the environment.
In the ruling, the European Court indicated that studies also show that some of the risks of fishing with legumes have not yet been fully assessed. In addition, the court found that the European Union had provided sufficient grounds to deviate from scientific advice. (Norwegian Refugee Council)
A copy of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on April 16, 2021
A copy of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of April 16, 2021