Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has once again raised her concerns about the unknown effects of pulse fishing.
The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, was speaking after the committee voted to allow electric pulse fishing to be used by a small percentage of ships, under strict conditions as an innovative gear on a trial basis.
Ms Ní Riada was also able to table an amendment which will ensure small-scale low impact fleets can fish in closed fisheries through joint recommendations by Member States.
“The fact of the matter regarding pulse fishing is that we simply don’t know the long term effects it will have on stocks or the environment,” she said.
“All we have are anecdotal, and often conflicting, reports from various proponents from the industrial sector, many who have vested interests in the practice.
“It would be highly irresponsible at the best of times to allow any such practice to go ahead unfettered without first thoroughly researching it but with Brexit posing the biggest threat to our fishing industry in history we have to be more protective of Irish waters than ever.
“My amendment ensures that local fishermen and organisations will have a much more significant say in what practices can and cant be used in their area.
“There is nobody I trust more to ensure that Irish waters are kept safe and sustainable than Irish fishermen.
“I certainly have no desire to stand in the way of sustainable fishing and if a thorough assessment shows pulse fishing not to be unselective, unsustainable or catastrophic then so be it, but that is not what fishermen are saying on the ground.
“There are too many reports about the damaging effect it can have from around the world to allow it to go ahead unchecked.
“The practice simply has too many unknowns and as our fishermen face into the greatest crisis their industry has ever seen I am not minded to begin taking risks with their livelihoods.”