Perceptions of European stakeholders of pulse fishing

This research project examines the concerns and questions of European stakeholders about pulse fishing, in order to assess to what extent the knowledge agenda on pulse fishing covers these issues.

To get a first impression of the concerns about pulse fishing, and to get an idea of the stakeholders that express these concerns, an analysis was conducted of media items in the states bordering the southern North sea where pulse gear is used. In addition interviews were held with representatives from governments, NGOs, the fishing industry and scientists, and seven meetings were observed, national and international, where pulse fishing was discussed. An inventory was made of the substantive concerns that the stake-holders have about pulse fishing. It can be concluded that two thirds of the concerns are covered by the proposed knowledge agenda on pulse fishing (developed by IMARES and ILVO in 2014), or can serve as specifications of the research questions on the knowledge agenda. An overview of the remaining issues is presented in table 4.11 (p. 27-28). From these questions, some are examined in other current research projects. The remaining questions are in fact governance issues or are of an economic nature. It is thus important to approach pulse fishing research transdisciplinary as the questions and concerns stakehold-ers have do not only relate to the ecological consequences or the technique of the pulse but also to the governance and socio-economic functioning of the fishery within the wider context of North Sea fisheries. This research also found that stakeholders besides having substantive concerns about pulse fishing, also have concerns about the procedure through which the current number of pulse derogations have been obtained by the Dutch government and the transparency of this process. It is thus important for the Dutch government to not only address the technical knowledge gaps on pulse fishing but to also take the social context seriously and to develop strategies to deal with it. For instance by developing a vision on pulse fishing and to communicate about it.