Pulse fishing is a fishing technique that catches flatfish, in particular sole, using electrical stimulation. Flatfish spend a large part of their time on or in the seabed. To catch flatfish, different techniques are used, of which the pulse technique is the most recently development.

Conventional beam trawling

In the conventional beam trawl fisheries, tickler chains are used for to chase flatfish from the seabed. Tickler chains are steel chains attached in the front of the net, parallel to the net opening. These chains are dragged over the seabed and prevents the flatfish to quickly burrow in the sediment and escape underneath the net.

Pulse trawling

With pulse fishing, a different technique is used. Instead of chains, electrodes are used which produce an electric field that induce a cramp response in the fish. The pulse trawl is particularly effective to catch sole because the electrical stimulation causes a cramp which makes the sole to bend in a U-shape. When cramped, the fish is immobilized and cannot escape the gear.

Video 'Pulse fishing in the North Sea'

View our video 'Pulse fishing in the North Sea' on YouTube.