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Europe's place in the world

Pulse fishing – How France and the EU block innovation

The Fishery, by Richard Wright (Before pulse fishing]

The Fishery, by Richard Wright

Pulse fishing VS the steam-engine

During the religious tensions in the 17th Century France made sure the father of the steam-engine had to leave the country. In 2018 the French government yet again chased away a potential successful industrial development. As a consequence of the recent EU ban of electric pulse fishing years of research is being destroyed. More importantly, it shows a fundamental problem pertaining to the EU itself.

The EU remains a state in search of a people. It however remains a community of nations that are being represented by special interests on the EU level. These special interests take care of themselves in the name of everyone else. This has primarily to do with the nature of the European continent itself and secondarily with one of the founding thoughts of the EU itself.

Geography and the development of a people

The European continent has great diversity in its geography. Where one single country has opulent space to grow wheat, in another country that same amount of space is barren tundra. Mountain ranges force upon people a different development than lowland marshes. Thus went the development of the European peoples who settled themselves in these diverse geographical environments.

The diversity of these geographical locations led to an infinite amount of small, yet significant, changes amongst these peoples with regards to their environment. Their geographical location heavily influenced their differences in language, customs, and manners of thinking. These different ways of behaving in the world ended up being similar for a relative group of families. In turn these similarities grew into the brotherhood which can be named a nation. It is from this source the idea of taking care of one’s own has sprung, no matter later connotations attached to it.

Nowadays governments cultivate thoughts which have the potential of activating likewise peoples to oppose certain different peoples. So it became the Greek peoples that were deemed lazy, all together forgetting the real problems were not with the peoples of Europe but with its imposing artificial supra-national institutions.

Monopoly as foundational argument

At the core of the EU is the customs union. A custom union causes two consequences. First and foremost it burdens trade with those countries outside of that customs union. It raises prices at a distant level from the nation-state, but it raises them nonetheless. Secondly, by definition the EU forces countries to buy from and sell to countries within the customs union. This is the case because trading outside the customs union is more expensive than trading within. This means the EU is not pro-free trade. The EU is pro control of the trade it can control at its artificially erected borders. Everyone outside of this bloc is subject to the policies and politics of the EU itself. Every individual outside this realm is subject of EU-politics.

This mode of behaviour goes, at least, back to J.S. Mill who argued international trade to be the exclusive domain of governments and not to be a part of the freedoms of the individual. It ought to be the exclusive domain of governments.

What do these observations have to do with electric pulse fishing? As expressed the EU monopolizes a certain geographical area. This means all those within are becoming artificial competitors for the domination of that monopoly position. He who controls the power can lay out the course to follow. However, countries themselves are not strong enough to claim this monopoly position, hence coalitions are formed. Within these coalitions representatives of different countries play two different roles.

Consequences for industrial innovation and development

The first role is that of the representation of interests. This means forming a coalition is about concrete matters, not policy ideas. Policy ideas can be debated, exchangeable votes are not. The second role pertains to electric pulse fishing. This method of fishing is as of yet too expensive for French fishermen. Therefore the Dutch would create an advantage with regards to those French fishermen. This is clearly in French, electoral, interests. Therefore such a development in the Netherlands is not allowed to happen. In France this new prohibition by the EU Parliament will be celebrated as a victory. For those in the Netherlands who have invested years of their time, research, and money this means a big loss.

This brings to the fore the fundamental problem of the EU. National interests are taken care of within an artificially closed off geographical area. Within this area countries have to follow the same laws, statutes, and rules. Everyone has to be treated equally. Everything has to be same. As a consequence those who venture in front of the pack are punished by those who don’t exhibit the capacity to follow such a lead. This is the case with the French fisheries.

Forcing everyone to act the same destroys innovation

The solution to this problem is not forcing all fishermen within the EU to be like the French. The solution would be to let everyone work to his own potential and interest. This is however not possible within the EU. One must act in the way France acted. For if France does not try to take control of the artificially constructed powerhouse that is the EU, someone else will. Someone who is likely not going to favour French interests. Therefore one must be within a large coalition.

To play the game, one has to be big. New (industrial) developments will always suffer as a consequence of these artificial hunger games. Real new developments do not take place within the comfort of the acquainted covered by special interests, but in the new and unguarded where liberty and freedom roam.

Mare librum and free countries

Without the EU Dutch fishermen can take control of their own fishing grounds as they see fit. If this means through electric pulse fishing the quality of the Dutch seabed and marine life improves into the future this means two things. Firstly that we as Dutchmen will be proud our countrymen contributed to the preservation of the ocean and its marine life. Secondly it would mean those countrymen that have invested in these technologies will be able to sell their products to the rest of the world. Both possibilities have been pre-emptively killed off by the EU.

It shows geography and nation still play a role. Dutch people are, for whatever reason, apparently more willing to look for answers which could be progressive for both nature and man. The Dutch are still connected with the ocean and the world belonging in it. It is utterly destructive to have the development – which would have improved the bond between nature and fishing – being blocked by the artificial construct that is the EU.

France chasing away the father of the steam-engine is to their own detriment. It is utterly insane that it now has the power through the EU to do the same to other countries. It would be wise of the Dutch government to ignore the prohibition on electric pulse fishing.

By Willem Cornax



  1. A the Dutch can still fish in international waters and b Dutch waters alone wouldn’t be big enough alone to sustain the investment.

    • a) The now forbidden technology does not apply to deep sea fishing. It is developed for coastal waters. b) Indeed, hence the idea of being able to sell ones product to the rest of the world after having it tested in Dutch coastal waters. That option is now also lost.

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