PhD defence

Effects of electrical stimulation on marine organisms


Marine capture fisheries are important in providing food and livelihoods globally. A
common fishing method is bottom trawling, which involves dragging chains and nets over the seafloor. This technique, however, is characterised by poor selectivity, large disturbance of the seafloor ecosystem, and high fuel consumption. An alternative, promising catch method is to replace the chains by
electrode arrays which generate pulsed electric fields. Despite reduced fuel
consumption and seafloor disturbance, pulse trawling raised concerns about
potential negative impacts of the electric fields on marine organisms. In this
thesis, we examined effects of electrical pulse stimulation on invertebrates and fishes and explored the ecological implications of electrotrawling. We found no substantial negative side effects of electrical stimulation. In conclusion, we see potential to improve and refine pulse trawls to further reduce the environmental impact and, therefore, think it would be worthwhile to further investigate such fishing techniques.