This posting was at the request of Mark Harvey:
I have copied some info on the cormorant hunt/ cull that the Ontario provincial government is proposing. These birds are very prevalent on Lake Manitou. I suspect there may be a very wide range of opinions concerning the proposed government actions from strongly in support to strongly opposed. It might be interesting to get some dialogue going on this using the web site hopefully inspiring some of our members to post some scientifically based information. Much of what I have read to date is of an emotional nature these birds just are not liked .
So see below what I have copied and added to . No copy right since this was sent in a letter to me.
Under the guise of “population management,” the Government of Ontario is proposing nothing less than an all-out slaughter of double-crested cormorants, a wild native species. If the government proceeds as it is planning, anyone with a small game hunting license will be able to kill up to 50 birds a day from March 15 until December 31 each year. That’s potentially more than 14,000 birds per hunter, per season – and for no good reason.
The government says it is responding to “concerns expressed by some groups” (commercial fishing industry, property owners) about the impacts of cormorants on fish populations, island forest habitats, aesthetics and other species. In essence, however, it is about sanctioning the unfettered killing of a wildlife species that some people simply don’t like. Indeed, the government’s response is lacking in any scientific justification or evidence. There is no information about the current population size, no population management target, no rationale for the incredibly high daily bag limit and no plan in place to monitor and assess impacts.
There is some evidence that cormorants each small introduced fish that prey on Lake Trout eggs.
Cormorant populations in the Great Lakes have stabilized or declined slightly since the early 2000s. So what then is the rationale for nine-and-a half months of carnage on our waterways every year? No one is going to eat them. In fact, the government is proposing to amend the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act so that the cormorants killed can be allowed to spoil, unlike any other game species. The proposed action is neither sport nor wildlife management but simply extermination.
Contrary to wildlife management norms, hunting will be allowed throughout the breeding season and at breeding colonies, likely leading to nest failure, chick starvation, and disruption and mortality of other birds nesting nearby. Collateral damage may include great blue herons, great egrets, black-crowned night-herons, Caspian terns, common terns and great black-backed gulls and loons. According to Bird Studies Canada, “the proposed bag limit of 50 Double-crested Cormorants per day per hunter with no possession limit over a nine and a half month open season is exceptionally high, unsustainable, and without precedent under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act for its failure to address the need for population sustainability.”
There are also public safety concerns. Hunters will be permitted to shoot cormorants from stationary boats throughout the open water season – when boaters, cottagers and other outdoor recreationalists are also out on the water.
I had no idea the government was, in effect, authorizing the extermination of cormorants in Ontario. Thank you for posting this information.
I remember when cormorants first arrived on Lake Manitou. It was more like an invasion. When I'm at the lake I see one now and then. Just an observation and nothing scientific about it. As far as I'm concerned there's not much to 'cull' on Lake Manitou.
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