Cormorant Cull Petition (1 Viewer)

BrightIdea

Well-known member
Birders always seem keen to demonise other users of our countryside, most of whom are equally interested in conservation.

I am new to birding and have been sadly surprised to observe this as well. More so online than those birders I meet in the field (which is admittedly not a high number)

I cant speak for the UK, but in the US anglers are very active and typically very educated regarding habitat conservation.

Incidentally, cormorants have been expanding range into the region in which I live. Its a new phenomenon, and their numbers are booming in some paces. I expect that there will be some anti cormorant grumblings in the not too distant future here. What other natural predators do they have?
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Experience elsewhere in Europe has shown that the return of Sea-Eagles has curbed Cormorant numbers. I think the solution to this issue is therefore obvious.

This is not true. In the Baltics at least, the last 20 years has seen a mushrooming of the White-tailed Eagle population, the bird now a very common sight at watercourses throughout the region. The same period has however seen a rapid and dramatic increase in the Cormorant population, with both inland colonies forming at localities holding White-tailed Eagles and the coastal population reaching very high levels despite a very dense eagle population.
 

captaincarot

Well-known member
Absolutely true, but as I said, anglers have a much greater interest in improving our rivers than birders!

Birders always seem keen to demonise other users of our countryside, most of whom are equally interested in conservation.

the average angler is under the impression that cormorants only go in the sea and that the cormorants which nest inland are foreign birds from Europe, which don't belong here.

that is actually actively promoted as fact in the angling community, simply because it fits in well with the impression that those fish which aren't eaten by the foreign cormorants are eaten by the ravening hoards of eastern Europeans that are flooding into our country.

its built on ignorance lies and fear of jonny foreigner and has absolutely nothing to do with reality

i've been an angler for 37 years now and know a lot of the people who actually write the articles which fill the magazines that fisher men read personally having fished with them.
 

crabplover

Well-known member
Cormorants like foxes etc. are overpopulating due to lack of natural predators. Experience elsewhere in Europe has shown that the return of Sea-Eagles has curbed Cormorant numbers. I think the solution to this issue is therefore obvious.

Cull the Sea Eagles, Save the Cormorant ! ;)

Personally I think overstocking a lake or pond artificially is no different to the idiots who feed the birds and moan that Starlings come down and steal all the food !

Andy.
 
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MJB

Well-known member
Whether anyone disagrees of not, fishery owners have every right to call for a cull of cormorants. They impact their businesses, their livelihood, the income they need to feed their families, educate their children, provide employment etc.

If a fishery has been set up for sport, then continuation of that sport at the expense of wildlife attracted by that sport is an argument in the 'cart before the horse' variety; that livelihood from that sport is threatened in such circumstnces as a result, is a desirable result.

If a fishery is set up as a means of providing essential protein for the human population where there is a shortage, then anti-predation measures are warranted, but that doesn't mean that culling is the first option.

If a fishery is set up as a commercial concern, then the business plan must include the cost of the introduction and maintenance of anti-predator measures with a history of best practice (eg avoidance of techniques such as mass-medication of fish stocks in ponds, where leakage into wild populations and the food chain can occur).

These are but three examples in a swathe of possible arrangements, but simply suggesting that someone who has had a 'good idea' of introducing fish at higher levels than a system can normally support is worth supporting just because a threat to that project has arisen is simplistic. Hence, those fishery owners who have exhausted every other method of preventing losses from cormorants may well have a case, but most fishery owners probably do not. Any application to cull cormorants needs to be considered in the light of what efforts already have been expended by the owner, and also of whether the fish stocks have been maintained by best practice. Best practice has been conspicuously absent in many salmon farms in Scotland, for example.
MJB
 

coal tit

COAL TIT
cormorant cull petition.

Cormorants were not introduced inland THEY found a natural niche to breed and feed all on there own so under these circumstances can not mother nature balance things out in the longterm without man interfering, i,m not sure how long they have been inland now
but they have been part of our egosystems longer than any fish farmers and thou i see
there stocks are in the fireing line from cormorants it was man who introduced fish farms
not mother nature but as usual man upsets the balance of things for nature to work properly.
 
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coal tit

COAL TIT
cormorant cull petition.

I would like to take for nature to work properly off the end of my previous post.
 
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alunited1961

Well-known member
would agree with this

Cormorants were not introduced inland THEY found a natural niche to breed and feed all on there own so under these circumstances can not mother nature balance things out in the longterm without man interfering, i,m not sure how long they have been inland now
but they have been part of our egosystems longer than any fish farmers and thou i see
there stocks are in the fireing line from cormorants it was man who introduced fish farms
not mother nature but as usual man upsets the balance of things for nature to work properly.


the cormorants are eating fish that have been artificially introduced by people.
 

BrightIdea

Well-known member
Cull the Sea Eagles, Save the Cormorant ! ;)

Personally I think overstocking a lake or pond artificially is no different to the idiots who feed the birds and moan that Starlings come down and steal all the food !

Andy.

I'd venture a guess that a majority, or close to a majority, of those accessing this birdforum feed birds in some manner. You just called several thousand people who use this site "idiots".

While I personally agree with the likely point of your comment (impacting a local ecosystem for ones benefit is still impacting the local ecosystem!) I also think that the tone of quit a bit of the commentary on here has turned toward crass& rude. I dont think it is either necessary or useful.
 

BrightIdea

Well-known member
I'd venture a guess that a majority, or close to a majority, of those accessing this birdforum feed birds in some manner. You just called several thousand people who use this site "idiots".

While I personally agree with the likely point of your comment (impacting a local ecosystem for ones benefit is still impacting the local ecosystem!) I also think that the tone of quit a bit of the commentary on here has turned toward crass& rude. I dont think it is either necessary or useful.

piggy backing off of my post and the quote above... are stocking programs to increase fish numbers for sport anglers significantly different from those who introduce bird feeders to a local ecosystem for the benefit of viewing birds?

Sport is sport, and I personally have no issue with such. However I wonder how many pro-birding/birdfeeding / anti-sportfishing posters would be honest enough to see the parallel.

Sorry for the mini thread hijack. I find the topic interesting and it got me to thinking.
 

BrightIdea

Well-known member
the cormorants are eating fish that have been artificially introduced by people.


This very well may be the case in many instances. However I know that it is not the case in the 3 locations near me where cormorants are booming. One is a public park that has a 2 acre pond and a 4 acre wetland/swamp. Another is a lake, perhaps 20 acres, that is semiprivate. The third is the south eastern end of barnegat bay.

The pond/swamp is stocked with small trout for a local fishing derby once a year, however I fish there frequently and know that the stocked fish are "fished out" extremely rapidly. Those that remain are poorly suited to the depth & water conditions. The local pickerel population certainly makes short work of those remaining. Within 3 weeks of the derby no trout are ever seen from again until the following stocking. I feel that these stocked trout are such a short term affair that they have no long term "draw" for additional predators.

The private lake is not stocked at all, and except for the original forming of it (1930's?) it never was. The lake is spring fed and has one tiny tributary feeding it as well- no stocked fish upstream. The lake has what I'd judge to be a very healthy diversity of type and size fish. Cormorants are arriving and hitting it pretty heavily the past 2 years. It is inland approx 40 miles in the mountains, so these are likely not transient/spillover ocean cormorants.

The third, The barnegat bay, isnt stocked. However there are several ecological changes in recent decades. Its not a static ecosystem.

My point is that for these 3 local ecosystems, the cormorants arent feeding on stocked fish. The cormorants are, nonetheless, expanding into these ranges.

My central qustions is, what are some natural predators that are lagging behind this recent boom? I'm not for shooting cormorants just because they make a meal out of the fish I aim to C/R. However, if there are some natural predators that could be encouraged locally, this might help to minimize a significant change to the local ecosystem (as well as maintain the good fishing action for me and the boys !).

Thanks in advance for reasoned responses.
 

Swifty49

Scouse Scoper
Anglers are the only group promoting river preservation/conservation - fact! Healthy rivers are good for birds as well as fish. The benefits to waterfowl and birds like dippers, wagtails, kingfishers, etc of healthy rivers are obvious. There has been a cormorant population explosion and culling measures will help to protect river ecosystems.
 

fugl

Well-known member
If a fishery has been set up for sport, then continuation of that sport at the expense of wildlife attracted by that sport is an argument in the 'cart before the horse' variety; that livelihood from that sport is threatened in such circumstnces as a result, is a desirable result.MJB

I've asked this before but had no answer so I'll ask it again. Is there any evidence that increased cormorant numbers have had a significant impact on sport fish populations in Britain? By "evidence", of course, I mean evidence derived from properly conducted scientific studies.
 

Irish Kite

Well-known member
Aren't Cormorants already culled under licence?? - is the petition in question about removing all protections or what??
 

Richard Klim

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I've asked this before but had no answer so I'll ask it again. Is there any evidence that increased cormorant numbers have had a significant impact on sport fish populations in Britain? By "evidence", of course, I mean evidence derived from properly conducted scientific studies.
Short answer - I don't know. But it doesn't need much science to conclude that more cormorants = less fish.

Earlier someone suggested that anglers were using cormorants as a scapegoat for the real causes of stock declines. It's true that some disinformation is being peddled (sinensis invasion!). But why would anyone campaign for the culling of a scapegoat (which would be both costly and ineffectual)?

I have no strong feelings either way on cormorant culling. But I feel that this is one fight that RSPB doesn't really need to have – surely it's better to concentrate on the protection of species of conservation concern.

We live on an overcrowded island where much of the habitat and wildlife is intensively managed, requiring compromise between different interest groups. In this particular case, I fear that RSPB's stance appears unreasonable to many, given that there's no conservation imperative. The "Aren't birds brilliant!" slogan probably rings hollow, and much goodwill (which might be valuable when fighting more important causes) is being lost. I just don't see the importance of maintaining such a large cormorant population.

PS. Several posts have focused on predation at artificially-stocked ponds and lakes (which probably has the greatest commercial impact). But it's worth remembering that the petition was organised by the Avon Roach Project, working to conserve the humble roach on the Hampshire Avon.
 
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fugl

Well-known member
. . .But it doesn't need much science to conclude that more cormorants = less fish.

Sure it does. Ecological webs can be complex & the law of unintended consequences is all too likely a possibility.

But why would anyone campaign for the culling of a scapegoat (which would be both costly and ineffectual)?.

Because they've got the wrong end of the stick. It happens all the time. The "rational actor" theory of human behavior has been in disfavor for years now.
 

flossiepip

Well-known member
While we have been here in NZ you quickly become aware of how popular fishing here is. Yet there are very good numbers of Black, pied, Little black and Little Shag here in Northland. All Shags are protected and I believe all have been persecuted at one time or another particularly the Black Shag. I guess Shags and Cormorants just aren't popular the world over.
 

crabplover

Well-known member
I'd venture a guess that a majority, or close to a majority, of those accessing this birdforum feed birds in some manner. You just called several thousand people who use this site "idiots".

While I personally agree with the likely point of your comment (impacting a local ecosystem for ones benefit is still impacting the local ecosystem!) I also think that the tone of quit a bit of the commentary on here has turned toward crass& rude. I dont think it is either necessary or useful.

You clearly didn't read my post or you didn't understand it, but you completly missed my point.
I'm not saying you are an idiot if you feed the birds, I'm saying you are an idiot if you feed the birds and then complain that the Starlings are eating it all !
In the case of the Cormorants eating artificially stocked small fish placed there for a purpose of sport fishing, you have to put up with it, same as if you put food out for the blackbirds you have to put up with the Starlings taking it.

As for crass and rude comments, if you dont like them you can always report them, and let the mods deal with it, if you are still not happy, may i suggest you try another forum?
 

Richard Klim

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Sure it does. Ecological webs can be complex & the law of unintended consequences is all too likely a possibility.
True enough. But even RSPB isn't denying that cormorants are a problem - it's just arguing that it could be solved using non-lethal measures.
 

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