U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



The Wildlife Professional. 11(1)27-31. (2017)


U.S. Government Work


For centuries, people have viewed cormorants negatively. In classical literature, the word cormorant represented greed and gluttony. However, natural resource professionals have long recognized the ecological value of all wildlife, and cormorants are no exception. For example, as an upper trophic-level predator in aquatic systems, cormorants are useful indicators of environmental pollution and may contribute to limiting invasive prey populations.

But over the last 40 years a major surge in the population of the double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) — a large, long-lived, fish-eating water bird and one of six species of North American cormorants — has led to negative interactions with other wildlife and society. In recent years, a host of real and perceived cormorant conflicts have been raised by various natural resource stakeholder groups and the public, with impacts to fisheries, aquaculture, co-nesting species and habitat heading the concerns (Dorr et al. 2014).

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