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


Date of this Version

September 2003


Proceedings of the 10th Wildlife Damage Management Conference. (K.A. Fagerstone, G.W. Witmer, Eds). 2003


The number of double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) breeding in the Great Lakes states and provinces has increased during recent decades. Their abundance and foraging habits have thrust this species into conflict with the aquaculture industry and fisheries interests. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a change in the management of double-crested cormorants recently to alleviate these conflicts, especially with aquaculture, natural resources, and federal fish hatcheries. Research activities should be an integral component of these expanded efforts to manage cormorants, including further investigations on cormorant impacts to the aquaculture industry and evaluations of the added benefits of proposed lethal control at winter roosts. Impacts to natural resources and commercial fisheries should also be addressed, given that management to protect these resources would be a significant departure from current management strategies. Use of lethal control at fish hatcheries may enhance opportunities for hatchery managers to reinforce non-lethal methods. However, research should evaluate the added benefits of lethal reinforcement and determine if it is economically justified. In view of the recognized potential for regional population management in the near future, scientists should continue to evaluate the effects of management actions on local and regional cormorant populations and collect the basic life-history data essential for population modeling efforts. The role science plays in wildlife damage management is well-established. In this symposium, we address the role of research activities in cormorant management actions conducted under the authority of the proposed rule change.