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


Date of this Version

January 2005


The eastern metapopulation of the American White Pelican ( Pelecanus erythrorhynchos ) breeds mainly in the Northern Great Plains, migrates through the Great Plains and along the Mississippi River and winters in the lower Mississippi River Valley and along the Gulf of Mexico. The production of farm-raised Channel Catfish ( Ictalurus punctatus ) in the southeastern United States has increased dramatically in the last 25 years. In 1990, U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services offices in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi began receiving complaints concerning the foraging of pelicans in commercial Channel Catfish ponds. Because of the relatively shallow depth and high fish-stocking rates used by most catfish producers, these ponds provide an ideal foraging environment for the American White Pelican. Although the impact of foraging pelicans can be economically significant, the potential for pelicans to transmit trematode infections and other diseases to aquaculture facilities can be more destructive. Damage abatement recommendations have consisted of harassment measures similar to those used for other piscivorous birds, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Depredation Permits, and harassing the birds at their loafing sites.