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Cormorants

Submitted by Rich Sandig

 

1. Cormorants were put on the threatened species list back in the 1960's when DDT had a serious impact on the cormorant’s ability to reproduce. Now that DDT is no longer a threat and the 450,000 cormorants is nowhere near threatened, why won't you take them off the threatened species list? This would allow the general public to treat the cormorant as they would a crow - residents have the right to remove nuisance birds in the local area.


2. Cormorant culling was started and stopped by your government. Why? Your own studies have shown that oiling the eggs and removing the nests are ineffective at controlling cormorant populations. They have a devastating effect on shoreline vegetation and a similar effect on local fish populations. Why won't you act to control the worst areas of Georgian Bay and the Bay of Quinte area?


Cormorants kill 100 percent in-shore fish production, say MNR scientists


Everything the O.F.A.H. warned about cormorant overpopulation is documented in a staggering scientific investigation. "For over 10 years, the O.F.A.H. has been insisting that the government take appropriate action. Now, following an extensive five-year M.N.R. study of cormorants in the area of Manitoulin Island and eastern Georgian Bay, the Ontario Government has absolutely no excuse for letting another year go by without using every available option, including culling to immediately reduce the number of these birds," said Dr. Terry Quinney, Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services. In short, the results of a long-term MNR research program clearly demonstrate that an overpopulation of cormorants is eating themselves out of house and home. Even MNR Minister David Ramsay admits that cormorant overpopulation "is devastating." According to the government's own scientists, cormorants consume 100 percent of the Georgian Bay and North Channel in-shore fish production. In-shore waters are considered to be the most productive zones for recreational fishing on the Great Lakes, and the area where the majority of fish return to spawn. The MNR study also shows that just six nesting pairs of cormorants consume 1,000 kilograms of fish over a single breeding season. In the MNR's sample area where there were 16,000 nests, over 6 million pounds offish were consumed by those birds alone. Throughout Ontario's Great Lakes basin, over half a million cormorants return every summer, but thousands more are now devastating highly sensitive inland lakes such as Lake Couchiching, Lake Temagami, and Lake Opeongo in Algonquin Park. "In addition to the management of cormorants on Lake Huron, the MNR must continue its initiation of culls near Presqu'ile Provincial Park, an ecosystem that is also being destroyed by these birds," said Dr. Quinney.

 

Source: ANGLER & HUNTER HOTLINE, May 2006
www.ofah.org The VOICE of Anglers and Hunters, page 15

 

I saw your picture, of the cormorant-infested island in Sault Ste. Marie, in the current issue of Angler and Hunter and then visited your website. We were fishing in Opeongo Lake in Algonquin Park three weeks ago and I took the above picture of an island at the far end of the lake. There is still one tree fairly alive, one almost dead and the rest totally dead. At one time we would see a lot of loons on this lake, but now almost all the birds are cormorants. I’d hate to think what the rest of the islands in this beautiful park will look like in ten years. I just had to send my pictures to you and I will copy Minister Ramsay as requested in your article. Hopefully someone will start to listen before it is too late. Thanks, Lynn Neuman.

 


 

Cormorants Attack Our Crown Jewel: Algonquin Park


Why is the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources dragging its heels on a major environmental crisis?


Despite five full years of scientific study that unequivocally confirms that a cull of cormorants on Lake Huron's north shore is years overdue, the Ontario government is once again procrastinating. Recently, the MNR announced its intentions on the Environmental Bill of Rights to conduct another two years of cormorant study on Lake Huron - a study that, as far as the O.F.A.H. is concerned, is absolutely unnecessary. "It is simply irresponsible for the Ontario government to turn its back on our fisheries resources. Despite the clear scientific need for cormorant control and fisheries management, the government continues to procrastinate and neglect what must be done to protect our natural resources," said Dr. Terry Quinney, Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services for the O.F.A.H. — the renowned 81,000 member conservation organization that has, for the past 12 years, taken the lead in demanding effective cormorant management. "The Ontario government already has ample scientific support, and it has absolutely no excuse for letting another breeding season go by without using every available tool to achieve a drastic immediate reduction in cormorants along the shores of Manitoulin Island," he said adding that the O.F.A.H., along with many MPP’s, are lobbying to have double-crested cormorants removed from Ontario's protected species list. According to the government's own scientists, cormorants consume nearly 100 percent of the eastern Georgian Bay and North Channel inshore fish production. A severe overpopulation of these birds on the Great Lakes are destroying shoreline trees, flora and fauna, and decimating the forage base for top predators such as trout and salmon. Now, cormorants are moving inland and devastating highly sensitive lakes such as Lake Couchiching, Lake Nipissing and Lake Opeongo in Algonquin Park. The cull of cormorants at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in Brighton, recently carried out by the MNR, is a wildlife population management tool that needs to be applied in many locations across the province.

 

 

Rich Sandig futher replies, "Please write to your local MPP, take a stand and if we all join in, perhaps we will get their attention."