Peterson urges the House Committee on Natural Resources to address the mismanagement of double-crested cormorant populations

Jun 19, 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Collin C. Peterson submitted testimony for the House Committee on Natural Resources’ hearing to examination the effects of cormorant mismanagement in the Great Lakes Region.

Double-crested cormorant populations have been relatively unchecked since the 1970’s, when they first received federal protection. On average, one bird will consume 1-2 pounds of fish a day and with no natural predators their numbers have exploded, devastating local ecosystems, fisheries, and lake tourism.

“In my district alone, I have routinely heard from fisheries, area resorts, charter boat captains and even tribal leaders about the problems they have personally faced because of the mismanagement of cormorant populations,” Peterson said. “Put simply, unchecked these birds will continue to decimate fisheries.”

In 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its final rule which allowed for more flexibility in managing double-crested cormorant populations. States within the Great Lakes region were finally able to manage cormorants in reasonable ways when they threatened lake habitats and natural resources.

In 2016, a decision from the United States District Court of D.C. to vacate the depredation orders within aquaculture and public resources halted common sense management of cormorant populations.

Congressman Peterson has introduced the Cormorant Control Act to the Committee on Natural Resources, which would allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue issuing cormorant depredation permits for public resources and local aquaculture purposes.