An article recently popped up on the website of CBC News about the ever-growing cormorant problem in Canada. While this birds are technically shore dwellers, over the last ten years they’ve made a noticeable migration inland, taking up residence on rivers, lakes, and ponds. So rampant and ravenous are these birds, a group called the P.E.I. Baitfishers is petitioning to the local Department of Fish and Wildlife to set up a cormorant cull, allowing hunters to thin out the herd in selected sites where trout and salmon spawn. It’s not the first time of heard the idea, and the problem is certainly not restricted to Canada. There have actually been criminal cases brought against U.S. residents that took culling matters into their own hands. In some states, sharpshooters are also hired to reduce bird populations.
These birds, which can swim great distances underwater and dive deep too boot, will chase fish down and just keep eating until they simply can’t fit any more in their stomachs. The cormorant in the photo has a trout, but if you Google images, you’ll find the same shot with everything from crappies, to bluegills, to catfish, to bass. I’ve heard anglers gripe about the birds cross-country, and have personally witnessed them chasing down fish as far inland as Lake Barkley in Kentucky. Back in the late summer, I watched a cormorant on one of my favorite local carp ponds scare fish in the shallow water for hours. Eventually the bird managed to subdue a carp that weighed about four pounds.
So I’m curious…are you seeing more cormorants in your area? And if given the chance, would you take part in a legal hunt? I would.