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Why Cormorants Can’t Kill All the Fish

Cormorants: An Excuse to Kill

Published 01/25/11
By Barry Kent MacKay, Senior Program Associate

Double-breasted cormorant
(Painting by Barry Kent MacKay)

Most people who believe the double-crested cormorant population in North America, especially in the east, threatens the environment and therefore should be reduced, will not see this document. And if they do, I suspect most will avoid reading it, or other documents about cormorants on this website.

This document is long and it is detailed. That is because the antipathy toward cormorants is based on simplistic, intuitively reasonable concerns that are satisfying to entertain. Reading why the antipathy is based on half-truths and misinformation is not. Cormorants are a model scapegoat in that respect — to understand the arguments against them is simple and does not require knowledge of cormorants, ecology or predator-prey relationships; to understand why those arguments are specious requires the effort to obtain knowledge.

It is our hope, however, that there are “stakeholders” — not excluding anglers, fishers and wildlife managers, but including many others who have no specific stake in an anti- or pro-cormorant agenda and thus are willing and able to be open-minded — who are willing to examine in detail why the scapegoating is not only unfair and unfounded, but counterproductive. It is for such people that we present these essays:

NEXT » Wildlife Management North and South of the Border

Energy Transference, Basic Physics and the Technology Prosthesis

Back in the Real World

Cormorants: Food Chains and Basic Ecological Principles

The Alewife, Alien Salmon and Trout, and the Double-Crested Cormorant

The Round Goby

The Difference Between Science and Management

The Agricultural Subsidy

The Missing Predator Argument

Limiting Factors

Semi-Science and Wildlife Management

So ... What Do Real Scientists Say?

Footnotes

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