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For Immediate Release: 11/20/08

Animal protectionists award and reward sardine-boat owners for respecting nesting birds others love to scapegoat

MONTEREY, CA — Monterey fishing boat owner Andy Siino will be presented with a “Cormorant Compassion Award” and a check for $1,000.00 from Cormorant Defenders International (CDI), a collective of animal protection and environmental groups representing 15 million people in the U.S. and Canada. CDI is dedicated to promoting the appreciation and protection of cormorants and other colonial-nesting waterbirds.

Siino’s fishing vessel, the General Pershing, was taken over by nesting Brandt’s Cormorants this year, causing considerable damage from the accumulation of excrement, or guano. While all cormorant species are legally protected, in many parts of North America the related Double-crested Cormorant has been culled by state, provincial and federal authorities.

“Many myths about cormorants abound,” stated Adam Roberts, on behalf of Born Free USA United with the Animal Protection Institute, one of the founders of Cormorant Defenders International. “But basically they are scapegoated as competitors for fish, in spite of many studies showing they normally have minimal, if any, statistically significant negative impacts on commercial or game fish stocks.”

The birds colonized the boat while it was not in use. Andy Siino and his associates waited for the birds to nest and leave before cleaning up the boat, at their own expense. “We thought such understanding was exceptional,” said Stephanie Boyles, representing the Humane Society of the United States, “and a sharp contrast to the hatred directed toward these birds in so many other places.”

“We need governments on both sides of the border to have the same respect for cormorants as Andy Siino,” states CDI’s Julie Woodyer. CDI’s compassionate certificate will be presented to Captain Andy Siino, along with a check.

CDI members that contributed towards the award are: Animal Alliance of Canada, Born Free USA United with the Animal Protection Institute, Earthroots Canada, the Humane Society of the United States and Zoocheck Canada.

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Contact:
Zibby Wilder, Born Free USA, 916.267.7266

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