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Ontario proposes cormorant hunting season

Cara J

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Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has proposed a hunting season for double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auratus). Provincial management of cormorants varies, with some allowing hunting and other managing the populations through depredation permits or culling. Double-crested cormorants are native to the Great Lakes region. Populations declined significantly throughout the 1900s due to both unregulated harvesting by humans and environmental contaminants. In the 1970s, with pollution controls and other laws protecting the birds in place, populations rebounded. Recent estimates indicate the current population of double-created cormorants in the United States and Canada is about 730,000 birds. Cormorants are opportunistic and generalist feeders that consume a great deal of fish, often causing conflict with the fishing industry, recreational anglers and the aquaculture industry. The birds nest in colonies along waterways, where their high densities can have adverse effects on vegetation, stripping trees of leaves and covering surfaces with guano. Under the ministry’s proposal, the double-crested cormorant would be listed as a game bird and an open season would be established across the province from March 15 to Dec. 31 each year. Hunters would need an outdoors card and small game license to hunt double-crested cormorants. The proposal would also establish a [...]

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