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GLIN==> News Release - Cormorant Conflict

                                MN SEA GRANT
                                NEWS RELEASE
CONTACT: Marie Zhuikov, mzhuikov@umn.edu or (218) 726-7677

Minnesota Fish Producers Report Losses to Cormorants and Other Birds

The University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program recently funded
researchers to look into conflicts over resource use by
aquaculturalists and fish-eating birds in Minnesota. Linda Wires and
Francie Cuthbert with the University of Minnesota surveyed 54
commercial fish producers with outdoor facilities to correlate
bird-related fish losses with the distribution and abundance of
double-crested cormorants, American white pelicans, and great blue

The major results of Wires' and Cuthbert's report are available in a
fact sheet, Minnesota Fish Producers Report on Losses to Birds.
Highlights include:

-- Fish losses to double-crested cormorants were generally considered
more severe than losses to American white pelicans and great blue
-- Fish losses to great blue herons occurred most frequently but were
generally not considered severe.
-- 87 percent of fish producers experienced losses to fish-eating birds.
-- 41 percent of fish producers defined their losses as severe.
-- Concentrations of fish-eating birds were greatest at facilities
during the birds' migratory periods.

Mike Lint, co-president of the Minnesota Fish and Bait Farmers and fish
farming business owner in West Central Minnesota, estimates that
cormorants and pelicans can consume over $100,000 worth of marketable
fish from his ponds in a year.

Populations of cormorants and pelicans have rebounded over the past 30
years in response to policy and improved environmental conditions. In
Minnesota, there are an estimated 8,000-10,000 breeding pairs of each
species. Wires and Cuthbert are poised to conduct a statewide census of
Minnesota's breeding cormorants and pelicans during the 2004 nesting

"Cormorants aren't the only fish-eating birds that visit fish
production ponds but they can be a fish producer's biggest problem
bird," said Wires. "People seem to hold very polarized opinions about
how cormorants should be handled. On one level, it's miraculous that we
have cormorants in the state at all given that environmental
contaminants and persecution greatly reduced populations by the 1950s.
>From another perspective, the growing number of cormorants and pelicans
aren't making many friends among fish producers and anglers." 

To order a free copy of the Minnesota Fish Producers Report on Losses
to Birds fact sheet, contact Minnesota Sea Grant at seagr@d.umn.edu or
call (218) 726-6191.

Minnesota Sea Grant is part of a network of 30 Sea Grant College
Programs spanning coastal states throughout the United States and
Puerto Rico.


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