The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to shoot thousands of cormorants in the Columbia River Estuary starting next year.
Cormorants are being targeted because they eat salmon. Federal officials claim that they eat too many juvenile salmon as the fish migrate through the river estuary to the Pacific Ocean. The cull program would claim the lives of 16,000 cormorants during the nesting season each year for four years. Oil will also be spread over cormorant eggs to suffocate the eggs and ensure that they do not hatch, putting oil into the bird nests and into the environment.
The population of these birds, protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, have been declining and the sustainability of this cull is questionable. The shooting and killing of these innocent animals will not solve the problem of a declining salmon population, redirecting the public's focus from the real problems at the Columbia - overfishing and a polluted river filled with toxins.
Please speak out against the planned killing of 16,000 cormorants for the "crime" of eating salmon.
Dear Sondra Ruckwardt,
I am writing to express the opposition to the planned killing of 16,000 Double-crested Cormorants along the Columbia River.
Although I support your effort to reduce predation on endangered salmon, the killing of these birds (already in decline in this area), won’t solve the real problem, but it will only devastate the cormorant population.
The real culprits of a declining salmon population are dams, habitat loss, and pollution, and the shooting and killing of cormorants, which are supposed to be protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, would only redirect the focus from the real problem.
For this reason, I am asking to review your approach to avian predation and re-consider a non-lethal mean of reducing predation on fish.
Thank you for considering these views.