Getting involved: Public input sought on cormorant management

Cormorants Perched Over Wilson Harbor

It’s important to get involved, especially when it comes to letter writing and making contacts for various issues that affect all we do relative to hunting, fishing and our natural resources. Some of you might already be thinking: “I’m one person and what I write, say or do isn’t going to make a difference.” I’m here to say that it truly does make a difference.

Look at the crossbow issue in New York. Rick McDermott with the NY Crossbow Coalition just finished delivering 3,764 letters on Assembly Bill A7627 to expand the season for seniors and junior hunters. The group achieved that number by getting people to write them one at a time. That’s what it’s going to take if we want to get something accomplished.

Our next target, you could say, is for the birds.

Public comment is under way with the recent advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) from the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service relative to dealing with ongoing conflicts between double-crested cormorants and wild/stocked fisheries. Public comment must be received by March 9.

“We need to do something to address the expanding population of these birds,” said Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane, who operates a charter fishing vessel out of Olcott on Lake Ontario. “We need to ask for an expanded Northeast cap for culling and give that responsibility back to the state like it was before. We need to protect our free-ranging fish, both stocked and naturally reproduced. Our pen projects for salmon and trout have become a smorgasbord for these birds.”

Yes, these birds are out of control all around the Great Lakes. They are attacking inland waters. One pen rearing project manager reported that steelhead held in the pens had bite marks on them last year from bird attacks underwater while they were still in the pens. The birds become conditioned to follow DEC stocking trucks around. They know that a free lunch is at hand.

Pick up a pen or turn your computer on. Either way works.

Comments can be made in two ways. One is electronically at https://www.regulations.gov/searchResults?rpp=25&po=0&s=cormorants&fp=true&ns=true.

The other is by hard copy through the U.S. Mail to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-HQ-MB-2019-0103; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: JAO/1N, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

Categories: New York – Bill Hilts Jr

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