Yesterday Congressman Jack Bergman and the U.S House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing to discuss the effects of Cormorants
Native to the great lakes region-Cormorants are a diving water bird that prey primarily on fish and are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Great lake stakeholders are concerned and believe the reinstating effective Cormorant management is critically needed to maintain a sustainable balance between the fish and wildlife population
“We summarize our concerns in three main things- First the cormorants numbers In the Great Lakes have risen, second the cormorants are having direct impacts on valuable and sensitive fish populations, and last cormorant on fish populations can cause harm on fish populations and our communities”.
The Cormorants in the Great Lakes have risen and collectively consume an estimated 77 million pounds of fish each year
Prey fish populations are down by 80–90 percent and in Lake Huron alone that represents a decline of 160 million pounds and a loss of 1 million fishing trips a year
After a 2016 court order Michigan and 23 other states are prohibited from effectively managing Cormorant populations
”Without the ability to effectively manage Cormorants populations the livelihood of our recreational and commercial fishing industries are seriously threatened. These industries are critical to our local economies so much so that I have heard about this issue from many constituents since being sworn in”.
This issue not only affects the entire state of Michigan but other states as well. That’s why Congressman Jack Bergman introduced the Cormorant Control Act to rescind the court order and reinstate the double crested Cormorant depredation orders.
“Regardless of the approach we take.. my hope on this hearing would be to highlight the need to do something, to instill a sense of urgency across all stakeholders to actually get something done. Last time I checked the cormorants aren’t taking a break in their studies.”
Congressman Bergman is hopeful that this message with be received in Washington in order to help protect the great lakes immediately.