An open letter is trying to save the birds. A mass hunt of double-crested cormorant birds has been approved by the Ontario government, and now experts are trying to stop it. The cormorant hunt in Ontario is set to being on September 15 and last through to the end of the year in order to manage the bird population.

In an open letter to John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry(MNRF), 51 experts in the field voiced their concerns about the method of population control.


"As ecologists, fisheries scientists and natural resource managers, we are concerned at the lack of scientific examination associated with the announcement," says the letter, organized by York University professor Gail Fraser, who works at the Faculty of Environmental Studies.

Open season for the hunt will last from September 15 to December 31, according to the provincial website, and hunters are allowed to shoot down 15 birds a day

However, experts are saying that there is no scientifically sound evidence to suggest that mass hunting is a good way to deal with the problem. 

Double-crested cormorants are not considered edible, and there are not many uses for them. A mass amount of dead cormorants will not do the environment any good, experts reason. 


The open letter referenced a U.S. Environmental Impact statement, which says that there are "serious reservations about authorizing a non-traditional species to be hunted when it cannot be eaten or widely utilized."

"There are more responsible and socially acceptable ways of dealing with migratory bird conflicts," it says. 

According to the letter, the mass hunt also violates two principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. 


Firstly, it recommends that wildlife should only be killed for non-frivolous purposes, and secondly, that scientific management is the way to deal with wildlife conservation. 

Experts have also raised concerns about the fact that the hunted birds will seemingly not need to be reported, as it is not mentioned in the provincial guidelines

The government announced concerns about the uptick in double-crested cormorants in Ontario, stating that "cormorants, a bird that preys on fish, eating a pound a day, ...can damage trees in which they nest and roost."

However, Fraser and other experts have retorted that "the MNRF will be unable to assess how the removal of an unknown number of cormorants from locations where no problems may even exist will be linked to the state of various fish populations across Ontario."

Now, the experts are calling on Minister Yakabuski to provide a science-backed and detailed peer-reviewed report on their hunting strategy and how it is supposed to help wildlife. 


Up until now, cormorants were protected under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA) because they used to be endangered.

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