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The cormorant -- the 'black plague' or an example of successful species conservation?
Date:6/4/2008

This release is available in German.

Leipzig. Europe requires a common management strategy for cormorants in order to reconcile nature conservation and fishing interests. An effective regulation of cormorant populations can only work at the European level, researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) write in the scientific journal Environmental Conservation. Furthermore, they suggest a five-step action plan, which would start with a consensus on the real numbers of animals and end in an international management plan. Currently a common solution is not materialising because of too many different interests from individual countries and a lack of coordination, according to UFZ researchers. In North America by comparison, a management plan for the Double-crested Cormorant has been in operation since 2003, although the problem there is just as complex as it is in Europe. The size of the cormorant population in Europe varies between half a million and one and a half million birds, depending on who provides the data. The researchers' vision of a new action plan materialised from 22 interviews conducted with responsible persons from several EU countries at different management levels.

Fishermen insult them as the "black plague", birds that steal their fish and eat them in front of their eyes, while conservationists on the other hand celebrate the increase in the number of cormorants as proof of the fact that the conservation measures of recent decades have been successful. Attempts to regulate numbers locally or regionally have regularly made this conflict into headline news, not least because such attempts have remained unsuccessful. It has been common knowledge for a long time now that the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) does not stop at country borders. As a typical migratory bird it breeds in the North and the Baltic S
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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