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

ea area, but winters in the proximity of the Mediterranean. Thus, if the numbers of cormorants were regulated in order to defuse the conflict between the fishing industry and nature conservation, all EU countries should be involved in the process. The attitude towards the Great Cormorant however is very different in each of these countries: The Netherlands for example is completely opposed to culling, while France on the other hand culls 40,000 cormorants per year. "With the involvement of 25 member states it is indeed difficult to find a regulation with which all states are satisfied. If only one member state disagrees, then the plan will not materialise", as Vivien Behrens of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) explains the dilemma. The social scientist and two colleagues conducted interviews with numerous decision-makers on this subject and investigated, why a common European cormorant management strategy is so difficult. From her point of view past attempts have failed, because an appropriate agency is missing: "In Europe it is clearly an institutional problem: Who is responsible? Is it the conservation agencies, the fishery authorities or other actors? There are so many different levels involved from the regional and national to the international level, and yet there is no one place for all of these threads to intertwine, where one can say: We are now going to develop an action plan that we can use to regulate the problem." Officially, the ORNIS committee would be the responsible body, but they have categorised the problem as not that urgent. In the meetings, in which the approach and the results of the research work were presented, there was always at least a representative of one country that did not consider an action plan to be necessary. Dr. Felix Rauschmayer from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) comments on the reactions to his presentations: "Some arguments against a plan of action were not scientifically soun
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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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