Date: 1/12/21 8:38 am
From: Brian Patteson (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: NC Seabirds
It’s an interesting situation with Double-crested Cormorants. I think those in favor of controlling the population have a warped perspective in terms of historical context, as cormorant numbers were greatly diminished for many years by the lasting effects of DDT. What we are seeing now, is probably more normal in terms of numbers. Interestingly, another species which has made a big comeback, albeit many years later is the Bald Eagle. The comeback of Bald Eagles has been not been good for Great Cormorants, but that species was not nearly as abundant as Double-crested Cormorants. There is no doubt that cormorants have a significant affect on fish stocks, but so does shrimping, where there is a huge amount of by-catch that is beneficial to coastal seabirds that have learned to follow the boats.

Brian Patteson

> On Jan 12, 2021, at 10:11 AM, <badgerboy...> wrote:
> Thanks Dave for calling attention to this seabird fish consumption study, apparently instigated by the fishing industry. Please remember, the net effect of any wildlife on the ecosystem is much more than just their consumption. This is NOT a dig at the study or those who carried it out.
> Cormorants aint pretty, and they aint terribly popular among birders or wildlife management agencies, not to mention with the general public and fisheries people.
> However, their role in the recycling of marine nutrients to coastal ecosystems is major, they are one of the birds that roost above coastal wetlands and return massive amounts of organic material to fishery nursing areas, making them a real keystone species for productive coastal ecosystems and productive fisheries in the long term. This benefits all our birds and other wildlife. Birds such as Gannets and Gulls provide much less of this as they tend to roost at sea. In contrast, practically zero of the marine nutrients taken by industry trawlers are returned to fish nursery areas.
> Through fish predation, Cormorants' active selection of fitness in fish populations off, and near the coast is also a major feedback to ecosystem productivity. This is different from people's fishing activity which doesn't discriminate what kind of fish get in the net.
> There's a real temptation to scapegoat common birds like cormorants for the declining wildlife stocks, which are caused by people and their fossil-fueled harvesting, that gives nothing back to the system. I ask birders to resist that.
> Guy McGrane, Boone, NC
> On 1/12/2021 7:49 AM, David Gibson (via carolinabirds Mailing List) wrote:
>> I thought some of you might be interested in this short Center for Conservation Biology piece <;!!OToaGQ!7yb4lZP7WmExO6UlQv9zlgvUO3KaNUBH-rtGJwRK6FwaLihywtqfPVfaexvOEBlZaSU$> about seabirds (cormorants, pelicans, etc.) along the NC coast. The aerial photos are fascinating.
>> Dave Gibson
>>;!!OToaGQ!9fOHX3-knNtVnXvp7aeX8xCexP1vX58ZMUtZ6CmcHWYfShVw9gSCGqz7makklLP39ZQ$ <;!!OToaGQ!7yb4lZP7WmExO6UlQv9zlgvUO3KaNUBH-rtGJwRK6FwaLihywtqfPVfaexvOYQXLGEQ$>

Join us on Facebook!