PETERBOROUGH—Another bill has been put forward provincially for better cormorant control in Ontario, again calling for amendments in the current Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 to allow for hunting and trapping of double-crested cormorants. The bill is receiving support from Manitoulin fish and game clubs and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
“MPP Bob Bailey (Sarnia-Lambton) has put forward Bill 205, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation (an act to amend the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997) to remove protections for double-crested cormorants to allow for hunting and trapping of them,” stated Greg Farrant, of the OFAH, last week. He pointed out this is the same bill that has been put forward at least twice before, including from former Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Brown, that was rejected by the provincial government.
“Cormorant numbers have probably gone down locally from what they were because of a lack of bait fish for instance in Lake Huron on the south side, and alewife have been almost totally taken out of the system,” said Ian Anderson of the United Fish and Game Club of Manitoulin (UFGCM).
“But cormorants have relocated to other food source areas,” said Mr. Anderson, “and there are still nesting colonies on the inland water areas of Manitoulin Island, where they feed on bait and fish.”
“We will likely always support control of cormorant populations,” said Mr. Anderson. “They are a predator to both bait and game fish, and their numbers are still much higher than they were historically. We are anxiously waiting to hear if this bill goes through, it has been pursued for a long time with no success up to now. For sure, our fish and game club for sure is in support of the bill.”
“Yes, we are in support of the bill,” said Chris Robinson, president of the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club (GBFGC).
“Cormorants continue to be a big problem throughout the province,” said Mr. Farrant.
Mr. Bailey put forward Bill 205 in parliament last week to amend the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, and enacts as follows 1. Clause 5 (2) of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act 1997 is repealed and the following substituted: (a) an American crow, brown-headed cowbird, common grackle, double-crested cormorant, house sparrow, red-winged blackbird or starling.” The Bill, which has passed first reading, would amend the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 to permit the hunting and trapping of double-crested cormorants.
Mr. Farrant noted, “Michigan and US officials I can tell you are mad as hell at Ontario as they have strict controls on cormorants and they nest here in Ontario and then go to the US and the Ontario government has refused to do anything about the birds.”