Populations of double-crested cormorants appear to be increasing in number and distribution across Ontario’s shorelines. Where cormorant numbers are high, they can negatively affect terrestrial habitats by chemical and physical means through corrosive acidic guano, and stripping/breaking tree branches. In some cases, cormorant colonies have destroyed entire island ecosystems. Many people are also concerned about potential impacts on fish populations and angling opportunities.
Despite the growing concern about high cormorant numbers and the continued degradation of sensitive habitats, the provincial government does not currently have a management plan for cormorants. The OFAH has been advocating for better cormorant control for over a decade.
Currently, the only recourse that the public has to deal with cormorants is in defence of property, meaning that landowners need to wait for damage to occur before they can act. The OFAH has been working to remove the unnecessary provincial protection of these birds under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and give people an additional tool to manage the growing cormorant population. A private member’s bill (Bill 205) was tabled in 2016 in an attempt to remove the provincial protection of the double-crested cormorants, but it did not become law because the government prorogued the legislature. The OFAH also believes that the Ontario and Federal governments should be actively culling cormorants within Parks to protect the sensitive habitat and species.
The OFAH is taking this opportunity to make cormorants a priority for the new government, which has expressed an interest in increased cormorant control. See our Priorities for the New Government here.
Apr, 2016 Cormorant Concerns
Nov/Dec, 2015 OFAH calling for better cormorant control