Cormorant Harassment Aims to Protect Young Fish in Oregon

Cormorant Hazing Aims to Protect Young Fish
Double-crested cormorants like these birds perched on a log in the Columbia River are common on inland and coastal waters in Oregon. They catch fish by diving, and nest in colonies often located in trees or on cliff faces. On predator-free islands, they often nest on the ground. Cormorants are protected by international treaty and federal law. (Photo by Kathy Munsel/ODFW)
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Logo
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Tillamook, OR -(AmmoLand.com)- Harassment, or “hazing”, of double-crested cormorants is set to begin soon in several areas along the Oregon Coast to improve survival of juvenile salmon.

Double-crested cormorants are fish-eating waterbirds that occur throughout the state. The species is an Oregon native, and is particularly prevalent on the state’s estuaries during April through October. Research indicates cormorants can consume significant numbers of juvenile salmon during this time period.

To reduce the threat to young fish, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is working with several nonprofit and local governmental organizations to haze cormorants on six coastal estuaries over the next two to four months.

Hazing will involve driving the birds from locations where juvenile salmon are seasonally concentrated, toward areas where non-salmon fish species are more abundant. Workers will use boats and, on some estuaries, small pyrotechnics, to accomplish the task.

Hazing is intended to increase the survival of both wild-spawned and hatchery salmon juveniles as they migrate to the ocean. Some of these spring migrants represent species that are experiencing conditions of conservation risk, including coho salmon, which is federally threatened in Oregon under the Endangered Species Act.

Hazing workers are being provided by the Clatsop County Fisheries Project, Port of Nehalem, Port of Bandon, North Coast Salmon and Steelhead Enhancement Fund, and Alsea Sportsmen’s Association. ODFW will provide a portion of the funding and program oversight, and will conduct some hazing operations itself to protect hatchery releases on the lower Columbia River.

Hazing will take place as early as April 1 and continue through May 31 on the Nehalem, Nestucca, and Coquille river estuaries, and on Tillamook and Alsea bays.

The program will continue through at least July 31 on the lower Columbia River, where hazing will occur at a variety of locations, including Young’s Bay, Blind Slough, and Tongue Point.

About the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW):

Our mission is to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.

For more information, visit: www.dfw.state.or.us.

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
Notify of