Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

April 30, 2008 16:01 ET

FEDERAL COURT BACKS CORMORANT CULL

O.F.A.H. Applauds dismissal of injunction application to prevent Middle Island cull

Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Sports Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ONTARIO- ONTARIO FEDERATION OF ANGLERS AND HUNTERS--(Marketwire - April 30, 2008) - A federal court decision denying a request for an injunction to halt the proposed cull of cormorants on Middle Island in Lake Erie south of Pelee Island will allow Parks Canada to proceed with controls to reduce the negative impact of cormorants on the local ecosystem. The cull, which had been challenged by some animal rights activists, is part of a carefully developed and scientifically sound management plan by Parks Canada to address the overpopulation of cormorants on Middle Island.

"The ecosystems of the Great Lakes and inland lakes cannot continue to sustain the damage that has been created by a decade of cormorant population growth that has been allowed to go unchecked," said Dr. Terry Quinney, O.F.A.H. Provincial Manager of Fish & Wildlife. "Parks Canada, both through evidence presented in court and through an environmental assessment, has clearly demonstrated that unless there is both a short and longer term decrease in the cormorant population on Middle Island, the ecological integrity of the Carolinian ecosystem is threatened and may be lost completely over the next decade."

Cormorant populations have exploded in many areas of Ontario, including the Great Lakes, and inland lakes like Simcoe, Couchiching, Rice and Opeongo Lake in Algonquin Park. Concerns around the cormorant overpopulation are based on both their habits and consumption of fish species. Cormorants consume vast quantities of smaller bait fish and immature fish species and their guano (droppings) are highly toxic, resulting in the destruction of nearby vegetation and nesting areas for other birds.

"Despite what some animal rights organizations suggest, this has nothing to do with the eradication of a species, and everything to do with the careful and scientific control of one species whose population is out of sync with the surrounding area and negatively impacting upon other species. There is compelling science to support the use of a managed cull as part of a management strategy," said Dr. Quinney.

In ruling against the application for an injunction, the court found that Parks Canada had presented strong evidence to suggest that real harm to ecosystem of Middle Island would occur if the cull did not proceed by the end of April. Parks Canada argued that if immediate action is not taken to reduce the number of cormorants, the island's unique ecosystem could be damaged beyond the point of recovery. Parks officials also noted that if they allowed this to happen, the service would be guilty of not living up to its mandate to maintain ecological integrity under the Canada National Parks Act.

While the move to control the cormorant population on Middle Island is seen as a positive step, the O.F.A.H. is concerned over the lack of action in other areas of the province under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.). The province's decision to halt the cull of cormorants at Presqu'ile Provincial Park because of pressure from animal rights groups, and the lack of a coherent cormorant management strategy flies in the face of the M.N.R.'s responsibility and stated commitment to the conservation of biodiversity. The province has also recently come under fire from bordering U.S. states who have introduced cormorant controls that are threatened by Ontario's inaction.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest non-profit conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters. For further information, visit www.ofah.org.
/For further information:

Greg Farrant
Manager of Government
Relations & Communications
(705) 748-6324 ext. 236
(705) 875-0274

Lezlie Goodwin
Communications Coordinator
705 748-6324 ext 270
lezlie_goodwin@ofah.org/ IN: ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES, JUSTICE, POLITICS, SPORTS

Contact Information

  • Dr. Terry Quinney, Provincial Manager, Fish and Wildlife, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
    Primary Phone: 705-748-6324 ext. 242
    E-mail: terry_quinney@ofah.org