Destroy the great cormorant: the state persists in spite of…

Until August 15, the Department of Ecology is submitting to the public a draft of a three-year decree setting a ceiling for ministries within the limits of exemptions from bans on extermination of the Great cormorant species. (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) may be issued by counties for the period 2022/2025.

This raptor is protected at the European level under the Directive of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds. However, to limit its predation on protected freshwater fish species as well as in pond fish farms, culling operations can still be carried out.

Backhand series juridic

To obtain such insults must be subject to strict conditions: for shooting in open water (rivers), the State cannot permit the shooting of large cormorants without first proving the fact of predation against with protected fish, without detriment to good conservation status. species, and there is practically no other viable solution. As these conditions were not met, the LPO canceled 15 orders for cormorant culling in several departments (Loir et Cher, Haute-Loire, Oise, Aveyron, Corrèze, Doubs, Eure, Eure et Loire, Lot et Garonne, Nièvre, Pyrénées Orientales, Savoie, Tarn and Vaucluse) since the publication of the final three-year decree on August 27, 2019 setting quotas for part destruction for the period 2019/2022.

The judges notably sanctioned the fact that data regarding the effects of cormorant predation on protected fish populations are often little known and therefore insufficient to justify extermination. Faced with this perception, the new draft decree 2022/2025 submitted for public comment as of July 25, 2022 proposes to no longer allow cormorant culling in open waters ( rivers and bodies of water), which is only allowed near fish farms.

Two indistinguishable subspecieseat in

On the other hand, the marine subspecies of the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbonate) It is heavily guarded and its destruction is punishable by a fine of €150,000 and 3 years in prison. With a fragile French population estimated at less than 2000 breeding pairs, it occurs in eight Norman and Breton regions, where it coexists with its continental cousin. Since they cannot be distinguished by the naked eye, the draft decree provides that no powers to exterminate cormorants may therefore be granted in the coastal regions of Brittany and Normandy, i.e. all of them. except ‘Orna.

Finally, the government proposes to set annual harvest ceilings at 58 agencies between 2022/2025 to kill a maximum total of 27,892 continental great cormorants, compared with 50,283 during 2019/2022, among the population. estimated French mean. about 90,000 individuals overwinter and 8,000 breeding pairs continue to grow.

In progress but could be betterx do

The LPO noted on the progress of this decree, which received a favorable opinion from the National Council for the Protection of Nature (CNPN). However, effective and non-lethal methods of killing cormorants exist to keep large cormorants away and should be preferred to limit their losses in fish farms, especially because of their effectiveness in killing cormorants. This area has never been scientifically established. No single solution can be deployed on a large scale, they must be tailored to local characteristics. But the shots practiced for 30 years now have clearly shown their inefficiency.


The executive has long been comfortable with the idea that it’s easier to blame the Great Cormorant for the decline of certain fish species than fret about water quality, deadly drought, multiple dams and Pesticides drip into rivers. The next step is to realize that like agriculture, aquaculture should not grow at the expense of wildlife.

Allin Bougrain Dubourg
President of LPO

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