• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Petition: Stop Ontario’s war on Double-crested Cormorants

In Environment
Dec 5th, 2018

Ontario introduces open season hunt on nesting birds

From Peaceful Parks

Nowhere in North America are sport hunters permitted to shoot at close range nesting migratory birds and their chicks while still in the nest, but that is exactly what Ontario’s Conservative Premier Doug Ford is proposing for Double-crested Cormorants and it needs to be stopped now.

Please sign our petition: Let These Birds Live

Premier Doug Ford intends to change the law in Ontario, to allow sport hunters to ‘spoil’ the birds after being shot. Meaning both parents and chicks can be blasted out of their nest and left to rot. Currently it is illegal to ‘spoil’ game species. Technically, the hunting of wildlife isn’t supposed to be for the sheer thrill of killing. Carcasses, in theory, are to be used.

Doug Ford is waiving this provision and will allow hunters to shoot up colonies at their pleasure in an open season that will run from March 15 to December 31, every year. Hunters can kill off an entire colony and their chicks in a matter of minutes. A government cull of nesting cormorants in 2003 at Presqu’ile Provincial Park saw two government sharp shooters kill over a thousand birds in one day.

So let’s not kid ourselves – Doug Ford wants to kill off these birds in Ontario and it can be done very quickly.

This proposal was written almost verbatim by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and is part of their PRIORITIES FOR THE NEW GOVERNMENT agenda.

There are no restrictions.

There are no restrictions on the number of hunters that can attack a colony anywhere, anytime including one of the largest colonies on the Great Lakes located in Toronto at Tommy Thompson Park. As long as sport hunters remain in their boats, and do not step onto the shore, there is nothing restricting them from coming close enough to shoot nests from below, killing adults peacefully tending their young and the chicks.

Landowners have always had the unrestricted ability to kill cormorants if they were perceived as ‘nuisance’ on their private property and science from across numerous jurisdictions including Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry concluded that the presence of cormorants indicates an abundance of fish. The problem is that sport and commercial fishers are too greedy to share the resources with any species seen as a direct competitor.

Almost all Double-crested Cormorant colonies contain several other colonial waterbird species such as Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Common Tern, Caspian Tern, Black-crowned Night Herons, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, White Pelicans, who will also be disturbed during their breeding season by this hunting activity. When Ontario Parks began culling cormorants at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, they lost the ONLY Great Blue Heron breeding colony on Lake Ontario which was embedded among the cormorants for protection against predators.

Follow this link for the policy to kill cormorants during their nesting season, and to leave a comment (the deadline is January 3 2019.

Please note: It is impossible to monitor this hunting activity as proposed. The same promise to monitor the Spring Bear Hunt never materialized and young cubs are dying at the hands of sport hunters as the mother bears are killed in the spring hunt. The Ontario govt. has NEVER produced a report to date. They can’t and they won’t. They want them dead in the water – literally.

Links to more information:

Nature not Bullets – Hamilton Spectator

Proposed hunting season – Globe and Mail

‘Scientifically baseless, environmentally naive’- Edward Kroc UBC

Bird Studies Canada

Gail Fraser, York University 

OFAH Priorities for the Next Government (click on categories in left column)

OFAH issues page

Opposition to Double-crested Cormorant Hunt – Welland Tribune

Unintended consequences

Cormorants Need Your Help

Environment Canada: The Rise of the Double-crested Cormorant on the Great Lakes

Barry Kent MacKay : Cormorant Voice from the Grave

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