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The cormorant -- the 'black plague' or an example of successful species conservation?
Date:6/4/2008

d but simply put forward as objections and this was clear to all of those present at the meetings." The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) clearly stated the fact that the cormorant population is sufficiently stable at the moment and therefore does not have to be regulated, as this convention concentrates first and foremost on highly endangered species.

The researchers have therefore come up with a five-step action plan, which could help to steer the cormorant management in the European Union out of the dead end. Firstly it is necessary to obtain accurate data on cormorant population, as the estimated numbers are varying according to the respective interests. Subsequently, regional conditions would be compared, a cost-benefit analysis of management options conducted, and a common model of the entire cormorant population established. Following this, a comprehensive institution would have to be set up, which would be responsible for the application of a common management strategy in the long run. "These steps must be taken successively. If one was to start with the third step only to discover that no consensus prevails concerning the first step, then everything would fizzle out again." A difficult process, requiring mutual understanding, as all countries would have to give up their decision-making autonomy.

The fact that a trans-national cormorant management policy is however possible can be illustrated by the example of the USA where a central authority is responsible, namely the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Ministry of the Interior. The problem in North America is comparable with Europe: Since the 1970's, populations of the Double-crested Cormorants of North America (Phalacrocorax auritus) have been increasing. Breeding and wintering areas are distributed over the entire continent and therefore over different Federal States. After an intensive consultation process, a management plan with over 200 pages was compiled in 2003, which is
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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