Draconian bill could send Ontario’s cormorants
back to the brink of extinction – ACT NOW!
KILL BILL 205, NOT CORMORANTS
On May 18, 2016, Ontario MPP Robert Bailey (PC) introduced Private Member’s Bill 205, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Act (Double-crested Cormorants) 2016 that, if passed, would allow the uncontrolled hunting Double-crested cormorants across the province by anyone at any time.
Bill 205 is not based on science, but instead seems to be based on myths and misunderstanding. It will set the stage for the wholesale slaughter of cormorants across the province and drive them back to near oblivion.
Bill 205 passed quickly through second reading and has been referred to the Standing Committee on Legislative Assembly. The Bill must be stopped in its tracks and should not be called for consideration and debate by the Committee.
Remarkably, while the regressive Bill 205 sits active in the process, a US federal court just ended cormorant culling in 24 eastern US states saying that there was little scientific basis for it.
For more than a decade, Animal Alliance of Canada, Zoocheck, Earthroots and other groups have been working to protect cormorants. But anti-cormorant forces have scapegoated them for almost everything, including polluting the water, destroying the environment, killing the trees, eating all the fish, spreading disease, chasing away other colonial waterbirds, negatively impacting endangered snakes, reducing habitat for butterflies and more. If the anti-cormorant types were to be believed, you’d think cormorants were a black plague decimating everything in their path. But it’s largely nonsense.
Here are the facts about cormorants
- Cormorants are native to the Great Lakes Basin and an integral component of its natural ecosystems.
- Cormorants eat fish but there is no scientific evidence supporting the suggestion that cormorants have significant negative impacts on the fish caught by commercial fishermen or recreational anglers.
- Cormorants are primary predators of invasive fish species, such as round gobies and alewives.
- Fish populations can be healthier and more robust in areas where there are lots of cormorants.
- There are no species of native fish that are threatened with being wiped out be cormorants.
- Cormorants co-evolved with fish over tens of millions of years and there is no record of any species of cormorant anywhere ever wiping out even a single fish species.
- Cormorant guano can kill trees, but the number of trees killed by cormorant guano is tiny.
- The death of some trees is a part of a natural process of succession that occurs in colonial waterbird colonies all over the world.
- Cormorants enhance species biodiversity and other waterbirds, including herons, egrets, pelicans and gulls, live side by side or in close proximity to them.
- Cormorant colonies use less than 1% of the total Great Lakes island area.
- There are only a few sizeable cormorant colonies in the entire Great Lakes Basin.
- Cormorants are very vulnerable to hunting and harassment.
- Cormorant numbers have leveled off and seem to be dropping in some areas.
Irrational hatred of cormorants runs deep and special interest groups would like nothing more than to see Bill 205 passed. But myths and misconceptions should not be the basis for even a single wildlife policy or law, especially when it facilitates the needless and ongoing destruction of tens of thousands of lives. And Bill 205 is completely unnecessary as the Act it proposes to amend already contains provisions to protect property.
TAKE ACTION TODAY TO STOP BILL 205!
IF YOU ARE AN ONTARIO RESIDENT
Contact your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) and tell them you strongly oppose Bill 205. Urge them to do everything in their power to make sure the Bill is stopped dead in its tracks. To see a sample letter please click here.
1. If you know who your MPP is but need their contact information, click here.
2. If you don’t know who your MPP is, you can look up your electoral district by postal code by clicking here <https://www3.elections.on.ca/internetapp/fyed.aspx>. Once you know your district, just click here to find out who your representative is and how to contact them.
3. Please copy your email to Premier Kathleen Wynne at email@example.com and Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. If you need assistance finding contact information for your MPP, call Animal Alliance of Canada (416) 462-9541.
IF YOU ARE NOT AN ONTARIO RESIDENT
Send an email or letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne at email@example.com and Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By post send to Premier and Minister at Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario, M7A 1A2.