Save a fish; kill a cormorant

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Forget purportedly disease-ridden pigeons or the supposedly overpopulous and dirty Canada Goose — a new feathered menace has taken the title of Most Hated Bird in the US, according to ALL OUTDOORS. Investigators are trying to discover who is behind a pair of recent massacres of hundreds of cormorants, fish-eating birds that are protected by federal law.

The likeliest suspects: irate fishermen. The cormorant population has exploded since the 1970s, thanks largely to decreasing levels of such toxic chemicals as DDT in US waters. As their numbers have grown, the birds have taken a heavy toll on fish populations — gobbling up about $20 million worth of farmed fish annually. “I don’t know how much more pressure the fish here can take,” says one Oregon fisherman.

Cormorants are now the top bird species for which hunting permits are requested. But killing one without a permit can carry a $5,000 fine and six months in jail. Potential solutions to the problem are instituting a “hunting season” for cormorants and oiling their eggs to limit reproduction. As of MoJo Wire press time, handing out “morning after” pills to female cormorants had not yet been formally considered.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.