Save a fish; kill a cormorant

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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.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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