Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Ministry removes cormorants from extra protected species

ČTK |
22 November 2012

Prague, Nov 21 (CTK) - Czech Environment Minister Tomas Chalupa has signed a directive to delete the Cormorant Great from the list of specially protected species as from April 1, 2013 and enable their easier shooting if they cause damage, Environment Ministry spokesman Matyas Vitik told CTK Wednesday.

Cormorants annually cause extensive damage to the fish population and trees in the country. Fishermen consider them varmints.

The cormorant population in Europe is not so low and this is why the Environment Ministry considers its current protection level redundant, Vitik added.

"The deletion from the list of specially protected species does not mean that the Great Cormorant will not be protected any more. Cormorants will be protected as all birds in the Czech Republic and the whole European Union under the respective laws and directives, but they will not be included it the list of the species that are the most threatened with extinction," Chalupa (Civic Democrats, ODS) said in his press release.

After the new directive takes effect, the Czech state will no longer cover the damage cormorants cause, for instance, to fisheries.

The state pays tens of millions of crowns a year to fishermen in compensation.

Experts listed the cormorant among the specially protected species at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s since their population on Czech territory was rare. Cormorants appeared only during their spring and autumn migration and almost no cormorant couple was nesting there.

However, the situation has changed since then.

Nowadays, some 300 cormorant couples are nesting in the Czech Republic, and thousands of cormorants temporarily stay in the country during their spring and autumn migration. Another 8000 to 10,000 cormorants annually winter in the Czech Republic.

According to Chalupa, these numbers "have a fatal impact not only on the fish population in Czech rivers and ponds but also on trees" that cormorant droppings damage.

The UNESCO-listed Lednice-Valtice complex, south Moravia, for instance, face immense problems with flock of cormorants.

The Czech Fishing Union previously proposed that the cormorant be deleted from the list of endangered animals. The organisation says cormorants annually cause damage worth some 80 million crowns.

The cormorant population has long been regulated in the neighbouring Austria and Germany as well as in Switzerland.

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