Bill introduced to control cormorants

Published February 1, 2000

Congressmen John McHugh (R-New York) and Collin Peterson (DFL-Minnesota) introduced a bill on October 20 authorizing states to establish hunting seasons for double-crested cormorants. H.R. 3118 has been referred to the House Resources Committee.

The bill “directs the Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that authorize States to establish hunting seasons for double-crested cormorants.” The regulation would:

  • Permit the taking by an individual of 10 double-crested cormorants during each day of a hunting season;
  • Permit an individual to have in his possession 20 cormorants legally taken in a hunting season;
  • Require that the dates of any hunting season established under the regulations in a State correspond generally with other waterfowl hunting seasons in that State; and
  • Authorize a hunting season established under the regulations to begin at any time after the date of the issuance of the regulations.

“[The Fish and Wildlife Service’s] failure to adequately address the cormorant crisis in the eastern Lake Ontario basin has been one of the most frustrating experiences I have encountered since coming to Congress in 1993,” said McHugh. “Despite the years of studies and stalling, they have completely failed to meet their responsibility to design and implement an effective cormorant management strategy.”

“In the face of FWS continued refusal to help us address the grave threat posed by these birds,” McHugh continued, “I have introduced cormorant hunting legislation. In addition, I am writing separate legislation amending the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to enable the Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations authorizing the Fish and Wildlife Service to take action when cormorants pose a public nuisance and/or deplete natural resources.

The Congressman offered a challenge to all sportsmen: “Concerned Citizens for Cormorant Control can be of invaluable assistance to our efforts. Contact your fellow sportsmen, fishing, and hunting groups throughout the nation and ask them to join us in this battle. Urge them to contact their own Congressmen and Senators and ask them to cosponsor my legislation.”

McHugh represents the 24th District of New York, which includes Jefferson County and the eastern islands of Lake Ontario. Those islands—including Little Galloo—contain some of the largest populations of cormorants on the North American continent. Peterson represents the 7th District of Minnesota, also affected by cormorants.

To comment on H.R.3118, contact the House Resources Committee: [email protected], phone 202/225-7749, fax 202/226-4631. To contact your own congressmen, go to and click on “Member Offices” or “House Directory.” The U.S. Senate information is at then click on your state.

Reprinted with permission from the December 6, 1999 issue of the Great Lakes Basin Report..