Today, Congressman Michael Guest (MS-03) applauded a recent announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of a proposed rule that would establish new permits for the control of double-breasted cormorants by state and tribal wildlife agencies.

“This proposed rule will provide much-needed flexibility to our fish industry in Mississippi. I am pleased that the Fish and Wildlife Service has taken into consideration the problems that cormorants create for Mississippi farmers and has proposed new rules to address these concerns,” Guest said.

According to the FWS press release, “The rule proposes to establish a new special permit for state and federally recognized tribal wildlife agencies to undertake additional cormorant control activities when permissible. States and tribes must first attempt control using nonlethal methods and determine that those methods are ineffective before resorting to lethal control. The activities allowed under the special permit would include controlling cormorants to help reduce conflicts with wild and publicly stocked fisheries on state or tribal-owned lands. In addition, states will have additional flexibility to manage cormorants at state or tribal-owned hatcheries and release sites.”

The press release continues, “Under this new proposal, a new special permit for interested states and tribes would complement existing measures to address conflicts with cormorants to protect human health and safety, personal property and threatened and endangered species.”

Congressman Guest has been an advocate for providing aquaculturalists with additional control measures to manage problematic cormorants. In a press release by the FWS earlier this year, Congressman Guest was quoted as saying:

“I am pleased with the efforts and action by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase the allowable take of double-crested cormorants. This is a necessary step to mitigate more than $25 million in annual damages to the catfish and aquaculture industry.” I’m supportive of this proposed rule, which will have a positive impact on Mississippi’s catfish industry, and I will continue to work with FWS to promote Mississippi’s aquaculture needs.”

For more information, please see the following press releases:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Rule on Cormorant Management (June 5th, 2020)

Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service Solicits Public Input on Cormorant Management (January 21st, 2020)

Press Release

6/9/2020