Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick recently wrote a letter to the United States Fish and Wildlife Services about the submission of comments on issuing migratory bird permits for the management of Double-Crested Cormorants throughout the United States.

The letter states that the comments submitted will mostly address issues in Mississippi, namely issues concerning the catfish industry.

“In our efforts to prepare these comments, we reviewed the transcript from a previous scoping
meeting held in Jackson, Mississippi in May of 2003,” the letter states. “Twenty years later, the concerns then are very much the same concerns we have today. The ever-increasing number of cormorants
depredating on catfish is a major concern of the catfish industry. Producers are spending
thousands of dollars using non-lethal harassment methods to try to save their stock. According to recent studies by the Southern Region Aquaculture Center, catfish producers spent between $159 and $285/acre to harass DCC from their ponds. In Mississippi alone, this amounts to between $5.7 and $10.3 million. Cormorants have become increasingly non-respondent to non-lethal techniques and often act as live decoys for migrating cormorants.”

“MFBF understands individual farm depredation permits alone are not sufficient to mitigate damage from DCC,” the letter continues. “We encourage USFWS and USDA APHIS to utilize all techniques at their disposal to manage DCC populations on public grounds and nesting sites. It is evident the increasing population of DCC is having a negative impact on the baitfish in oxbow lakes, state lakes, and locally or community owned ponds and lakes. These impacts should also be included in the analysis of the need for restoring the depredation orders for DCC. We appreciate USFWS addressing the deficiencies identified by the District Court. While we disagree with the Court’s decision, we support the efforts of the agency to conduct the environmental and ecological risk assessments necessary to sustain a legally defensible depredation program.”

To view the entire letter, click here.