US House committee talks cormorants in Alpena

Jun 11, 2018

Double-crested cormorant
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Some members of the U.S. House of Representatives are meeting in northern Michigan on Monday to discuss lethal control of a fish-eating bird. 

The federal government used to have a program to kill cormorants until a federal judge shut it down two years ago. The judge told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service it needed to prove that killing the birds was necessary to protect Great Lakes fish populations. 

Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) says that was a mistake.

“What we’re trying to do is see now after a few years the downstream effects, the negative effects, of that ruling and the growth of the cormorant population and increased destruction,” Bergman says. "So this hearing is related to unnecessary government overreach into areas that they didn’t understand yet made a decision on.”

Bergman has introduced a bill that would allow the killing of cormorants once again. 

“That bill basically just says, ‘hey, let us go back to the original way of allowing the state of Michigan to do the business as we were doing it before to keep the cormorants under control,’” Bergman says.

Opponents say blaming cormorants for changing fish populations is too simplistic. 

A U.S. House committee meeting will be held at Alpena Community College Monday afternoon.