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State begins cormorant hazing program

Double-crested cormorants feast on juvenile salmon throughout summer. (ODFW)
Friday, April 6, 2018

Harassment, or “hazing,” of double-crested cormorants begins soon in several areas along the Oregon Coast in hopes of improving survival of juvenile salmon.

Double-crested cormorants are fish-eating water birds found throughout the state. The species is an Oregon native, and is particularly prevalent on the state’s estuaries from April through October. Research indicates cormorants can consume significant numbers of juvenile salmon during this time.

Hazing workers in this area are being provided by the Clatsop County Fisheries Project.

Hazing will take place at a variety of locations on the Columbia River, including Youngs Bay, Blind Slough and Tongue Point.

Hazing involves driving the birds from locations where juvenile salmon are seasonally concentrated toward areas where other fish species are more abundant. Workers will use boats and, on some estuaries, small pyrotechnics, to accomplish the task.

Hazing is intended to increase the survival of both wild-spawned and hatchery salmon juveniles as they migrate to the ocean. Some of these spring migrants represent species that are experiencing conditions of conservation risk, including coho salmon, which is federally threatened in Oregon under the Endangered Species Act.

Hazing workers are being provided by the Clatsop County Fisheries Project, Port of Nehalem, Port of Bandon, North Coast Salmon and Steelhead Enhancement Fund, and Alsea Sportsmen’s Association. ODFW will provide a portion of the funding and program oversight, and may conduct some hazing operations itself to protect hatchery releases on the lower Columbia River and other locations.

ODFW has coordinated the cormorant hazing project for the last 9 years, although cormorant hazing in some form has occurred at some Oregon estuaries intermittently since 1988.

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