Thursday, November 13, 2003
From the "Damned if you do...: damned if you don't" news category, it appears that officials in Germany are in a quandry. A bird that was near extinction just two decades ago is doing fine now, thank you, with more than 6,000 cormorants in the wild. The problem? Well, the cormorants are eating endangered fish.
"About 90 percent of river fish are now under massive threat from the birds," said Oliver Born, an official from the Bavarian state fisheries union. "There are some rivers where we have shown that when Cormorants come, 95 percent of the fish disappear by the end of the winter."
But some say the government action is misguided.
"Their plan will not get us anywhere," said Andreas von Lindeiner of the Bavarian bird protection group. "We cannot destroy the bird colonies," he said.
Fishermen at Bavaria's Chiemsee lake, one of Germany's largest, say the birds are eating into their business.
The fish are reared in commercial fisheries that may look like all-you-can-eat buffets to cormorants because large numbers of fish are gathered in small areas of shallow water.
"My fishery loses some 40 tons of fish a year to the cormorants," said Holmer Lex, 75, who owns a fishery on the Chiemsee. "We only produce 90 tons a year."
Solution: Eat some of the birds. Mmmmm...tastes like chicken.