Cormorant Harassment?

I am generally a catch and release fisherman. The local Florida comorants have made it nearly impossible to release trout without sacrificing at least a few. IF I were to "disperse" the comorants using a slingshot and some paintballs, what laws would I be breaking?? :nono I don't want to run afoul of the law, but there must be a solution to those "blue-eyed devils".


  • IdlewildeIdlewilde Posts: 1,357 Officer
    Don't forget - the cormorants were here before you were. :full
  • Sopchoppy RedneckSopchoppy Redneck Posts: 1,421 Officer
    In Asia, the cormorants were used by fishermen to catch fish. They would tie a string around the bird's neck, so the fish swallowed would not go into the stomach, but back out of their mouths, into the boats after they surfaced. It is an amazing technique, and has been well-documented in various mediums. To westerners, this form of fishing may sound odd, but wild birds have been used for centuries for various tasks, including passing along messages.

    Catch one and go fishin with it :-)
  • NOAA-EnforcementNOAA-Enforcement Posts: 202 Moderator
    I don't work birds but if I'm not mistaken they are protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    My purpose on this site is to help everyone understand Federal Fishery Regulations and to provide information. Working with the Florida Sportsman is a collateral (volunteer) duty I asked for and enjoy; I will only give you an answer that I’m willing to put my name on and stand behind. Sometimes that means checking with other agents/offices in the area of concern.
    Please Stay Safe And Have A Wonderful Day.
    Special Agent Allan Coker
    NOAA's Office For Fishery Law Enforcement
  • stsimonsstsimons Posts: 7,292 Admiral
    years and years and years ago in a different state we used to chase them on jet skis for fun...
  • Team SabatageTeam Sabatage Posts: 12,898 AG
    They are becoming a nationwide problem.
    Are they legal to shoot during waterfowl season.
    Strap me in, tie me down and roll me a bone, I'm getting on an airplane and I'm flying home...
    You can not shoot them, without permission from the authorities. I'm still waiting on a response from the Wildlife department as to whether a person can "disperse" them with other than lethal means.
  • Egreen cobraEgreen cobra Posts: 230 Deckhand
    They're protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (as are all but about 3 common birds in the US). USFW and FWC enforce it. Typically harassment, and molesting are specifically mentioned in prohibited acts of protected species. If not, the definitions of "take" and "attempted take" are broad enough to cover shooting paintballs from a sling shot at them. The rule is a LONG read, take a look at it and decide for yourself.
    I've read the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. I think it becomes a question of semantics("take",molesting,etc.). I'm still waiting on a response from the USFW. A lot of undersized trout(and some legal) are being eaten by these "blue-eyed devils" when I try to return them. I suppose it could be determined that I was actually "feeding" the comorants. Could that get me in trouble with the law?
  • Egreen cobraEgreen cobra Posts: 230 Deckhand
    They try to eliminate the semantics parts by defining the terms. It probably just further muddies the issue.

    I suppose if the area has a local ordinance against feeding wildlife, and the man had it out for you, they could write you. Statewise off the top of my head, only bears, coons, foxes, pelicans and sandhill cranes are specifically mentioned in the do not feed category.

    There's supposed to be a bit of common sense/discretion involved here. You're attempting in good faith to release a non-legal fish. If the bird gets it, it's out of your hands. Just like when the dolphins are doing the same with snook, and the sharks are grabbing tarpon. I understand your concerns, about the nuisance the birds create (much like Flipper) but it is what it is, unfortunately, for the trout.
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