Federal Issue Brief

 HR 3074, Cormorant Management and Natural Resources Protection Act

AVMA Position:

No Action

Summary:

Introduced by Congressman John Kline (MD-2nd), H.R. 3074 amends the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to:
  • Delegate States the authorities of the Secretary of the Interior under that Act with respect to cormorants.
  • Direct that management plans for control of cormorant populations will be submitted to and approved by the Secretary of the Interior. 
  • Require the Secretary of the Interior, with the consultation of APHIS and the National Aquaculture Information Center (NAIC), to conduct educational and information activities for aquaculture facilities to help improve their efforts to prevent cormorant from consuming aquatic species raised in aquaculture facilities.

Background:

  • For a variety of reasons, including concentrated fish populations typical in aquaculture operations and migratory fish schools, cormorant populations have increased and have disrupted the ecological balance in some areas. 
  • Excessive cormorant populations can have a detrimental effect on fish populations and displace native species from their habitat. 
  • The US Fish and Wildlife service released a request for comments on November 8, 2011 to guide the preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment on the development of revised regulations governing the management of double-crested cormorants. (Docket #FWS-R9-MB-2011-033)

Justification:

  • The AVMA recognizes that cormorants are a migratory bird species which require population management in some states.
  • The MBTA already provides States with the authority to make and enforce their own laws consistent with the MBTA as well as laws that are more stringent. Considering this, the bill does not seem to advance cormorant population control by States and Territories.
  • Provisions in the bill regarding passive approval and requiring a 5-year review cycle of management plans seem to make the program less adaptable to changing needs. 
  • The AVMA supports the provision in the bill that would increase educational and informational activities coordinated between the Department of the Interior, USDA-APHIS, and the NAIC.

Current Status:

Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs, legislative hearing occurred on March 29, 2012.

AVMA Contact: 

Dr. Whitney Miller, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations Division, 202-289-3211.