State Begins Hazing of Waterbird on Oregon Coast to Protect Juvenile Salmon
Published 03/30/2017 at 6:53 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) recently announced it plans to conduct “hazing” of one species of bird along parts of the Oregon coast to protect juvenile salmon. This purposeful harassment is being done to increase survival of the fish as it is a primary prey of the double-crested cormorant. (Above: Tillamook Bay, where some of the hazing will take place).
This particular kind of cormorant is a fish-eating waterbird which has a large population throughout the state, and it is particularly prevalent is estuaries from April through October. Research indicates cormorants can consume significant numbers of juvenile salmon during this time period.
In order to reduce the threat to young fish, ODFW is partnering with several local government agencies and nonprofit groups to haze cormorants on six Oregon coast estuaries over the next few months.
To reduce the threat to young fish, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is working with several nonprofit and local governmental organizations to haze cormorants on six coastal estuaries over the next two to four months.
Hazing will continue through May 31 on the Nehalem, Nestucca (Pacific City), and Coquille river estuaries, and on Tillamook Bay and Waldport's Alsea Bay. The program will continue through at least July 31 on the lower Columbia River, where hazing will occur at a variety of locations, including Young’s Bay, Blind Slough, and Tongue Point.
Hazing will involve driving the birds from locations where juvenile salmon are seasonally concentrated, toward areas where non-salmon fish species are more abundant. Workers will use boats and, on some estuaries, small pyrotechnics, to accomplish the task.
ODFW said this form of 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 will conduct some hazing operations itself to protect hatchery releases on the lower Columbia River.
ODFW has coordinated the cormorant hazing project for the last eight years, although cormorant hazing in some form has occurred at some Oregon estuaries intermittently since 1988.
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