MEPs have approved a recommendation calling for a Europe wide ‘management plan’ for cormorants following a meeting in Strasbourg with the European Anglers Alliance (EAA), a body which claims to represent 18 million anglers across the continent.

The recommendation included a proposal to add the bird to the Iist of the ‘huntable species’. While a long way from coming into force, the move is seen as an important step forward and the recommendation will now be passed to the European Commission.

At the meeting of the European Parliament Intergroup on Fieldsports, Fishing and Conservation, Austrian Dr Franz Kohl spoke on behalf of the EAA about the the impact of cormorants. He drew attention to scientific studies conducted throughout Europe which showed that the numbers of cormorants have increased dramatically over the last 20 years and have yet to stablilise. Also speaking on behalf of fisheries were Dr D Carss (Scotland) and Professor J Jouglar (France).

Dr Kohl emphasised the scientific evidence of serious damage to freshwater stocks the bird can and has caused in many European countries. All three speakers suggested the need for action across Europe now.

Following many interventions, the chairman of the meeting, French MEP J Bernie, put forward a recommendation for action on cormorants to be signed by the attending members of parliament.

It stressed the need for a pan European ‘management plan’ and urged the commission to present a proposal to add two species of cormorant to the list of huntable bird species. Currently all cormorants are protected by law under the 1979 Birds Directive.

The recommendation was approved and will now be passed to the European Commission.

The European Anglers Alliance is directed by a committee under the presidence of Harm Minekus (Netherlands), treasurer: Lars Gruber (Sweden); executive vice president: Bernard Breton (France);
Members: Espen Farstadt (Norway), Chris Poupard (Great Britain), Ferenc Szalay (Hungary) and Kurt Meyer (Switzerland).
General Secretary: Jan Kappel:
Member countries: France, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium (Walloon), The Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Macedonia.