In 2021, the Landes prefecture set the authorized shooting quota at 467 for the 2021-2022 wintering season, based on the national census of great cormorants, carried out by CNRS ecology researcher Loïc Marion. He estimated the maximum number of wintering great cormorants at 1,738, with the number of roosts increasing sharply from 22 to 55.
In February 2022, the same census shows a drop, with a maximum of 1,233 individuals for a number of dormitories reduced to 36. The prefectural decree for this wintering season has not yet been published. “A public consultation is underway, which will help determine whether any exemptions to the destruction bans are necessary. », Specifies the Landes prefecture.
“If I do nothing, in January I have no more fish”
In Cazères-sur-l’Adour in the Landes, at Alain Faget’s, the great cormorant remains the “pet peeve” of his fish farm. “When I started in the 1980s, there were none. Now, every year it gets worse and worse,” he says. The fish farm surrounding the family home includes 35 ponds. Fry, tench, carp, roach, perch and pike are bred naturally and sold “to individuals for their own ponds but above all to fishing companies that renew the fish populations in the lakes where their members fish”, explains the fish farmer.
For the past few years, every November, the professional has ensured that he has to change his mode of operation. “If I do nothing, two months later, in January, I have no more fish. In a so-called “experimental” pool, Alain Faget has installed strings that intersect 50 centimeters above the water. “I try to keep them from getting as close to my pools as possible, crossing the strings gets in the way of them getting to the fish. But they are very intelligent birds”, notes the fish farmer, pointing to the few strings torn
He who lives on the premises of his exploitation, can supervise his basins. “If we couldn’t scare the birds away, it would be a havoc. All my ponds would return a negative account, which would have serious financial consequences, confides the last pond fish farmer in the Landes. Especially since for them, a pond is an easy pantry, they don’t even need to dive deep since they have plenty of food available. »
The evolution of nesting
For Alain Faget, a new fear is looming. “Today, the problem is that the great cormorants nest in the surrounding trees instead of migrating. This year, I counted about twenty that nested in the trees of the field opposite, ”he explains.
A finding confirmed by the director of the Landes Fishing Federation, Vincent Renard. “For four years, the migratory aspect of the great cormorant, which preferred to nest in Scandinavia, has not been confirmed. It is a bird that stays more and more all year round in the department. For endemic species such as pike, if the cormorant continued to express itself so strongly, action would have to be taken, ”he believes.