Romanian opposition wants free hunting season on cormorants

At a time when the mountainous areas of Romania are struggling with a bear overpopulation that has led to the death of several people and many more injured, the former agriculture minister of the now opposition Social Democrat Party (PSD), Petre Daea, submitted an emergency draft to the Senate that would allow for the hunting of the currently protected great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo).

The draft already cleared the agricultural and water management committee of the Senate and will be submitted to a plenary session next week. The justification of the draft says that cormorants have proliferated and left their traditional habitat – the Danube Delta and the Romanian stretch of the Danube. But Senator Mihai Goțiu of the center-right Save Romania Union said on his Facebook page that their presence bothers the elite because the birds wander into their swimming pools.

Besides the purported invasion of zones outside their habitat, the draft also says that cormorants – prolific fishing birds – are responsible for “inducing stress in fish” and consequently limit weight gains at commercial fisheries. Cormorants, once ubiquitous along Europe’s rivers and lakes, have been hunted to near extinction and are a protected species in many European countries.

According to the draft, cormorant hunting would be allowed from September 1 to February 28. While ousted with a vote of no confidence in October, the PSD still has a majority in the Senate.

Title image: Great cormorant (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Author: Dénes Albert