Work Group 1: Ecological databases and analyses

Addressing the issue of the management of cormorant-fisheries conflicts requires consideration not merely of technical solutions (i.e. site-specific actions and mitigation measures) but also of the ecology of cormorants at the continental level, particularly their temporal and spatial status and distribution and choice of breeding roosting and foraging sites. Analysis of these data at the continental scale in relation to ecological characteristics (e.g. geographical, climatological, biological – size, nutrient status, fish communities etc) through a Geographic Information System will provide better understanding of current cormorant distribution across Europe and could also allow predictions of their future distribution.

Cormorant population models are required to predict both the ultimate size of the European cormorant population and the likely consequences of large-scale control activities. The predictive power of such models depends on the input of the most up to date information – both on bird status and distribution but also ecological habitat data. The data collected in WG1 on cormorant population status and distribution, and on the numbers of birds killed, provides just such input and should lead to improved predictive models. Importantly, this Work Group will also collate information on lethal actions carried out against cormorants and improve understanding of the migratory patterns of cormorants particularly during the winter.

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