Cotton, Boozman, Hyde-Smith, Tuberville Introduces Bill to Allow Fish Farmers to Protect Ponds from Predatory Birds

Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) introduced the Cormorant Relief Act, legislation that would fully restore the ability of catfish farmers and other aquaculture producers to cull predatory double-crested cormorant populations. The legislation (S.1050) would restore U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations to allow producers to fight the cormorants, which threaten the livelihoods of aquaculture operations in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and other states.

“Double-crested cormorants pose a significant threat to Arkansas’s fish farmers, but unnecessary regulation currently prevents them from taking additional steps to protect their ponds. Our bill would once again give fish farmers the ability to adequately defend their fish populations from the birds that are eating into their bottom line,” said Cotton.

“Arkansas’s aquaculture industry deserves protection from avian predators as well as regulatory burdens that harm their livelihoods. Fish farms lose millions of dollars each year as a result of cormorant predation, and it’s time to ensure they can combat this threat sufficiently. I’m proud to join my colleagues to give Arkansas’s fish farmers the tools to safeguard against this costly menace,” said Boozman.

“Bird predation costs producers millions of dollars every year. More must be done to give catfish growers and other aquaculture producers greater flexibility to undertake responsible management activities to control cormorant populations. This legislation would allow producers to stem losses associated with these birds,” said Hyde-Smith.

“Cormorants are a major source of frustration for Alabama catfish producers, impacting both their fish population and income,” said Tuberville. “Catfish farmers should have the ability to address the damage these predators cause without federal regulations tying their hands and limiting what they can do to protect their business. I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting our catfish farmers against this predatory bird.”