Arkansas fish farmers allowed to kill limited cormorants

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP)   Fish farmers in Arkansas now have federal permits that allow them to kill a limited number of double-crested cormorants as the birds flee the ice and snow of the Great Lakes area.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently resumed issuing such permits to operators and employees of fish farms in several states, including Arkansas. It set the total kill limit in the state at about 6,600 birds through April.

The department is issuing the permits under a new environmental assessment that weighs the bird's population count against the economic losses of fish farms and threats to public health and safety.

Cormorants are especially attracted to types of baitfish raised in large ponds in the South. Arkansas exports more than 6 billion baitfish a year.

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