I’ve posted twice already today, but I couldn’t pass up this piece when it came across on Twitter.
When I was growing up in coastal Maine fishermen claimed specific coves to fish pogey (menhaden?). They would come in on a late night high tide and encircle a school in a purse seine. A drawstring closed the bottom trapping the fish. Later, often in the daylight, a boat would come alongside the anchored seine remove the fish with smaller nets.
Waterfowl, particularly double crested cormorants (locally known as shags or coots), and seals would visit these nets and eat their fill. It was not unusual for fishermen to shoot a few birds and leave them floating in the nets to warn away other thieves. Seals were never shot, in my experience, as the penalties for injuring (or even touching) seals was well known. I often wondered how they got away with shooting birds.
Twenty-five years later I have a bit of a response.
From 10,000 Birds:
Owning A Fish Farm Does Not Mean You Can Kill Birds
This is the lesson that Seaside Aquaculture owner Khan Vu has hopefully learned after being charged, found guilty, and sentenced under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Both Vu and the company were ordered to pay $40,000 to the Texas Park and Wildlife Foundation and a $5,000 fine and put on eighteen months probation after being found guilty in federal court.
There’s another, more personal, chapter to my cormorant and the fishermen story. I’ll share that, some other time.