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1 July 2022 Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in the Netherlands: Five Centuries of Protection Amidst Almost European-Wide Persecution
Jan H. de Rijk
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Abstract

Historical sources from European countries show that the persecution of Great Cormorants started centuries ago and was widespread. As an exception, in The Netherlands protective measures for Cormorants were declared from 1500 onwards. In this paper an explanation is given for this striking difference. In The Netherlands, Cormorants were game species and a food source. To make this use sustainable, Cormorants were protected. In other countries, Cormorants were neither considered to be a game species nor a source of food. On the contrary, in most countries Cormorants were seen as pest birds. They were persecuted to protect the pond culture of fish. In The Netherlands, however, this kind of pond culture was uncommon. Because of these differences with the rest of Europe, in The Netherlands the general opinion was more in favour of protection than of persecution. In consequence, the Dutch population of Cormorants was much larger than elsewhere in Europe. The survival of this Dutch population amidst the depleted populations in other countries was an important prerequisite for the increase of the European Cormorant population in the 20th century.

Jan H. de Rijk "Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in the Netherlands: Five Centuries of Protection Amidst Almost European-Wide Persecution," Ardea 109(3), 381-388, (1 July 2022). https://doi.org/10.5253/arde.v109i2.a10
Published: 1 July 2022
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
cormorants
exploitation
historical ecology
persecution
Phalacrocorax carbo
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