§ Lord Rotherwick
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Whitty on 24 March (WA 103–04), what was the estimated number of cormorants wintering on United Kingdom fisheries (a) five years ago; and (b) last year; and how many culling licences have been granted in the last calendar year. [HL2691]
§ Lord Whitty
The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is the scheme which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution and to identify important sites for waterbirds. The scheme is run jointly by the British Trust for Ornithology, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
The most recent estimate of population size in Great Britain in the non-breeding season is 23,000 individuals (using data for the period 1994–95—1998–99). The index of population trend indicates that numbers in winter 2000–01 were slightly lower than in the mid 1990s. It is not possible to determine what proportion of the British wintering population of cormorants occurs on fisheries.
The annual review of licensed shooting for cormorants for the winter period 2002–03 can be viewed at www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/vertebrates/Reports.htm
During this period Defra issued 119 licences to allow 603 cormorants to be shot as an aid to scaring. The number of cormorants actually reported to have been shot was 284.