The double-crested cormorant (cormorant, Nannopterum auritus) is a fish-eating migratory bird distributed across a large portion of North America. Pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), it is protected from take unless authorized by the Secretary of the Interior (16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) receives requests from federal, state, tribal, and private entities to lethally take cormorants to alleviate damage and conflicts associated with aquaculture and fishery resources, recreational and sport fisheries, property, natural resources, and threats to human health and safety. In addition, the Service receives requests to take cormorants for research purposes.

As part of ongoing efforts to address conflicts associated with double-crested cormorants, the Service promulgated a rule and completed an environmental review process pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended in 2020. On November 20, 2020, the Service announced the publication of the final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The FEIS was available for public review for 30 days. On December 22, 2020, the Record of Decision was signed, formally completing the NEPA process.

The final rule, published on December 29, 2020, establishes a new special double-crested cormorant permit under §21.123 in the Code of Federal Regulations. The rule took effect on February 12, 2021.

On July 10, 2021, the International Ornithological Conference (IOC) reclassified the genus Phalacrocorax to Nannopterum for three New World species formerly assigned to Phalacrocorax. Because of this change, the Service intends to adopt the current scientific name for the Double-crested Cormorant on the List of Birds Protected by the MBTA at 50 CFR 10.13 to reflect the current scientific name for that species (Nannopterum auritum). This action would be purely administrative and would not amend the purpose of, eligibility for, application procedures for, conditions of, or information collection requirements associated with the permit new special double-crested cormorant permit under §21.123.

In addition, the previous location of §21.123 in the Code of Federal Regulations at publication was CFR §21.28. On January 7, 2022, the Service promulgated an administrative rule that renumbered, renamed, and rearranged certain subparts and sections in our regulations. These changes will provide users a more organized road map of the Service's migratory bird and eagle permit processes and improve readability of the regulations.

If you are interested in obtaining a special double-crested cormorant permit, this website provides information and resources for that process. You can also find population monitoring updates and ongoing collaboration between the Service and our partners.

Double-crested Cormorant Update Webinars

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presented double-crested cormorant management and rulemaking updates during two 90-minute webinars in late February and early March 2021.

Double-crested Cormorant Update Webinar 1 - February 22
Double-crested Cormorant Update Webinar 2 - March 2