Regulation - LGIC

Proposal to establish a hunting season for double-crested cormorants in Ontario

Regulation Number(s):
Ontario Regulation 665/98 (Hunting)
Ontario Regulation 670/98 (Open Seasons)
Ontario Regulation 669/98 (Wildlife Schedules)
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act
Summary of Decision:
On July 30, 2020 amendments have been made to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 and supporting regulations (Ontario Regulation 665/98 (Hunting), Ontario Regulation 670/98 (Open Seasons) and Ontario Regulation 669/98 (Wildlife Schedules)) to create a hunting season for double-crested cormorants in Ontario.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
No regulatory impacts to business are expected from this proposal.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
November 20, 2018
Summary of Proposal:
Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) populations declined significantly in the Great Lakes from the 1950s to the 1970s primarily due to environmental contaminants affecting reproduction. Their numbers began to increase rapidly from the 1970s to the early 2000s, with the latest information indicating Great Lakes populations have since stabilized or declined slightly.

There continues to be concerns expressed by some groups (commercial fishing industry, property owners) and individuals that cormorants have been detrimental to fish populations, island forest habitats, other species and aesthetics.

To respond to these concerns, the Ministry is proposing to create a hunting season for double-crested cormorants in Ontario. This new population management tool would allow persons who hold a small game licence to hunt these birds.
The following regulatory changes are being proposed to create a hunting season for double-crested cormorants beginning in 2019:

1) List the double-crested cormorant as a "Game Bird". Hunters would be required to have an outdoors card and small game licence to hunt double-crested cormorants, similar to other species of game birds.

2) Create an open hunting season for double-crested cormorant from March 15 to December 31 each year across the province.

3) Create an exemption allowing small game licences to be valid for double-crested cormorant hunting in central and northern Ontario from June 16 to August 31 each year.

4) Establish a bag limit of 50 cormorants/day with no possession limit.

5) Prescribe shotgun and shot size/type requirements consistent with migratory bird hunting regulations outlined in the federal Migratory Birds Regulations. This would include use of shotguns that are not larger than 10 gauge, that cannot hold more than three shells and use non-toxic shot as described in the migratory bird regulations.

6) Allow hunting from a stationary motorboat.
Contact Address:
Public Input Coordinator
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Policy Division
Fish & Wildlife Policy Branch
300 Water Street
P.O. Box 7000
Peterborough, Ontario K9J 8M5
PHONE: (705) 755-1940
FAX (705) 755-2901
Effective Date:
September 15, 2020