August 11, 2004


Remember Barbra Streisandís anti-Bush reworking of her magical hit song People? It expressed particular concern for fish:


Well, it turns out Bush isnít to blame. The real villain is the common cormorant. According to The Independent, just a single one of these ocean-harvesting slaughterbirds will scarf down 30,000 tons of fish a year Ė or, as Scott Burgess points out, more than 82 tons every day.

The fishes are dying in the world, people. And what is the UN doing about this cormorant-led speciescide? Absolutely nothing at all.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 11, 2004 10:57 AM

And then to cleanse its palate, the cormorant ravages Tokyo before getting in a death match with Gamera...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at August 11, 2004 at 11:52 AM

I don't like the sound of this : ``After its voracious appetite has been appeased, the cormorant appears moody and glum.''

Posted by: Ron Hardin at August 11, 2004 at 12:05 PM

That's actually the rarest and greediest member of the comorant family, the phillipsis adamsi crapalotus AKA the Gundy Grub Gobbler

Posted by: superboot at August 11, 2004 at 12:12 PM

That's a whole lot of fish.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 11, 2004 at 12:38 PM

82 tons a day? Cormorant isn't such a big bird, assuming it can swallow (with some effort) a 1kg fish it means it would have to catch and swallow a whole fish about every second. Assuming a steady state digesting the poor bird would also have to digest a whole fish every second. That's some performance, not to mention the resulting 82 tons of the final product. That's a whole lot of it.

Posted by: marek at August 11, 2004 at 12:58 PM

Say, has anybody ever seen Michael Moore and a cormorant in the same room?

(okay, that was cheap. I'm sorry)

(no, I'm not)

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 11, 2004 at 01:19 PM

It's a bird, it's a's obviously a misprint. Maybe the whole species combined eats 30,000 tons a year. If a single bird did that, the contrast between the efficiency of its food gathering and the inefficiency of its energy expenditure would generate a broken-symmetry induced rupture in space-time and this whole sad, sad world would disappear in a puff of ironically sweet chaos. Sweeter than chocolate, or even fish. Yum.

Posted by: Nathan at August 11, 2004 at 01:27 PM

That would mean each bird supplies 82 tons of bird crap a day! Holy flying shits, Batman! To the BatCave!

Posted by: Burton at August 11, 2004 at 01:34 PM

Not fair to say the U.N. are doing nothing.I'm sure there is some sub committee somewhere that is on top of this.Expect a preliminary disscussion paper to be release for discussion sometime,Mmmmm lets say after all fish are murdered,by vicious Cormorant.

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 11, 2004 at 01:35 PM

See UNSCAP Paper 04/SFX345, Draft Preliminary Report of the Working Group on Multinationals and Ecological Disasters in SE Asia, 1993-2003: "Capitalist Exploitation of Fish Resources and the Cormorant Problem: Towards a New Paradigm". Comments required by 1 January 2006.

Posted by: Freddyboy at August 11, 2004 at 01:52 PM

Gamera is Really neat
Gamera is good to eat
We're all eating Gamera!

MST3K lives! ;-)

Posted by: John Bono at August 11, 2004 at 01:56 PM

Several years ago here in upstate New York, we had a great cormorant massacre mystery.

Some fishermen took it upon themselves to slaughter some vast number of the birds to protect the fisheries.

Needless to say, the enviros, animal rights types, and the state Dept. of Conservation were up in arms, trying to track down the killers.

It was the lead story on the local NPR station for weeks. Drove me crazy.

I guess they eventually caught the guys and fined 'em. Too bad.

Posted by: JDB at August 11, 2004 at 01:58 PM

Perhaps the cormorants poop dark matter pellets like that little guy on Futurama. You would need a lot of fish to make a dark matter pellet.

Posted by: Brent at August 11, 2004 at 02:04 PM

Actually, cormorants don't crap. They convert the entire fish they don't digest to pure methane. Cormorants on afterburner have been clocked on radar at nearly .9 Mach at sea level...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at August 11, 2004 at 02:21 PM

I've seen these birds along the Charles River near Harvard Univeristy. And then there's this book.

Posted by: James A. Wolf at August 11, 2004 at 02:28 PM

Book URL=

Posted by: James A. Wolf at August 11, 2004 at 02:29 PM

If only Bush had picked up the cormorant presentation platter, instead.

Posted by: A bird in hand is worthless to Bush at August 11, 2004 at 03:26 PM

Damned Cormorants!

One of them dropped a bombload onto my pickup...squashed it like a bug

How the hell am I going to tell THIS to my insurance company?

Posted by: Pat at August 11, 2004 at 03:48 PM

A Q bird

Posted by: Le clerc at August 11, 2004 at 03:48 PM

For whatever hearsay is worth: my friends and relatives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula blame the cormorants (and their protected status) for bad fishing in recent years.

Posted by: Guy T. at August 12, 2004 at 12:33 AM

Here's something less hearsayish...

Cormorant plague!!!

Posted by: Guy T. at August 12, 2004 at 12:36 AM

I think we should all probably worry about what the cormorants are going to eat after they've scoured the oceans clean.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 12, 2004 at 01:34 AM

Pretty nearly everyone I know who works or has worked in UK journalism has been functionally innumerate.

Posted by: David Gillies at August 12, 2004 at 03:25 AM

Don't forget pelicans also, they gobble fish up to4/5lbs. Never leave a good fish in the open when pelicans are around, they snatch them when you're back is turned. Pelicans are not only fish thieves, they're bloody crims to boot.

I'm all for exterminating both cormorants and pelicans, they murder trout fingerlings in the thousands each year, the bastards.

Posted by: d at August 12, 2004 at 09:50 AM

Well, could we train the cormorants to eat terrorists? Or left leaning journalists?

But don't start with Margo -- they'll turn vegetarian.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 12, 2004 at 11:15 AM

Kill two birds wit one stone- get Mark Latham to shag a cormorant.

Posted by: Habib at August 12, 2004 at 11:36 AM

one of the funniest threads i've read in a while.

Posted by: Reid at August 12, 2004 at 02:22 PM

Mark Latham is known as the blue-eyed shag for obvious reasons.

Posted by: Freddyboy at August 12, 2004 at 06:03 PM

And don't forget the krill: whales are mass murderers of krill.

Krill are tiny, defenceless creatures who can't weild harpoons to defend themselves from those malevolent monsters. Take up your harpoons and save the krill, do it for the krill!

Posted by: d at August 13, 2004 at 12:25 PM