Ecological Functions and Economic Value of the Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) in Los Olivitos Estuary, Venezuela

Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) Science Article 2

abstract

We determined the ecological function and economic value of a colony of piscivorous Neotropic Cormorants at the Los Olivitos Wildlife Refuge and Fisheries Reserve (WRFR), Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. Colony size increased from 17,000 to approximately 40,000 in two years. Lake Maracaibo supports one of the most productive artesinal fisheries in Venezuela and the cormorant colony comprises 2 km of coastal mangrove. Neotropic Cormorants and fishermen use the same area, but do they compete? What is the ecological role of the Neotropic Cormorant in that area? To study the economic value of Neotropic Cormorants, we established ecological functions in the area of interest. Where, how many and how much do they feed? An ecological study of abundance, distribution and diet of Neotropic Cormorants was undertaken from 1999 to 2001. Abundance and distribution was discerned from monthly censuses and dietary composition was obtained via stomach and pellet analysis.

Karine Gil de Weir, Enrique Weir, Clark Casler and Sara Aniyar, The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics

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