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Is it fair to kill 10,000 birds to keep our delicious salmon safe?

Is it alright for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to kill 10,000 double-crested cormorants as a means to preserve a salmon population humans will harvest themselves? (AP photo)

Don’t come between the people of the Pacific Northwest and their salmon. The double-crested cormorant may soon find out why.

A judge has decided not to block the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to take out 10,000 of the seabird species in the Columbia River estuary.

Why all the ire for these birds? Essentially they’re capable of killing and eating millions of baby salmon, which would put a noticeable dent in the supply for fishing and human consumption.

KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson, who enjoyed observing the cormorants when he had a house on the Columbia, doesn’t like the plan.

“Isn’t this part of our ecosystem? I feel bad for these birds,” Monson said. “What they’re saying is it’s more important that we humans get to kill the salmon. We have to save the salmon so we can kill them, and as a result we gotta kill the birds that would otherwise eat the salmon.

“Is it OK to shoot 10,000 of them just to save the salmon so that we can kill the salmon?”

It’s a perplexing question. In the end, the salmon will be eaten, whether it’s by birds or humans. Should the birds be taken out of the equation to ensure humans can continue their usual consumption of the tasty fish?

While the plan is in place, at least for now the eradication of the double-crested cormorants isn’t a done deal.

“Conservation groups signed a preliminary injunction. They say dams kill more salmon than the double-crested cormorant,” Monson said.

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