Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, J. Brian

Committee Member

Dorr, Brian

Committee Member

Allen, Peter J.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) impact United States commercial aquaculture and are considered the greatest avian predators on catfish (Ictalurus spp.) aquaculture facilities in the Mississippi Delta. Recent changes in aquaculture practices, regulatory policies, and decreased overall hectares in production prompted this study that: 1) estimated abundance and distribution of cormorants at their night roosts using aerial surveys, 2) assessed cormorant consumption of catfish in relation to their night roost through cormorant collections and stomach contents analysis, and 3) updated a cormorant bioenergetics model with contemporary data to estimate catfish loss. Models estimated that 4.2 and 5 million cormorant forage days occurred during winters 2016-2018 with an average of 33% of their diet consisting of catfish, or 558.1 and 739.5 metric tons of catfish consumed by cormorants in winters 2016-2018. These results will inform wildlife managers about relationships between cormorant night roost locations and disproportionate consumption of catfish.



Double-crested Cormorant||Cormorant||Aquaculture||Catfish||Depredation||Human/wildlife conflict