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Court finds permits to oil cormorant eggs illegal

Cormorants.
Cormorants. Source: Maris Sepp

Tallinn Administrative Court has upheld a claim by the Estonian Ornithological Society and found the Environment Board was in violation of the law in oiling cormorant eggs this spring.

The board greenlit the oiling of the eggs on 12 islets ten of which are located in protected zones back on March 31.

The court found that relevant orders failed to produce evidence of serious damage to fish stocks, fish eggs or fish farms in the area. According to the court, the Environment Board based its decision on an activity plan from 2008 which was in turn based on outdated information.

The ruling found that the mere fact cormorants eat a lot of fish is not enough to establish serious damage done to fisheries.

The agency's orders were found to be illegal because it had failed to establish grounds for an exception to nature conservation laws, including by not collecting sufficient data.

The court ordered the Environment Board to cover €100 of the Estonian Ornithological Society's legal costs.

The board has a month in which to appeal the ruling.

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Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi, Marcus Turovski

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