Czechoslovakia is taking the cormorant off its list of specially protected species April 1 next year. Its environment minister Tomas Chalupa has signed a directive that will allow them to be shot if they cause damage. A statement said that the European cormorant population was not at an endangered level, and the Environment Ministry considered its current protection level unnecessary. “Cormorants will still be protected, as all birds in the Czech Republic and the whole European Union under the respective laws and directives, but they will not be included in the species most threatened with extinction,” Chalupa said. There’s a financial reason behind this. The state pays tens of millions of crowns a year to fishermen in compensation for the extensive damage they cause to fish populations and trees. After the new directive takes effect, the Czech state will no longer cover the damage that they cause. The bird was listed among specially protected species at the turn of the 1980s when their populations were very low. Cormorants only appeared in Czechoslovakia during their spring and autumn migration, and almost no cormorants nested there. Nowadays, about 600 nest in the Czech Republic, and thousands stop during their spring and autumn migration. Another 8000 to 10,000 cormorants annually winter there. Other European countries to regulate cormorant populations include Austria, Germany and Switzerland.