Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Translocate birds away from fish farms Bird Conservation

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

A study from the USA cited in a review found that translocating birds away from a fish farm appeared to reduce the number of birds at the farm. A study from Belgium found that translocating herons did not seem to be an effective way to reduce bird numbers at fish farms.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A study cited in Mott 1978, effectively reduced a population of green herons Butorides virescens feeding at a fish hatchery in USA, by catching and releasing them 40 km away. No details are given regards the time period over which the reduced population level was maintained or the effort needed to catch the birds. The effects on fish farm productivity were not measured.



A study in Belgium found that capturing grey herons Ardea cinerea (using clap nets) at a fish farm and releasing them at various distances away (Van Vessem et al. 1985) did not appear to reduce heron abundance. Catching herons was very time-consuming (a maximum of four, but usually 1-2 caught each day). Some birds released 30 to 80 km returned within a month; one released 150 km away reappeared the following winter. Numbers relocated were too low to reduce heron abundance and relocation was considered ineffective.


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.