The Federal Environment Office has eased protection of the cormorant, the mid-sized bird that has been accused of plundering the catches of Swiss fishermen.
Cantons will be given greater freedom to control their cormorant populations and some unhatched eggs may now be destroyed.
The authorities said they had made the decision in consultation with all stakeholders, but the organisation BirdLife Switzerland argued that its concerns were ignored.
It said valuable bird protection areas would now be threatened.
The cormorant – which feasts on only fish and small eels – has been breaking nets in search of food. As a result, fishermen have racked up considerable losses – SFr200,000 ($182,000) around Lake Neuchâtel alone – due to the thefts.
The environment office says that there are now 350 breeding pairs in seven colonies with most – 250 pairs – counted around Lake Neuchâtel in western Switzerland.
In compliance with the JTI standards