Too many turrs fall­ing prey to greed

The Beacon (Gander) - - Editorial -

Dear Editor,

An­other turr sea­son has ended, and it seems that there are a few left to breed. Once again, this sea­son has seen a flurry of ac­tiv­ity in Pla­cen­tia Bay, with thou­sands of turrs be­ing slaugh­tered by the same hunters who, it seems, can never get enough of these birds.

It’s a real shame to see what was once an es­sen­tial and re­spectable hunt, es­pe­cially for ru­ral ar­eas, has now be­come a need­less, outof-con­trol slaugh­ter, guided only by greed and dol­lars.

If the same de­gree of hunt­ing pres­sure con­tin­ues at the present rate of killing, the Pla­cen­tia Bay turr pop­u­la­tion will soon be in se­ri­ous trou­ble. There are too many boats and too many well-equipped hunters, whose only con­cern is to get that quota - or more - each trip with no con­cern for the pos­ses­sion limit of 40 birds, and cer­tainly no re­spect or con­cern for con­ser­va­tion of the re­source.

When greed and dol­lars com­bine as a driv­ing force, it makes for an un­healthy and dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion.

This year has its dis­turb­ing sto­ries of some greedy hunters tak­ing more than the le­gal limit of birds, or some com­ing in just to land their ini­tial quota and go out again for more.

One story is told of a cou­ple of boat own­ers trans­fer­ring their catch to a wait­ing truck just off the main high­way. And then there’s a story of one “con­ser­va­tion-minded” hunter proudly an­nounc­ing that he made $6,000 last year from the sale of turrs. And he should be proud? Won­der if it was de­clared on his in­come tax re­turn?

Re­mem­ber these are just sto­ries, but we are all aware that where there’s smoke...

Why do those same hunters re­turn ev­ery day when the weather al­lows (and on days when wind and sea make con­di­tions some­what un­pleas­ant for small boats), just to kill more birds?

What are they do­ing with all the birds they kill?

Do they need all these birds for food for the fam­ily?

While I leave it to the reader to pon­der the an­swers to the ques­tions, I look for­ward to changes in rules and reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing turr hunt­ing that will be much more re­stric­tive and more closely mon­i­tored by wildlife of­fi­cials from both lev­els of govern­ment.

I trust those in au­thor­ity will see the se­ri­ous­ness of this mat­ter, be­fore it’s too late, and take the nec­es­sary steps to pro­tect this valu­able his­toric and cul­tural re­source.

I call on all con­cerned cit­i­zens to get in­volved and do your part by re­port­ing any sus­pi­cious il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity to the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties or Crime Stop­pers. Re­mem­ber, this re­source be­longs to all of us, so we can’t let a few de­stroy it.

Don’t be mis­led by those who say there are plenty of turrs; they do not just reap­pear mag­i­cally.

Re­mem­ber what hap­pened with the cod in the late 1980s when fish­er­men were say­ing that the stocks were rapidly de­clin­ing, but they weren’t taken se­ri­ously? Fast for­ward to 1992.

Just re­mem­ber, one ma­ture fe­male cod lays a mil­lion eggs; one ma­ture fe­male turr lays one egg, and not all eggs hatch on the shiver of a cliff.

Wal­ter Par­sons Pla­cen­tia

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