Letter: Too many turrs falling prey to greed

Published on March 20, 2017

A plucked and an unplucked turr.

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 that what was once an essential and respectable hunt, especially for rural areas, has now become a needless, out-of-control slaughter guided only by greed and dollars. If the same degree of hunting pressure continues at the present rate of killing, then I feel that 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 that 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