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LETTER: Are we killing too many turres?

Gill-netted murres in the Labrador Sea.<br />— Submitted photo by Julianna Coffey
Turres caught in gill nets in the Labrador Sea. — Submitted photo by Julianna Coffey

The great auk and the Labrador duck are two species that became extinct during the mid to late 19th century, coinciding with the proliferation of European settlement along the North Atlantic coast. Their stories are pretty sad and I sometimes wonder if only someone had raised an alarm as their numbers declined they would be with us today.

The great auk was particularly vulnerable to extinction as it was flightless, and like today’s murres or turres, laid just a single egg. Speaking of turres, I began hunting them in a 29-foot trap skiff over 60 years ago with a single shot 12-gauge shotgun and have seen a lot of changes since that time that makes me a little concerned whether our turre colonies can withstand today's hunting pressure given the advances in technology. Having rules is one thing, but having no enforcement is quite another.


The great auk was particularly vulnerable to extinction as it was flightless, and like today’s murres or turres, laid just a single egg.


Personally speaking, in over 60 years hunting turres, I have yet to see an enforcement officer. The purpose of this post is to garner credible, indisputable information on the health of the colonies, as I would like our grandkids and generations for years to come to enjoy them, as we have been blessed to do.

I am making no assumptions, and hope that my concern is unwarranted, but I am quite aware that today's technology is far more advanced than the traditional rowboat and muzzle loader that our forefathers used to put meat on the table.

David Boyd
Main Tickle, Twillingate Island


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