03/22/2016 13:50 EDT | Updated 03/23/2017 01:12 EDT

Shot seabirds tossed like garbage a sad sign of lax enforcement: biologist

CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, N.L. — Dozens of shot seabirds were found tossed like garbage on a Newfoundland beach, prompting calls for a crackdown on the province's unique murres hunt.

Tom Humphries of Conception Bay South near St. John's says he was disgusted to find a black bag full of about 50 carcasses during a walk.

He notified biologist Bill Montevecchi, a seabird specialist at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Montevecchi says the traditional hunt for murres was a vital source of winter meat that was protected when the province joined Canada in 1949.

But he says the wasted birds are a sign that rules -- such as possession limits of 40 birds at a time -- are not being followed.

Hunters must have permits and follow seasonal rules overseen by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The Canadian Press