WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH)-- State environmental officials are concerned about the population of a certain type of turtle that's pretty common here in Connecticut. Snapping turtles are ending up on the dinner plate.
Turtle soup anyone? Apparently enough people enjoy snapping turtle meat, a delicacy in some cultures, that the state is concerned it could be a danger to the population here.
You can see their hooked beaks peak out of a Waterford pond. Below water are large snapping turtles some like Lucas Wenc try to avoid.
"It's pretty scary actually," said Wenc. When asked if he doesn't even go near them, he said,"oh, not really, no."
A delicacy which the DEEP feels could put the snappers in danger.
When asked if he ever would try a snapping turtle, Wenc said, "probably not."
Recently, one was spotted crossing a busy road in Voluntown, drivers using an ice scraper and a broom to help it get safely across the road.
While most people run away when they see a snapping turtle come out of the water, there are enough people who go after them to have the DEEP concerned about the population.
"We have had an upsurge in commercial harvest of snapping turtles in the state of Connecticut in the last three years," said William Hyatt, DEEP.
The state is proposing establishing a turtle hunting season from mid July to the end of September and limiting turtle hunters to 30 per year.
Conservation measures aimed at protecting the snapping turtles which can take 15 to 20 years to mature and reproduce.
"We suspect that prior to three years ago there were very very few harvest in the state. Now we're pretty sure that harvest is well over a thousand turtles a year," said Hyatt.
We're told the proposed rules and restrictions for turtle hunters are still in committee at the Capitol.
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