Frustrated residents in the Twillingate area packed a public meeting on Thursday night to sign a petition and call for a permanent solution to a sunken ship's leaking oil, which they say is threatening both the ecology and the economy.

Liberal MP Scott Simms, who represents the area in the House of Commons, organized the meeting as the last in a series on the state of the Manolis L.

The newsprint carrier sunk off Change Islands in 1985, and went down with more than 400 tonnes of fuel.

Scott Simms at Twillingate meeting

Liberal MP Scott Simms is collecting signatures on a petition calling for greater federal government action on the Manolis L oil leaks. (CBC)

The Canadian Coast Guard is installing a special plug to cap the leak, but no one who attended a meeting Thursday night at the local Lions Club believes the action will solve the problem.

Oily seabirds have been spotted for months along the area's coastlines, despite successive attempts to stop the leaks from the Manolis L.

Residents, tourism operators and hunters all worry what more spilled oil could do to the northeast coast.

"I'm after shooting oiled birds, bringing in oiled birds — it's a crime," said duck hunter Cyril Gidge.

"Not only ducks have oil on them. We've seen seagulls this past summer [and] gannet." Gidge added that other hunters have reported seeing oil-contaminated seals. 

"Something needs to be done," he said.

Wavey Cutler, who owns a bed and breakfast, said the environmental impacts could hurt tourism operations like hers.

"It's crucial to my business, as a tourism operator, and there are many, many, many tourism operators in this area that depend on the income from this business," Cutler said in an interview.

"People want to see the whales, they want to go out in the boat and enjoy the ocean. An iceberg is not going to be very pretty with Bunker C wrapped around it, you know?"

Simms collected signatures for his petition, which calls on the federal government to remove all of the remaining oil from the wreck of the Manolis L.