pe-hi-seagulls-wharf-4col

Left on their own, seagulls can quickly make a mess of the cruise ship wharf. (CBC)

The Charlottetown Harbour Authority has created a new position to keep the cruise ship wharf free of the mess left behind by seagulls.

The fall cruise ship season got started Wednesday with the arrival of Holland America's Maasdam. Officials say when those passengers disembark it's important they get a good first impression.

"The biggest issue is when they land on the deck, on the south berth as we call it, where cruise ships come in, and then passengers have to get off the ship, and basically walk through what they leave behind," said Charlottetown Harbour Authority CEO Les Parsons.

pe-si-lesparsons-summ

A person actively shooing seagulls off the wharf is the most effective control method, says Les Parsons. (CBC)

"If they have to walk out through an unsightly mess it doesn't do much for your port rating."

The authority has a number of tools it uses to keep the wharf clear of what can quickly become a carpet of bird droppings and feathers.

Noise blares from speakers mounted on a rooftop at the Charlottetown Harbour Authority. There are life-sized plastic owls, foxes, and alligator heads placed around the property. They've also tried using a falcon to intimidate the gulls.

But only one thing works in the long term, a person walking around the wharf at night, scaring the birds away.

pe-mi-fake-fox

Deterents such as this fake fox do not last for long. (CBC)

"There's no other effective way," said Parsons.

"Without the human presence of looking after it, then it can become a problem."

Parsons said other ports handle seagulls the same way.

Having a shooer on bird patrol nightly will cost between $2,000 and $3,000 this fall. Parsons said it's worth it to keep the wharf, and the approval rating from the cruise lines, clean.