Letter - Urging Action on Seal Population Control

from County Commissioner Ron Beaty

Editor:

With the year 2020, we are now at the dawn of  new decade, however, because of our ongoing menacing great white shark problem  and the seal overpopulation dilemma, Cape Cod continues to be in an ecological, public safety and economic crisis.

The exploding seal population is a consequence of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, which allowed for the rapidly growing seal overpopulation. Seals attract great white sharks, which feed upon them and ferociously attack humans.

We once had a thriving fishing industry, kept healthy in part by a bounty system of predator control. That ended in 1972 with the passage of the protection act, which not only lifted the bounties on fish-eating predators like seals, but placed them under perpetual protection, immune from mitigation.

Now fully recovered, the seal population has grown beyond what any reasonable person would consider healthy. We are in a twilight zone of regulatory madness that endangers public safety, threatens our regional tourism economy and depletes fish stocks.

As I have emphatically stated in the past, the legislation is fatally flawed, as it fails to address what ensues after a marine mammal population recovers. It fails to provide for delisting or managing recovered species.

Once again, I repeat that it must be amended so the unhealthy seal population can be culled, thereby solving our multidimensional shark and seal problem.

Cape Cod voters, taxpayers, residents as well as other interested parties need to start a formal petition to their respective elected public officials at the federal, state, regional and local levels to immediately begin addressing this serious problem through both short term mitigation measures and eventually amending the MMPA.

RONALD BEATY  

Barnstable County Commissioner


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