Letter to the Editor:
I’m a Cape Codder, a commercial fisherman, and one of many locals that rely on our coastal fishery to support my family. I have watched our once vibrant cape fishery decimated by seal over-population.
This year the striped bass season which typically achieves its quota and closes in August, has been extended until December 31st. In fact on September 14th when the state announced the extension, we still had 26% of the 2018 quota open, with a dwindling migrating fish population to harvest.
The current seal over-population has been years in the making, and a result of animal rights groups and liberal politicians that receive their endorsements and campaign contributions. In fact our own Cape & Islands State Senator Julian Cyr was quoted 2 days after our fatal shark attack as saying, the situation is “really terrifying" followed quickly with, “culling the seals is not an option".
Cyr went on to say we must educate beachgoers as a solution to future shark attacks. This may be candy to his liberal base, but it shows he cares little for his constituents who rely on our coastal fisheries, or the visitors maimed or killed this year from sharks.
I want to remind our elected officials that the death of 26 year old Arthur Medici by shark on September 15th was not his fault, it was ours. He was following posted guidelines to swim midday and close to shore. Our inaction caused his death. Shark experts quickly announced that the shark may have mistaken Arthur for a seal. I think the seal population is where we need to focus.
In closing I ask the people we have elected to represent us in these matters to keep all options open to solve this problem, including humane population control of both seals and sharks.
I ask Cape Codders to consider applying the needed pressure on their local officials so they are forced to do their job and take action. The Trump Administration has shown a willingness to empower local communities to manage their own. Maybe the Marine Mammal Act can be amended so states can manage seals similar to the Massachusetts fishery.
Cape Codders owe this to Arthur. We owe this to the local people who need the coastal fishery back to support their families.