Letter to the Editor Concerning Sharks and Seals

from County Commissioner Ron Beaty

Editor:

Because of our menacing Great White Shark and the seal overpopulation dilemma, Cape Cod is in the middle of an ecological, public safety, and economic crisis. 

The exploding seal population is a consequence of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). This legislation caused the rapidly growing seal overpopulation, and their attraction of 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 MMPA 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.

The legislation is fatally flawed because it fails to address what ensues after a marine mammal population, like seals, recovers. It fails to provide for delisting or managing recovered species.

It must be amended so the unhealthy seal population can be culled, and thereby  solve our multi-dimensional shark and seal problem.

RONALD BEATY  

Barnstable County Commissioner 


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