A few short decades ago, the gray seals were almost completely wiped out of New England waters. But over the years, their population has grown immensely, so much so that people in the area are calling for controlled hunts.
The once-thriving New England gray seal population was almost obliterated in the 1950s and 1960s due to over-zealous hunters. Since then, conservation groups have come together to revive the seal population, and the waters are once again teeming with the cute animals.
While on the surface this might look like a victory, it has actually angered quite a few New England residents. Fishermen in the area are saying that the seals are interfering with fishing charters and steal catch, which is limiting the amount of money the fishermen can bring in.
While many fishermen are against the rising seal populations, Brian Sharp, the manager of marine mammal rescue for the Cape Cod-based International Fund for Animal Welfare, has said the seals aren’t actually causing that much of an impact on the commercial fishing business.
“Culls of gray seals have not been shown to increase fish populations. It’s not that simple,” Sharp said. “What we’re seeing is a normal growth curve of seals repopulating an area.”
Beachgoers are also complaining about the seals, saying that the 600-pound creatures are taking up too much of the shore. Not only that, but they are apparently attracting sharks, which feed on the animals.
Among the many complaints are calls for controlled hunts of the gray seals, to cull their populations. There has been no word on whether or not this would be legalized by New England states, although it would face strong opposition from animal rights activists.
Source: CBS Boston