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

About The Author

A tech enthusiast, a traveler and a person who fights for the animal rights. He is well known for his love for the society and is the founder of the TheWestSideStory. His love for sharing information and journalism bought him to found thewestsidestory.net online news media website. A Proud American and a Proud Dad!

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26 Responses

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  4. sejanus

    I hope everyone is as tolerant of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus that showed up again near Plymouth.

    Reply
  5. ShawnSzentmiklosy

    I cant believe they would complain about this. I dont believe this article. I mean We New Englanders complain alot but, thats just what we do. We drink coffee, we complain, we yell at idiots on the road, we say how it would be better if they did this or that, about the Merrit Pkwy, or the traffic on 95. When go on vacation we complain. If we move somewhere new out of New England, because we couldnt take New England, we end up complaining about the new place because it doesnt have what we had in New England. Were just not happy unless…were complaining.

    Reply
  6. CherylFY

    I live in here on the coast of New England and I can’t imagine any of my neighbors being disturbed by seals on the beach. Most of us are even not even upset by the sharks in the water. More than a few of my friends are commercial fisherman and I never heard them discuss culling the rebounding seal population. ( I don’t think it ever crossed their minds.) Where did you find the people you interviewed

    Reply
  7. Gnarlodious

    Huh? Sharks are feeding on the seals and still there are too many? That can only mean there aren’t enough sharks!

    Reply
  8. ReduceGHGs

    Instead of complaining about the seals there should be a focus on restoring the fisheries with more and larger marine sanctuaries and habitat restoration. But as David said below, fewer people would help. It’s the ultimate long-term solution to almost every pollution and resource problem we face.

    Reply
    • ShawnSzentmiklosy

      Now thats just crazy talk, stop making sense, what do you think this is California? Lol

      Reply
      • ReduceGHGs

        California! WAY too mmmmany people down there for me!

      • ShawnSzentmiklosy

        I just moved to California its HUGE. Just stay out of southern california. Central and Northern not many people. I thought Mass had crazy rules, California is right up there. Theyre crazy for conservation here.

      • ReduceGHGs

        I like parts of the north, especially the forested areas. I’m up in Oregon. Like Calif we’ve had a population explosion over the last few decades. It would be nice to be able to fish the rivers without worrying about what what you’re catching, how many, or if you’ll catch anything at all. Again with the bottom line… There’s just too many of us. Hate to think what’s left of nature would look like if we didn’t have all the rules to protect it.

      • jfischdisq

        It would look like most of China looks right now. But we keep on buying crap from them, so really, we Americans are the ones driving the ecologic destruction of China. That destruction directly affects us as well, though, through acidification of our oceans and air pollution that circles the globe. Mordor has nothing on China, but we are not much better than the Orcs supporting Mordor.

      • ReduceGHGs

        Well said. Some that blame China and India for their emissions don’t understand who’s been driving the boat. Iceberg ahead!

  9. David

    I agree, controlled hunts for the out-of control human population would be a great benefit to the ecosystem.

    Reply
  10. William Forbes

    Wouldn’t be much of a problem if the local fisheries hadn’t over fished the areas resources already. Many years ago little harbor seals were blamed for the same thing, only to realize they were mainly eating bergals(trash fish) and spider crabs(more junk).

    Reply
    • mastema

      seriously… “overzealous hunters” decimated the seal population to begin with, hm not much of a leap to assume overzealous fishermen have decimated their fish stocks they’re so protective over. people like these crybaby fishermen give hunters and fishermen a bad name.

      Reply
      • jfischdisq

        Most fishermen are like farmers. Hardly stewards of the sea and land, and much more commonly just the opposite. Farmers destroy their soil, pollute the surrounding water ways, overdraw the water tables, and create tons of air pollution, directly and indirectly. Fishermen overfish, throw away 70% of what they catch, destroy sea-bottom environments and weaken entire ecologies. But then, numb-nuts consumers can’t seem to get enough of what farmers and fishermen have to offer, so we are no better. All of us will eventually reap our just rewards, much sooner rather than later. Sometimes I almost feel guilty for bringing two humans into the world. Many times I dread what their futures hold for them.

  11. John Pombrio

    You cannot put up your umbrella on the beach because a grey seal stole your favorite spot. How sad that is.

    Reply
    • jfischdisq

      In California, their are several miles-long stretches of beautiful beaches that recovering populations of elephant seals have overrun. Instead of complaining, these stretches have been turned into tourist attractions with walkways and viewing platforms that allow for great seal watching. Elephant seals are enormous, ugly and beautiful at the same time, and their antics can be hilarious.
      In several San Francisco harbors, sea lions have taken over some of the docks. They now own the docks and again, the tourists love it. They are noisy, can be seriously funny, and draw the tourists. I am sure some boat owners are not thrilled, but such a small price to pay for a rebounding bit of nature.

      Reply

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