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. 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 protection legislation, 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 protection legislation is fatally flawed because it fails to address what ensues after a marine mammal population, like seals, recovers. It fails to provide for de-listing 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 R. Beaty Jr.

Parker Road

West BarnstableMr. Beaty is a Barnstable County commissioner.

(2) comments


The seals eat the fish and bring the sharks. There have never been as many seals on the Cape as there are now. Amend the MMA and cull the seals.

Wellfleet John

Thank you Commissioner Beaty for a truthful analysis of the unintended consequences of narrow and outdated legislation that has tied the hands of our local citizens and towns, and has seriously endangered public health and safety at our beaches. The MMPA has to be amended. Our representatives from the local to the national level must change their do nothing stance to a more procactive view. We cannot rely on the current reactive solutions only; eg tournicates, stop the bleed kits, taller life guard chairs and better cell phone coverage for 911 calls. All are reactive and after the fact. We cannot ignore the elephant in the room, the population explosion of gray seals and great white sharks.

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