Fisheries Officials Seek Count of Booming Seal Population

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Fisheries officials in Massachusetts are seeking a head count of the booming seal population that’s drawn great white sharks to Cape Cod waters in greater numbers.

Earlier this month, state Division of Marine Fisheries Director David Pierce said determining the size of the gray seal population size is “extremely important” for ecosystem management in New England at the recent Nantucket Seal Symposium.

But National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials warned the count could cost as much as $500,000.

New England fishermen have been calling for a seal population count for years to gauge its impact on cod, haddock, flounder, striped bass and other important species.

Concerns about public safety in the wake of increased great white shark sightings have added more urgency.

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