Nantucket Citizen’s Group Wants to End Protections for Seals to Deal with Sharks

Peter Howell, left, the founder of the Nantucket Citizen’s Group, speaks to Barnstable County Commissioners.

BARNSTABLE – A local citizen’s group is calling for eliminating federal protections for seals as Cape Cod officials seek ways to protect beachgoers from sharks.

Peter Howell, a founder of the Seal Action Committee, said Wednesday at a Barnstable County Commission meeting that the Nantucket group wants Congress to amend the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act so that protections for seals and other species can be rescinded if their populations rebound.

“In some cases they’ve rebounded to, what we believe, are levels with potentially significant and damaging effects on the ecosystem,” said Howell.

The region’s burgeoning seal population has been largely blamed for drawing great white sharks.

“The problem is that the act protects marine mammals in effect in perpetuity, regardless of numbers, regardless of the impact on the environment, regardless of the impact on coexisting species, competing species,” said Howell.

Cape Cod saw two shark attacks on humans last summer, including the state’s first fatality in decades.

About Justin Saunders

Justin Saunders has nearly 10 years of experience in radio, television, online and newspaper journalism across the US and Canada. Justin joined the NewsCenter in May 2014 and continues to help provide coverage of the Cape and Islands.
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