Safe Harbor: The Proposed Cape Cod Seal Cull’s Illegality Under the MMPA, Ineffectiveness, and Cruelty
Ryan Clemens | JD/MEM at Vermont Law School and Yale School of the Environment
June 13, 2021
Massachusetts fishers and residents currently feel that the state’s seal populations must be cut down. However, neither the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) nor its many exceptions would permit this overly simplistic solution, and rightfully so.
Several Massachusetts Cape and Islands fishers, business owners, and residents feel that the state’s coastline harbors too many seals. Miriam Wasser reported that Cape Cod communities blame harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) for polluting water, preventing the Atlantic cod from recovering, and limiting tourism by enticing sharks to beaches. In response, the communities proposed a seal cull to directly remove their perceived threat.
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