Seal Numbers and Tensions Growing on Cape Cod

Colony of Gray Seals, Photo/Wikimedia Commons

The population of gray seals on Cape Cod has exploded in recent years. That’s exciting for wildlife lovers, but it is an increasing concern to residents who worry the seal population is becoming a problem. Now, some are wondering if legal protection of seals should be eased, according to an article on

In recent years, the gray seal population on the Cape and islands has grown from 5,611 in 1999 to 15,756 in 2011. On 320-acre Muskeget island alone, the population has risen from roughly 19 in 1994 to between 3,500 to 3,800 today.

Some locals believe water quality, public safety and fish populations have all suffered as a result. And some residents are questioning whether the seals still need the strict protection they receive under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

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