SAC Fall Update 2013
----Following up on the Nantucket Board of Selectmen gray seal resolution, the SAC leadership met for a working lunch with Congressman Bill Keating, Nantucket state representative Tim Madden, and Provincetown/Truro state representative Sarah Peake. All three believed the SAC was working appropriately through political channels to get the gray seal influx addressed. Next steps through those channels are being charted in consultation with the SAC’s legislative counselor, Kraig Siracuse.
---- The SAC continued to work with the media to draw public attention to what those of us who spend time along the shoreline can observe; namely, a proliferation of increasingly bold gray seals. In this connection, the Boston Globe ran a lead article in its sports section on the impact of the gray seals on recreational fishing on Nantucket Island. Featured in the article- complete with a great photo- was the SAC’s secretary/treasurer, Ken Kassan. Also in this connection, please see the attached letter to the editor of Nantucket’s Inquirer & Mirror.
----Gray seal predation of fish caught by anglers has now reached the point where some defensive action should be taken while a broader solution to the problem is being sought. To address this need, the SAC is organizing an event early next spring at which officials from NOAA will be asked to explain to anglers what deterrent measures they are entitled to take within the confines of the MMPA. The SAC is seeking the cooperation of the Nantucket Anglers’ Club and the leadership of the Nantucket Inshore Classic in this initiative.
----Meanwhile, the SAC is considering the preparation of a statement that addresses what it perceives as unfolding flaws in the MMPA. This statement would be utilized to provide, among other things, impetus to action by the powers-that-be on the Board of Selectmen resolution.
----In the late summer and early fall, the SAC worked to set research priorities that could be at least partially supported by its Gray Seal Research Fund within the Community Foundation for Nantucket. In this connection, the SAC has met with a researcher from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Hauke Kite-Powell, to explore a study of the impact of the gray seal influx on the economy and environment of Nantucket Island. The SAC leadership will travel to Woods Hole later this fall to follow-up with Hauke and to introduce the SAC to the recently established Northwest Atlantic Gray Seal Research Consortium, headquartered at the WHOI.
----As the SAC pursues its research mission, it will need to be advised by a qualified scientist. Fortuitously, the SAC met such a person fishing alongside us in Nantucket. His name is Dr. David Policansky (his license plate reads “DR FISH”!) and he has generously agreed to serve as the SAC’s “Science Adviser”. David, who has a PhD in biology, is a scholar at the National Research Council in Washington. His most recent publications focus on fisheries, the role of science in decision making, and common property resources. His resume is attached.
----Funds are running low in the SAC’s operating budget. A fresh appeal will be mounted to replenish those funds. A membership campaign should be mounted, but that must await the identification and funding of an individual with the time and talent to service a membership base.
----That’s it for now. Onward! Keep the faith!