Ladies and Gentlemen:
Apologies for the long delay between communications. The SAC leadership has been deliberating carefully on the next most effectivesteps to confront the gray seal invasion of our shorelines. We have now reached our conclusions.
Past efforts have yielded resolutions calling for a current gray seal census, impact assessment and deterrent measures. A timeline of these resolutions is attached. Meanwhile, our Board member, Crocker Snow (who owns most of Muskeget Island), has written an excellent book on Muskeget that dramatizes the gray seal invasion and trashing of Muskeget. Crocker also has been in close and constructive contact with the powers-that-be at NOAA, who now promise a current gray seal census as early as next month.
Muskeget is the principal gray seal nursery in Nantucket Sound. Monomoy is overrun and Great Point is not far behind.. To dramatize what is really going on, the SAC has commissioned a video to be entitled "One Day in the Life of Muskeget". This videomay be the first step in producing a longer documentary (subject to available funding) on the negative ecological impact of a "Normandy Invasion" of gray seals in the Cape and Islands. Once we have the Muskeget video and the current NOAA census in hand, the SAC will organize and host a "summit meeting" of those who can, based on research and personal observation/experience, report on the current extent and trend lines of the uncontrolled surge in the gray seal population and its evident impacts writ large.
In the Pacific Northwest, the cormorants have become the gray seal equivalent. Their proliferation has led to the devastation of the salmon and steelhead fishery in the Columbia River system. Governmental authorities (the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services and the Fish and Wildlife Service) have recently moved to restore some kind of balance by instituting a cull. In doing so, they are being sued by a collection of organizations led by the Audubon Society of Portland, that is taking the occasion to raise money for itself appealing for donations "to protect cormorants from horrific lethal control." This saga has been brilliantly captured in an article by Ted Williams in the winter 2016 issue of "Fly Rod and Reel" magazine. In his article he offers the following immortal observation: "The story is much bigger than just cormorants and salmonids. It is deeply revealing of the ecological illiteracy that blights our nation, and of society's refusal to rebalance, where possible and to the extent possible, the predator-prey relationships we've thrown out of kilter. Few of us grasp the fact that 'letting nature take its course' doesn't mean standing back and watching man-made messes get worse." On the gray seal front, the SAC is not standing back from the man-made mess; it is, in the spirit of Williams' article,stepping forward!