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Seal Action Committee, All Rights Reserved

PO BOX 351

Siasconset, Massachusetts 02564

Ladies and Gentlemen, Here is an early fall 2012 SAC update.
 

  • Working with the SAC leadership, our state representative, Tim Madden, sent a letter to the Director of NOAA expressing his concerns over the expanding gray seal population and asking NOAA to bring us up-to-date on the numbers we actually are dealing with. A copy of his letter is attached.
     

  • SAC Director, Pete Howell, recently had a very constructive meeting with Congressman Bill Keating who is well apprised of the gray seal problem and the issues it poses for his constituency. We will be following up with him. Meanwhile, our Director of Government Relations, Kraig Siracuse is in effective contact with Congressman Keating's staff.
     

  • Early in the summer we made a presentation to the Commissioners of the Nantucket Land Bank. We have just heard back from them with an expression of support for "...the Committee's efforts to obtain a census of the gray seal population in Nantucket Sound and to assess the societal and environmental impacts of the seal population on Nantucket, Tuckernuck and Muskeget." A copy of the Land Bank letter is attached.
     

  • We have been in productive contact with the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fisherman's Association. They are planning to conduct their own grey seal census over the winter months and to convene a meeting in the spring to discuss their findings. Meanwhile, they have appointed a part-time staff member, Betty Lentell, to coordinate their activities on the gray seal front. We will be working with her to coordinate CCCHFA and SAC initiatives and research activities.
     

  • We had a follow-up meeting with our contact at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Hauke Kite-Powell. Hauke's main interest is the gray seal economic impact. He has submitted a proposal for funding a study of the gray seal impact on commercial fishing as a first step toward a larger study of its impact on the economies of the Cape and Islands.
     

  • We discussed with Hauke the SAC's research priorities which include a focus on public health issues related to the gray seal population. These issues include water pollution and seals as possible bearers of a variant of the Avian flu virus. Hauke is looking in to resources at the WHOI which could be applied to study in these areas.
     

  • We have completed the establishment of a "Gray Seal Research Fund" within the Community Foundation for Nantucket. This fund can receive tax exempt contributions to support the research efforts of the SAC. The CFN will formally announce the creation of the fund in an advertisement in the Inky&M, probably next spring. The ad will be accompanied by a photo of the SAC leadership, a copy of which is attached (for your Rogues Gallery!).
     

  • With financial contributions from a handful of lead donors, we have been able to hire a part-time
     

  • Administrative Assistant, Anne Bertolino. Anne's first initiatives have been to get the SAC website elaborated (check it out at www.sealactioncommittee.com), to establish the SAC Facebook page (please "like" it!) and to design and produce a SAC letterhead and business cards. She will then move-on to organizing a SAC membership campaign and to scouring the signed petitions (with signatures now numbering 1,400!) for the names and addresses of individuals who will be invited into membership in the SAC.
     

  • We have added another "pro bono" member of the SAC team, Kyle Woodhead. Kyle is a young man who has taken an active interest in the SAC from the very start and has spontaneously provided invaluable research assistance. We have officially appointed Kyle as SAC Research Associate. In this capacity he will backstop Pete Howell who leads our research efforts and is responsible for the Gray Seal Research Fund within the Community Foundation for Nantucket.
     

  • The SAC has been receiving good attention in the Cape and Islands' public prints. An article in the October 26 edition of the Cape Cod Chronicle entitled "Too Many Seals?" gave the SAC some excellent exposure. A copy of the article is attached. With the help of our lead donors, the SAC is making good progress. Our winter priorities are to mount a membership campaign and research initiatives. The former will give the SAC an organized and financially supportive constituency. The latter will establish the SAC as a science-based authority on the gray seal population and its multi-dimensional impact.


Cheers. Onward! Peter Krogh, Guy Sowden, Ken Kassan, Pete Howell and Crocker Snow

Early Fall Update 2012