• The Seal Action Committee, founded and based on Nantucket Island, is moving to urge action in Washington on the burgeoning gray seal population.

  • SAC is a not-for-profit corporation that brings individuals and organizations together to understand the problems and find solutions to the large and rapidly growing population of gray seals.  It has volunteers as well as professionals as advisors.

  • SAC is active creating awareness of the problems posed by the proliferation of gray seals.

  • Last year SAC expressed its beliefs that the surge in the seal population is having adverse effects on the traditional way of life at the waters edge in the Cape and Islands:

         1. Large numbers of gray seals are spoiling recreational fishing because of seal theft of hooked fish

         2. Commercial fishermen are suffering from depleted fish stocks and fish infected with “seal worms”.
         3. Seals (animals larger than humans) intimidate & if approached too closely, pose a potential danger to beachgoers, anglers,                swimmers & surfers.
         4. Seal excrement along the shorelines poses potential sanitation and health problems.
         5. Seal encroachment is threatening fragile ecosystems, including, in particular, endangered flora and fauna on Muskeget Island.


  • More recently two additional concerns have arisen:

         1. The rapidly growing gray seal population is attracting sharks that pose a danger to swimmers and surfers.
         2. Harbor seals (a smaller relative of gray seals) have been dying of the Avian flu virus which could possibly mutate and become           transmittable to gray seals and on to humans.


  • The gray seals are currently protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  But that Act also requires the government to perform a periodic census of the population.   The last official census was done eleven years ago and, meanwhile, the gray seal population has been expanding exponentially, negatively impacting the quality of life along the shorelines of the Cape and Islands.

  • The Seal Action Committee is calling for a current census that it believes will demonstrate that the gray seal is no longer in need of the extraordinary protection afforded them by the Act.  Were the gray seals to be removed from the protection of the MMPA, abatement measures could then be tested, approved and pursued.

  • To press its case for a current census, the Committee has engaged a Washington lobbyist and is being advised by an environmental lawyer.  It also is working on a daily basis to expand its coalition and to keep the public informed of the gray seal problem.

Message Points & Call to Action

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Seal Action Committee, All Rights Reserved

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Siasconset, Massachusetts 02564