It’s the federal government, stupid.
The booming, federally protected seal population basking in Bay State waters will only bring more hungry, dead-eyed great white sharks closer to shore — where they can strike in as little as 6 feet of water, experts warn.
State wildlife officials said yesterday they’re tracking nine great whites — the most they’ve ever had tagged — but it’s not clear whether that lethal group includes the stealthy predator that attacked a bodysurfer off Ballston Beach in Truro on Monday afternoon, splattering blood on the beach.
The victim, Christopher Myers, is recovering from leg injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital in what officials called the first attack by a great white in Massachusetts since a fatal strike in 1936.
Swarming the Cape coast in pockets from Eastham to Chatham, seals — a protected species for the past four decades — are being blamed for the sudden spike in shark sightings.
“Nature is out of balance,” said Michael Snell, a former Truro beach commissioner. “Until we start harvesting seals, we are going to keep having these kind of problems.”
Uh oh, did he say it’s time to harvest the seals? But, but, but, what about the children? Sure, we can save the kids from being shark snacks, but how do we explain harvesting seals to them? Ah, screw it, let’s just leave things alone and let the sharks do as they please. Besides, it’s their water.
“Society has some tough decisions to make,” he said. “Most people believe the seals are attracting the sharks, and the only thing they can do is control the seal population. But to do that would require a revision of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and that’s a big deal.”
Maybe Joe “Big Effing Deal” Biden can help pull some strings.
The 1972 federal law forbids killing marine mammals, with rare and limited exceptions. The result, experts said, has laid out a blubbery feast of seals all the way up to Canada’s Maritime Provinces.
Prior to the law, towns offered bounties on seals, controlling their numbers as a means of conservation similar to deer hunting, Rothschild said. But 40 years of strictly enforced federal protection have left the waters thick with shark bait, and locals have taken notice.
Sure took them long enough.