"A healthy marine ecosystem is greater than the sum of its parts. We are expanding the dialogue and initiating research to understand the scale of seal population impacts on the ecosystem."
JOHN PAPPALARDO, Fishermen's Alliance CEO
Our fishermen have highlighted the need to know more about the relationship between the growing gray seal population on Cape Cod and the health of our fisheries. The Fund is supporting investigation of this issue on several fronts.
We've joined the Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium (NASRC)—a collaborative effort among scientists, fishermen and fisheries managers organized at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). We feel it is an important way to stay tuned to research and develop knowledge about the role of seals in our ecology.
In 2012, we brought researcher and biologist Betty Lentell on board. Lentell, who previously worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is now a guest investigator at WHOI, is working with scientists, researchers and others in the Consortium on seal population assessment, measuring ecosystem impacts, tracking disease transmission and water quality, and quantifying fish consumption rates—all issues of importance to fishermen and the greater Cape Cod community.
In March of 2013, we co-hosted the first-ever Seal Symposium in collaboration with the Center for Coastal Studies, the Pleasant Bay Alliance and the Friends of Pleasant Bay. Here's a summary from the gathering, which covered information about seal population growth, interactions with sharks, with our fisheries and more.