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In the mid-1960s, there was a concerted effort to maintain the seal population, as it was drastically declining and almost completely wiped out. Now, some residents surrounding the New England waters are calling for controlled hunts to manage the booming gray seal population that has seemed to suddenly sprout up.
According to CBS Boston News, it has been a combination of constant conservation efforts and food and migration from Canada that has helped the gray seal begin to thrive.
Environmentalists argue that the seals are a good part of the biodiversity, but fishermen are arguing back that the seals hinder their fishing abilities. Residents have taken up petitions and public discussions, and brought up the idea of controlled hunting, much like how deer and other wildlife are controlled in other areas of the United States.
"What we're seeing is a normal growth curve of seals repopulating an area," said Brian Sharp, the manager of a marine mammal rescue for the Cape Cod International Fund for Animal Welfare, in a statement to WCVB Boston News.
For now, the population is continuing to grow and thrive, and seal watch businesses are growing alongside the population. Gray seals are also known as 'horsehead seals' and can grow to be more than 10 feet long with adulthood.