Increase in seals leads to fishing decline on Cape Cod

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The burgeoning gray seal population on Cape Cod seems to have a negative effect on the sportfishing industry.

The surfcasters who annually come from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey to land a giant striped bass along the white dunes of Provincetown, Mass., are becoming an endangered species, one local bait shop owner told the Cape Cod Times.

“Business has changed dramatically,” said Rich Wood, who recently had to close one of his two tackle shops. “You can’t beat July and August, but traditionally mid-September to mid-October would be big, my No. 2 season. But people stopped coming. My business is really down.”

Fishermen and business owners blame the resurgence of the gray seal population on the Cape and Islands during the last decade — 5,611 in 1999, compared with an estimated 15,756 in 2011 — for killing off a traditional fall fishery.

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