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Seal management research on Nantucket Island, MA

Conflict and consensus in stakeholder views of seal management on Nantucket Island, MA, USA
Jennifer Jackman (MAPP alumna 2005), Lauren Bettencourt (MAPP alumna 2016), Jerry Vaske, Michele Sweeney, Katharine Bloom, Allen Rutberg, Brandi Brook

Marine Policy
Published: March 20, 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2018.03.006

Abstract
With recovery of seal populations after their near extirpation from the coastal waters of Massachusetts, USA, controversy has emerged over seal-fishery interactions. To assess stakeholder attitudes toward management of seal-fishery conflicts and marine mammal protection, questionnaires were administered to the general public, on-site anglers, and tourists on Nantucket Island. All three groups agreed that the interests of the ecosystem should be the top management consideration and supported marine mammal protection. Opposition to lethal management was found among all groups, with tourists most opposed, followed by the public and on-site anglers. While non-lethal management received more support than lethal management, some support for leaving seals alone was found, particularly among tourists. No differences were found among stakeholder groups for non-lethal methods of seal management, with the exception of the scenario of using non-lethal methods to reduce population levels. These findings suggest that management of seal-fishery conflicts must respect ethical and ecological concerns to promote co-existence.
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