Rebounding Seal and Shark Populations on Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Management Preferences of Three Stakeholder Groups
Date of Award
Campus Access Thesis
Master of Science (MS)
Reversing population declines due to bounty hunting, directed fisheries, and bycatch, the re-establishment of gray seal and white shark populations in the waters of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA has led to increased interaction between these species and human ocean users. Pressure has mounted on managers to address growing populations of both species, with tensions escalating following a fatal shark bite on a boogie-boarder in 2018. To examine stakeholder support for management interventions, questionnaires were administered to Cape Cod residents, commercial fishers, and tourists in the summer of 2021. Respondents in all groups demonstrated a lack of knowledge of seal and shark management history, opposition to lethal management methods, and a preference for the use of non-lethal management to reduce conflict with either species. Respondents also demonstrated strong support for goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as well as conflict mitigation strategies including increasing public education and research. With levels of support for specific management and conflict mitigation strategies varying considerably among stakeholder groups, the results of this study highlight a need for stakeholder-specific messaging in future efforts to promote coexistence.
Bratton, Rachel M., "Rebounding Seal and Shark Populations on Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Management Preferences of Three Stakeholder Groups" (2022). Graduate Masters Theses. 710.
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