CHATHAM (CBS) – A flourishing seal population is the reason experts say they’ve seen an increasing number of Great White sharks in the area.

READ MORE: Nor'easter To Bring Plowable Snow And Possibly Blizzard Conditions Saturday

And now, two days after a Great White shark attacked a beachgoer in Truro, local fishermen are pointing out that it’s not the sharks; it’s the seals that are causing most of the problems in the area.

Seals are protected under a 1976 congressional act. In the decades since, Chatham’s seal population has exploded from a few hundred to almost 10,000.

READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments

The animals have become popular with sightseeing tourists, but they’re also a major threat to the fishing industry.

“They’re putting us out of business. They’re eating way too much,” Chatham-based fisherman John Our said.

He told WBZ-TV that he has seen his catch cut in half in recent years. And it’s the seals, not government regulations that are mostly to blame.

MORE NEWS: It Happens Here: AMC Ponkapoag Camp 'A Little Bit Of Heaven' In Randolph

“They’re destroying the environment,” Our said. “How many do you want? I understand we can have some. But when the population is larger than the population of Cape Cod in the winter time, something’s wrong.”