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July 22, 2019

Ocean City mayor pleads with visitors not to feed seagulls

Wildlife Seagulls
Ocean City Seagulls Boardwalk Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian has urged visitors to stop feeding seagulls at the boardwalk and on the beach. The birds have become aggressive and are stealing food directly from the hands of beachgoers, Gillian said.

The mayor of Ocean City, New Jersey, is imploring beachgoers and boardwalk visitors to stop feeding seagulls, lamenting in an open letter that the birds are becoming emboldened and the problem has gotten out of hand.

Mayor Jay Gillian published the letter on Ocean City's website explaining the importance of cutting off the seagulls' easy food supply.

"I have seen many incidents and heard many more complaints this summer about seagulls taking food from people on the beach and boardwalk," Gillian wrote in the letter dated July 19. "These birds have become very aggressive and pose a public safety hazard. Some people think it’s funny to feed the gulls and see them swarm. For the health and safety of both animals and humans, this must stop. Feeding gulls and wildlife in Ocean City is against the law."

Gillian said he's urging boardwalk merchants to provide customers with enclosed containers to carry out food. His administration will also explore the feasibility of netting, noise and other ways to prevent seagulls from marauding the boardwalk.

Visitors are also reminded not to harass or act violently against seagulls, as happened in Ocean City two years ago when a Philadelphia man speared a bird with an umbrella pole. The defendant agreed to pay a $250 fine for attacking the seagull.

"The best deterrent is the simplest: Cut off this easy and unnatural food supply," Gillian said. "That means not just refraining from feeding them, but protecting your food from them."