February 21, 2020 (Portland, ME) — We can’t afford to make the wrong choice when it comes to right whales. To show their support for these endangered marine mammals, dozens of Mainers attended an art show Thursday night and called on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, as well as state elected officials, to protect right whales from extinction.
“We decided to host an art show to — quite literally — bring visibility to the tragic status of right whales. We can either act boldly now to protect this amazing species, or we will lose them forever,” said Michaela Morris, oceans associate with Environment Maine and lead organizer of the event.
Only about 400 North Atlantic right whales are left in our oceans, and scientists estimate that the right whale population can only afford about one death per year to avoid extinction. But tragically, in the last three years alone, thirty right whales have died, mostly from getting tangled in fishing equipment or getting struck by vessels.
Now, Environment Maine, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), the New England Aquarium, and Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (Bow Seat) are hosting a series of shows across New England to raise awareness about the crisis right whales face. In addition to works created by local artists, the show also features art created by New England youth as part of the Healthy Whale, Healthy Ocean Challenge, a separate art competition hosted by Bow Seat and CLF.
“We are excited to share the compelling works created by our young ocean advocates,” said Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat. “The arts are a powerful and effective way to make ocean science personal and relevant. Through their pieces, these talented students are giving a voice to the North Atlantic right whale and inviting all of us to protect an incredible species with whom we share this blue planet.”
The next stop for the Right Whale Road Show will be in Newburyport, MA at the Mass Audubon Joppa Flats Education Center on Friday, March 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH, will host the final show on Thursday, April 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each show features an exhibition of artwork and a panel discussion with right whale experts — and shows why it is vital that we join together to save the right whales.
“Humans hold the cards to decide whether North Atlantic right whales rebuild to a sustainable population or go extinct,” said Emily Green, Senior Attorney at CLF. “Engaging a new generation of young advocates is critical to our shared fight for the protection of right whales and our oceans. We’re thrilled to share their artwork with communities across New England.”
Experts are available for further comment.