It’s not every day that a 42-foot whale gets invited to the Statehouse!

Our life-size inflatable right whale, Calvin, was the guest of honor in the Great Hall of Flags this past Monday in celebration of the efforts to save right whales at the federal level.

The New England Aquarium stood with state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, state Sen. Julian Cyr, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) representatives, and others in recognition of the SAVE (Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered) Right Whales Act, a bill that would assist in the conservation of the North Atlantic right whale by supporting and providing financial resources for right whale conservation programs and projects.

The bill, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 6, would authorize $5 million in support of research for the species.    

state house right whales
Calvin, the life-size inflatable right whale, gets inflated in the Great Hall of Flags.

Speakers at the event included Rep. Fernandes, a representative from Congressman Seth Moulton’s office, Patrick Ramage of IFAW, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life’s Director of Conservation Policy and Leadership Dr. Kelly Kryc, Melissa Hoffer from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and sustainable seafood chef Jen Heilig.

Why celebrate right whales?

The North Atlantic right whale population once dominated the Atlantic Ocean with numbers likely in the tens of thousands. But today, only about 400 remain. In the 1700s, whalers prized these marine mammals for their fatty blubber, making them the “right whale” to harvest for oil and baleen. By the time whaling was outlawed in 1935, the species was decimated.

This species lives its life on the highly industrialized east coast of the North American continent, bearing the scars that come with the activities humans conduct in their habitat."
- Dr. Kelly Kryc, Director of Conservation Policy and Leadership, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life

Right whales are the farmers of the ocean. They fertilize the marine food chain, which generates the oxygen we breathe and feeds the economically valuable fisheries this region depends on. Right whales are part of a highly interdependent ecosystem that keeps the ocean healthy and alive. In other words, our well-being is directly connected to right whales.

state house right whales
Dr. Kelly Kryc speaks on behalf of the New England Aquarium and right whale research.

The New England Aquarium has been researching North Atlantic right whales for 40 years.

“We know nearly every individual whale. We know their family members. We know where they like to spend their summers. We know whose been having babies,” said Kryc. “We also know which ones have been hit by ships, and who’s been cut by propellers, and who’s been entangled in fishing gear. While some may survive these encounters, many do not.”

state house right whales
state house right whales
state house right whales

The event featured activities for all ages, including the opportunity to write a postcard to your state representative in support of the SAVE Right Whales Act, talk to New England Aquarium educators about right whales, and take a selfie with Calvin!

 

How can you show your support? 

Support ongoing research at the New England Aquarium by donating to our right whale research program. Our program, established in 1980, is one of the longest-running and most comprehensive whale research and conservation initiatives in the world. The Aquarium is a leading institution in developing innovative, science-based approaches to conserving the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). Our research has been integral to informing national and international efforts to protect these elusive giants.

 


right whale mother and calf

We can still save the North Atlantic right whale

Aquarium President and CEO Vikki Spruill, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, and Florida Rep. John Rutherford penned an op-ed highlighting the threats to these endangered whales.

NOW MAY BE our last chance to save the North Atlantic right whale from extinction. We know what the solutions are but we just need the will and innovation to get it done. This is not a lost cause!