Right Whale Documentary Screening in Provincetown

Endangered North Atlantic right whales

PROVINCETOWN – Last of the Right Whales, a new documentary focusing on critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, will screen at the Waters Edge Cinema in Provincetown.  

Along with footage of Cape Cod Bay, the film will feature commentary from Dr. Charles “Stormy” Mayo, Senior Scientist and Right Whale Program Director at the Center for Coastal Studies.

With less than 350 total whales remaining, Mayo discussed the grim outlook for the survival of the species.

“It’s a bad situation for an animal which has for centuries been Cape Cod’s whale, so it’s very much a Cape Cod story where the whales still come in surprising numbers,” he said.

In a recent Sunday Journal interview with the CapeCod.com NewsCenter, Mayo said it’s estimated that there are only 90 breeding female right whales left.

Mayo added that the calving rate of those female whales has also slowed down, with many of them no longer having a calf every three years.

With a high mortality rate and a low birth rate, Mayo said the whales will become extinct if the situation doesn’t change.

The whale expert also discussed the main threats to the animals; entanglements and vessel strikes.

Mayo said speed restrictions on vessels and limits on fishing activity have been put in place in regional waters, but he was unsure if regulations are working to help the dwindling population.

“During the time the right whales are here, they’re pretty safe, but once they move out of Cape Cod Bay where they get this extreme protection, it’s anybody’s guess,” he said.

Mayo stated these measures may not be doing enough since the number of whales continues to drop each year.

However, he credited fisherman who have been working with federal agencies to develop ways to fish without rope, hopefully resulting in less whale entanglements.

The scientist also talked about how climate change may be changing the timeline of when the whales travel to Cape Cod Bay each year.

Mayo encouraged people on the Cape to get involved with local conservation efforts.  

“I think the whales need the help of the general public. It’s our whale on Cape Cod, so join us and help them,” Mayo said.

The screening of Last of the Right Whales is happening on Tuesday, July 12 at 7pm at the Waters Edge Cinema in Provincetown. 

The film is being presented by the Center for Coastal Studies and the Provincetown Film Society. Head to the Society’s website for tickets

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

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