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CAI Continuing Coverage 2021: Right Whales, Lobstermen, Scientists, and Lawyers

A 9-year-old female right whale (left) and a smaller right whale spotted off the coast of Jekyll Island.
Courtesy Sea to Shore Alliance/ NOAA Research Permit 20556
A 9-year-old female right whale (left) and a smaller right whale spotted off the coast of Jekyll Island.

For years CAI has been dedicated to covering the plight of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Roughly 336 of the whales are left, and more than half the population typically shows up each spring in Cape Cod Bay to feed.

The animals exist at a nexus of many competing forces: their migratory route along the Eastern seaboard includes some of the busiest sea traffic, as well as lobster and crab fisheries, and the rising offshore wind industry.

The two leading causes of death for the whales are ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.

The fishing industry – lobstermen in particular – feels itself to be under existential pressure from the strictures of continually revised regulations, many of which are designed to protect the whales.

CAI’s coverage of this complicated story embraces conversations with environmentalists, fishermen and fishing industry representatives, research scientists, federal regulators, advocacy lawyers, and more.

Our Environment Reporter Eve Zuckoff leads this coverage.

Throughout 2021 we’ve strived to tell this story through a robust variety of radio coverage, including news spots, feature reports (4 included here), and 2-way conversations with program hosts. The audio above provides a sample.

All our right whale coverage is gathered here.

CAI is listener-supported public radio for Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and the South Coast. We cover essential news of the region, celebrate the uniqueness of our communities, and promote lively discussion of common issues.