Following the festival premiere of Last of the Right Whales in Fall 2021, a year-long impact campaign will launch across North America in collaboration with our outreach partners: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Canadian Whale Institute and Oceans North. The campaign will support three main goals for the protection of North Atlantic right whales (NARW): reducing entanglements, preventing ship strikes and increasing public awareness about this critically endangered species.
Last of the Right Whales will be used to engage stakeholders – fishers, boaters, retailers, shipping and cruise lines as well as consumers – in discussions about what we can each do to ensure the survival of this great whale facing extinction.
To find out how you can participate in our Coastal Screening Tour or VIP influencer screenings, sign up for our newsletter. If you’d like to host your own screening, we are now taking reserve bookings for 2022.
To support these community discussions, you can donate to our impact campaign at one of the links below.
North Atlantic right whales live, feed, migrate, socialize, and rear their young along the east coast of North America. Threats from vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear have reduced their numbers to a critical level. Climate change has affected the distribution of the right whale’s food supply resulting in major habitat shifts.
Since 2017, 34 right whales have died with another 15 presumed dead, or 13.5% of the known population. With fewer than 360 individuals left – and only a quarter of those being reproductive females – North Atlantic right whales are critically endangered. The death of even one whale could be the difference between saving North Atlantic right whales and their extinction.
In 2019, researchers looked at the causes of 70 North Atlantic right whale deaths recorded between 2003 and 2018 in the U.S. and Canada. Where the cause of death could be determined, nearly 90% died as a direct result of fishing gear entanglements or vessel strikes. Nearly 86% of right whales have been entangled in fishing gear at least once in their lives.
There is some good news: technologies being tested by the fishing industry hold the promise of protecting whales from entanglements in rope while supporting livelihoods.
The Governments of Canada and the United States have enacted various protective measures to reduce the threat of entanglements and vessel strikes. The public has a role to play by encouraging marine industries and Governments to continue to develop and adapt their measures and technologies as needed to keep the whales on a path to recovery.