Letter to the editor of the Portland Press Herald: Think of the impact our decisions have on right whales

Re: “Lobstermen vote against state’s right whale plan” (Nov. 9, Page A1):

I can understand the lobstering community when they resist the state’s plan to protect the North Atlantic right whale. It is their livelihood that we, through our government, are tinkering with.

I must, however, speak for the whales. There are only four hundred of them left. Four hundred of the tens of thousands that lived just a century or two ago. Obviously different, but in some ways, they are like us. They have a culture and a language – not written, but neither was ours just a few millenniums ago.

They talk to each other in the ocean. In spite of our great intelligence, we don’t understand a single word of their vocabulary. Are they talking about their imminent demise? What would we be saying to each other if there were only 400 of us left?

The dilemma is an example of how we humans are driving change through our culture that has consequences for all sorts of species and we resist accepting how interdependent all life is. On the other hand, we are pretty smart and have found ways to adapt to all sorts of negative conditions in order to survive.

How would fishing have to change for both the whales and the fishers to survive? Worth thinking about since there are all sorts of similar conundrums waiting in the wings as human culture becomes one of the dominant drivers of evolution.

James M. Tierney



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