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Right whale’s drawn-out suffering cries out for action

The North Atlantic right whale known as “Snow Cone” was spotted south of Nantucket on Sept. 21 dragging heavy fishing gear and in poor health.New England Aquarium

Of all the sentences in Saturday’s Globe, one — the opening of David Abel’s story about the entanglement of the right whale known as Snow Cone — is haunting me still: “She’s a dead whale swimming” (“ ‘She was very obviously suffering,’ ” Metro, Oct. 1). Snow Cone’s incredible will to survive will not be enough this time. Her constant suffering will end when she finally sinks to the bottom of the sea to be forgotten by most of us.

Why should we care about one whale? Because fewer than 350 of this species are left. Despite her injuries, Snow Cone, one of only 70 breeding females, tried to increase that number; she had two calves, the first killed by propellers, the second disappeared.


Though we can’t know what whales think, it’s clear how much she has wanted to live and wanted her babies to live. We can show respect to her great spirit by acting now to protect the rest of her family.

It’s a false dilemma that pits species survival against fishermen’s livelihood. Whale-friendly fishing technology exists but needs to be subsidized. Will we only bicker while this entire species is snuffed out? To help, contact your legislator to support the Right Whale Coexistence Act of 2022.

Alexis Rizzuto