These days only about 350 right whales exist in the world, making them one of the most endangered species on the planet. The new documentary Entangled by award-winning reporter and documentary filmmaker David Abel (Lobster War, Undaunted) takes a look at the efforts to protect them, while dealing with the impact their efforts are having on the lobster industry.
It’s hard to believe that there were once over 20,000 right whales swimming in our oceans, especially now that there are under 400 left. From our past of hunting whales for their blubber, to global warming and the shrinking of their food supply, it shouldn’t be a shock that their numbers have dwindled, but to have shrunk as much as they have is devastating. With all the conservation efforts that have been going on, including the banning of hunting whales in 1935 you’d think things would have started to improve, but they haven’t. In fact, it could be argued that things are even worse now than they ever were. The right whales have started coming closer to shore where they hadn’t been seen before, into waters used by lobstermen, and in doing so they get entangled in the fishing lines and die a slow death. Environmental groups have tried making changes, but is it too little too late, and are the lobstermen effected by these rules willing to go along with them?
A lot of documentaries don’t take the time to look at both sides of an issue, but Entangled is different. It shows that there truly are two sides to every story. On one hand you feel bad for the right whales, who are simply shifting their patterns to find food and survive. On the other hand, the lobstermen of New England and Atlantic Canada are watching their livelihood slip away thanks to new regulations severely impacting their trade. The documentary shows the efforts that are taking place by both sides to make an agreement on how to solve a seemingly impossible problem. How can the whales be saved, while avoiding crippling an industry that has provided generations with income and food? There’s no easy solution, and while attempts are being made to improve the situation, no answers have yet to be found.
Entangled doesn’t preach at you, nor does it solve the problem. What it does is enlighten you to the situation, and help you come to your own conclusions. It does however shine a bright spotlight on the fact that if we don’t do anything, right whales will go extinct, and that would be a real shame.
Kicking off Season 2 of ‘The Impact Series’ in select theatres across Canada.