“We know that the risk is there,” Asmutis-Silvia said. “You can't recover the population unless you have kids, and we want to make sure the kids survive.”
The population of right whales has been declining in recent years, and that has raised alarms among marine biologists, animal welfare activists and government regulators. Some scientists have said the warming of the ocean has caused the whales to stray outside of existing protected areas as they search for food.
Conservation groups and commercial fishermen have also been at odds over the correct way to protect the whales. The conservationists want new restrictions on lobster fishing to prevent the whales from getting entangled in gear, but those restrictions are currently on hold.