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Twice Round Moby-Dick: How the Whaling Industry Connected Massachusetts and the Azores

April 20, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Center for Coastal Studies joins the Provincetown Public Library in announcing a special panel discussion in honor of the Library’s second annual Moby-Dick Marathon Reading.

On Thursday, April 20, 2017, at 6:00 pm, friends of the Center and the Library are invited to join Stormy Mayo, David Mattila, Dennis Minsky and Robert Rocha for a discussion celebrating Provincetown’s historic connection with the Azores forged by the whaling industry. The panel, Twice Round Moby-Dick: How the Whaling Industry Connected Massachusetts and the Azores, will be held in the Marc Jacobs Reading Room, located on the Main Level at the Provincetown Public Library.

The informal panel discussion will feature a background on why Yankee whale ships went to the Azores as well as a narrative on why so many of those Azorean whalers chose to come to MA. Panelists will also discuss the influences Yankee whaling had Azorean shore whaling techniques. In addition to these and other topics, the event will serve as a celebration of the rich cultural and economic legacy created in our region by Azorean immigrants.

The panelists have deep roots in Provincetown, whale research, the whale watch industry, and the history of whaling. Dr. Charles “Stormy” Mayo, an 11th generation Provincetowner, co-founded the Center for Coastal Studies in 1976 with his late wife, Dr. Barbara Mayo, and Dr. Graham Giese. His ancestors hunted whales, both in the Azores and in Provincetown, and he, along with panelist David Mattila, appropriated certain whale hunting techniques to perform the first successful disentanglement of a free-swimming whale in 1984 in Provincetown Harbor.

Over the past four decades, Stormy Mayo has held the title of founder, director, marine animal entanglement responder and researcher at the Center. Currently he is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Ecology Department where he oversees right whale biology and habitat research. At present, David Mattila is “shared” staff with the Center and the Secretariat of the International Whaling Commission, where he assists with several global conservation and management issues, including large whale entanglement and ship strike mitigation initiatives. Since 2012 he has helped to train over 600 participants from 24 countries in disentanglement techniques originally developed by him and Stormy at the Center.

A life-long student of nature, Dennis Minsky is the chair of Provincetown’s Conservation Commission and Open Space Committee. Minsky first was associated with the Center for Coastal Studies in 1995, and has been educating people about whales and the ocean ecosystem ever since, both on Dolphin Fleet whale watches and while walking the beach with his rescue dog Dory. He has worked in Provincetown since 1968 on various conservation jobs with the Park Service and on whale watches, moving here full time in 2005.

Robert Rocha is the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Director of Education and Science Programs. He is currently President of the National Marine Educators Association and serves as Executive Director of Massachusetts Marine Educators. He also is Chair of the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium’s Education Committee. Bob recently co-authored a paper on whaling in the 1900s titled, “Emptying the Oceans: A Summary of Industrial Whaling Catches in the 20th Century”.

For more information on the panel discussion or the Moby-Dick Marathon Reading, please contact Matt Clark at the Library.


Provincetown Public Library
356 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA 02657
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(508) 487-7094
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