| by Sierra Abukins

News Stories

Rahaim, Nick
Nick Rahaim MAIEP ’22 

Environmental Policy alum Nick Rahaim ‘22 was recently honored by the Society of Environmental Journalists for his 2022 piece in Hakai Magazine: “Clever Whales and the Violent Fight for Fish on the Line.”

“The biggest challenge was openly describing illegal acts I witnessed while working on commercial fishing vessels,” said Rahaim, who was a deckhand on a longline vessel for sablefish in the Gulf of Alaska in 2013.

A pod of sperm whales followed his boat for a week and ate nearly all of the sablefish off of the hooks.

“With the catch going to the whales, we were losing money while working 20 hours a day in bad weather. As frustration grew, the guns came out and my captain and crew mates began firing at the sperm whales. I was appalled but had no recourse in the moment, being the new crew member,” said Rahaim. “The experience motivated me to undertake numerous investigations on fisheries’ impacts on marine mammals, including this story.”

Rahaim received a grant from the Center for the Blue Economy to support research for the piece.

In their comments on the piece, the Society of Environmental Journalists wrote “Employing smart sourcing, well-timed personal recollections and insightful academic literature, Rahaim must be commended for the balance he strikes that allows readers to leave the story both informed and engaged.”

Awareness of the issue is increasing and an Alaskan fisherman was recently charged for killing a whale.

Rahaim completed the Ocean and Coastal Resource Management Specialization with the Institute and served as a Fulbright fellow in El Salvador. Before heading to graduate school, Rahaim worked the public safety beat at The Press Democrat where he was a member of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning team for breaking news. As a commercial fisherman he has worked in more than a dozen fisheries in the North Pacific logging nearly 1,500 days at sea. He is currently working as a public affairs officer for NOAA Fisheries.