As Ken Balcomb, the chief scientist at the Center for Whale Research, put it in a Seattle Times piece:
The death of this particular whale for me shows that we're at a point in history where we need to wake up to what we have to consider: "Do we want whales or not?"
Balcomb explained further in the necropsy report: "I think we must restore abundant healthy prey resources ASAP if these whales are to have any chance of avoiding extinction. The critical point for their recovery may already have passed. I hope not, but it will soon pass if we do not take immediate action."
Balcomb noted that, with Rhapsody's passing, there are only about a dozen reproductively viable females remaining in this population, and "very little possible recruitment to this cohort within the next few years."
However, a few weeks later, news came that there had, indeed, been fresh potential "recruitment." Just before New Year's Eve, a whale watching boat observed a new calf swimming with J16, aka Slick, and CWR researchers quickly confirmed the sighting. A few days later, it was confirmed that the new calf, now designated J50, in fact is a female.