Sci-tech

New Brunswick man killed by whale he rescued

New Brunswick man killed by whale he rescued

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's whale rescue efforts have been temporarily put on hold, following the death of a longtime Canadian emergency responder during a rescue operation earlier in the week.

Howlett comes from the small town of Campobello Island, N.B. where residents are mourning the loss of the "irreplaceable whale rescuer" who saved the lives of over two dozen whales in the last 15 years. The North Atlantic right whale is an endangered species of large whales threatened by fishing equipment entanglement, climate change, and ship collisions.

Mackie Green, co-founder of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team and friend of Howlett, told Tunis Daily News how the accident occurred.

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Joe Howlett was killed Monday after freeing a North Atlantic right whale that had been entangled in fishing gear off New Brunswick.

"Even if the animal doesn't even touch you, just the force of it pushing away with its flukes can push you aside". According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, after Howlett successfully cut the net, the endangered North Atlantic right whale made a movement and hit him, which resulted in his death.

Maine Public Radio reported that whale rescuers and researchers at Allied Whale in Bar Harbor said they hope that NOAA will at least consider certain whale rescue efforts on a case-by-case basis.

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Fisheries spokesman Vance Chow said the department is reviewing how it responds to whale entanglements and until that review is complete, it is pausing efforts free North Atlantic right whales.

The Canadian Minister Dominic LeBlanc stated of whale rescues: "Taking part in whale rescue operations requires vast bravery and a passion for the welfare of marine animals". "There are serious risks involved with any disentanglement attempt. This is something he loved and there's no better feeling than getting a whale untangled, and I know how good he was feeling after cutting that whale clear", Green said.

Howlett was an experienced rescuer who was able to use his years of experience working as a lobster fisherman in his commitment to save entangled whales.

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Ottawa's move comes a day after an American agency said it was halting efforts to free large whales. Further, the NOAA will continue with their efforts to rescue other marine mammals in distress during the suspension.


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