dglobalnews.com United States suspends efforts to free tangled whales after death
Published: Fri, July 14, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

United States suspends efforts to free tangled whales after death

United States suspends efforts to free tangled whales after death

Two of six endangered North Atlantic right whales found dead during June in the Gulf of St. Lawrence showed signs of blunt trauma, suggesting they were victims of ship strikes, a wildlife pathologist leading the investigation told Canadian news media.

In response to Howlett's death, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is suspending whale rescues, stating: "Members of the general public should never attempt to rescue a stranded or entangled marine animal". He was on a rescue mission with Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to free a North Atlantic right whale that had become ensnared, according to a statement from the department.

Joe Howlett helped rescue a Young right whale tangled in fishing gear in Canada's Bay of Fundy.

A North Atlantic right whale, the species that killed Howlett, is seen in this file photo. "I know how good he was feeling after cutting that whale clear".

'He's going to be sorely missed by the community and he was an integral part of a very unique group of fishermen here on the island who were involved in doing the disentanglements, ' Conway said.

'He was a hero, he knew he was putting his life on the line with a 70-ton whale that is upset ... trying to deal with a wild animal, ' Conway told the CBC. He said, "Mr. Howlett's notable experience and contribution to whale rescue include his very recent and critical role in successfully freeing an entangled whale on July 5".

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Green added, "Joe definitely would not want us to stop because of this".

The team uses high speed inflatable boats to reach an ensnared whale, then bladed extension poles are used to cut a fishing line.

"The most important thing I think Mr. Howlett would have wanted is we take every step to protect these endangered species and the safety of those that are working around them", said LeBlanc. "He was also a valued and respected member of his Campobello Island community", the Canadian Whale Institute stated Wednesday.

Friends say the death will be keenly felt on the small island of about 850 people, where Howlett was known for his humour, big laugh and generosity.

Joe Howlett (left) and his son.

"That review will be robust and it will be comprehensive because I'm not prepared to have a season next year with this many fatalities of whales and this much entanglement", LeBlanc said in an interviews.

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