Whale kills Canadian rescuer after he helps free it

Joe Howlett participated in the rescue of many whales including this one in Aug. 2016

Joe Howlett was killed Monday after freeing a North Atlantic right whale that had been entangled in fishing gear near Shippagan, N.B.

Joe Howlett, from New Brunswick in Canada, had saved around two dozen endangered whales during his last 15 years on the seas.

Mayo says he's aware of only five calves that have been born this year to a population of just 500 animals worldwide which is why he says Howlett was working so hard to free them.

"His expertise and dedication will be greatly missed", LeBlanc said. 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.

North Atlantic right whales are an endangered species with a global population of just 525.

Mr Howlett, a fisherman from Campobello Island in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, had been in the Campobello Whale Rescue Team since 2002. "I know how good he was feeling after cutting that whale clear".

'There are serious risks involved with any disentanglement attempt.

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

Jerry Conway, an adviser to the team, said: "You're dealing with a 70-tonne whale that's very upset". He was captaining a research boat studying the whales in the Gulf of St Lawrence. He had worked to free one whale as recently as July 5, the DFO noted.

Mackie Green, founder of the rescue team, said: "They... He was also a valued and respected member of his Campobello Island community", the Canadian Whale Institute stated Wednesday.

"There's only 850 people here on Campobello Island now and Joe was a very lively character, he had a great sense of humor".

He added: "I'm sure for him, I'm sure it was just another day at work. he was a very fearless man, a very good man and was doing something he believed in".

The move comes in response to a number of deaths to endangered whales and the death of Joe Howlett, a whale rescuer. "Each situation is unique, and entangled whales can be unpredictable", the department said in a statement.

Right whales were so named by those whalers for being the best species to pursue; they swim slowly, could be more easily harpooned on the surface, and float after death.

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