“I was born to do this” for more than 15 years Joe Howlett put his life on the line saving whales and is believed to have rescued dozens in that time. “You get pumped up because you could die at any time.” Blue Ocean has reported on rescuing dolphins, seals, mantas and puffer fish after becoming entangled in fishing gear, but saving whales is of a very different magnitude.

 

Whales Were Joe’s Passion

Just last week Joe rescued a right whale near his home on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada where he worked as a lobster fisherman. When Joe was not fishing he skippered the research vessel Sheila to study North Atlantic Right Whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and was a founding member of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team.

 

Seven Right Wales Were Found Dead Last Month

The endangered North Atlantic Right Whales number just over 500 and seven were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, last month alone. One of the whales died after being caught in a fishing net. See our Blue Ocean post: What’s Killing Whales.

Update: As of August 28, there have now been 13 Right Whales that have been found dead in the waters off New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

joe howlett right whale international fund for animal welfare right whale rescueThis last Monday, Joe was called on by Fisheries Canada to assist in freeing an entangled right whale said Mackie Green who co-founded the whale rescue team in 2002. “They got the whale totally disentangled and then some kind of freak thing happened and the whale made a big flip,” Joe was struck and killed. (photo – International Fund for Animal Welfare)

 

“Joe definitely would not want us to stop because of this,” said Green, “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.”

 

A Passion for the Welfare of Marine Mammals

“Taking part in whale rescue operations requires immense bravery and a passion for the welfare of marine mammals,” stated a spokesmen for Fisheries Canada.  “There are serious risks involved with any disentanglement attempt. Each situation is unique, and entangled whales can be unpredictable.”

Joe Howlett was 59 and the father of two.

 

Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet

 

Humpback Whale Shows AMAZING Appreciation After Being Freed From Nets

 

 

by Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network

 

See Related Blue Ocean Posts on Whales:

A Whale of a Tale
Old Fish, New Fish, All Things Fish, plus Whales, Sharks and Dugongs
Minke Whales Hunted: Mostly Pregnant Females!
Whale and Dolphin Watching may Not be the Low-impact, Sustainable Activity Once Thought.

 

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