Menu
News

Fisherman killed rescuing whale caught in fishing lines

Joe Howlett (right), pictured with his son Tyler, was killed while rescuing a whale. Picture: Facebook/Tyler Howlett
Joe Howlett (right), pictured with his son Tyler, was killed while rescuing a whale. Picture: Facebook/Tyler Howlett Supplied

A CANADIAN lobster fisherman who saved dozens of whales after they became entangled in fishing lines and nets has been killed during a rescue.

Joe Howlett, 59, was aboard a Fisheries Department vessel in search of a North Atlantic right whale that was caught in fishing rope near the island's coast, The New York Post reports.

The ill-fated rescue ended in tragedy when Mr Howlett was struck by the whale moments after it was released from the rope and began swimming away, according to the Guardian.

"They got the whale totally disentangled and then some kind of freak thing happened and the whale made a big flip," Mackie Green, of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, told Canadian press.

North American right whales, which can weigh up to 79 tonnes, are considered an endangered species.

A 2011 survey found fewer than 500 right whales in the western North Atlantic, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Canada's federal fisheries and oceans department confirmed Mr Howlett's death, and acknowledged that whale rescues can be "unique," and "entangled whales can be unpredictable."

Mr Howlett, originally from New Brunswick, moved to Campobello Island, where he started a family and a career on the sea, according to reports.

Using his deep knowledge of knots and ropes, Mr Howlett saved dozens of whales, working with the island rescue team, the Guardian reported.

"This is something he loved and there's no better feeling than getting a whale untangled," Mr Green, who was not aboard the vessel with Mr Howlett, told the Canadian Press. "I know how good he was feeling after cutting that whale clear."

"He was a great fella and he really cared about the whales," he said.

This story originally appeared in The New York Post and has been republished here with permission.

Topics:  canada editors picks world news

News Corp Australia


Axemen start season with bang in 9s

The Hoey Moey Tooheys Coffs Coast 9s final at Geoff King Motors Park was played between Group 2 rivals the Coffs Harbour Comets and the Orara Valley Axemen who won 12-10. Nines rugby league 17 February 2018 Photo: Brad Greenshields/Coffs Coast Advocate

Promised improvement more than just empty words after Coffs Coast 9s

REVEALED: Rental numbers rise at the start of the year

RENTAL RISE: The number of residential rentals available in Coffs Harbour rose marginally since the end of 2017.

Coffs records marginal rise in number of rentals

Local Partners