ST. ANDREWS, New Brunswick (AP) — Members of the marine community in the U.S. and Canada say a Canadian fisherman who died freeing a whale from fishing gear was a longtime whale advocate who bridged gaps between fishing and conservation.
Joe Howlett was killed Monday after freeing a North Atlantic right whale that had been entangled in fishing gear off New Brunswick. A close friend of his said the 59-year-old Howlett was hit by the whale just after it was cut free and started swimming away.
The New England Aquarium says Howlett was a lobsterman, captain and whale rescue expert.
Chris Oliver, assistant administrator of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries department, says in a statement the agency is suspending whale entanglement response efforts until further notice to review its "own emergency response protocols."