New Brunswick whale rescue team frees first entangled whale since team member’s death

Members of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team attempt to disentangle a humpback whale calf on July 14, 2018 near Brier Island, N.S. Courtesy of Neil Green

A whale rescue team freed an entangled humpback whale calf on Saturday in the team’s first emergency response since one of its members, Joe Howlett, died during a rescue last year.

According to a Facebook post from the Marine Animal Response Society, the rescue was carried out by the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, a specially-trained team who are based out of Campobello Island, N.B.

READ MORE: New Brunswick island mourns fisherman who freed dozens of entangled whales

The rescue occurred just off of Brier Island, N.S., located in the Bay of Fundy. A vessel from Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises and Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Westport were also on scene to lend a hand.

The whale reportedly had lines wrapped around its head and it took the rescue team more than four hours to disentangle the whale calf.

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‘We miss Joe’

Howlett died during the rescue of a North Atlantic right whale on July 10, 2017.

Howlett and Mack Greene helped found the Campobello rescue team in 2002, and during the last 15 years, the organization they created has rescued roughly two dozen whales.

Greene, who is now the director of the rescue team, was not able to speak with Global News on Sunday.

He was back on the water captaining a whale-watching tour.

Greene told the CBC that Howlett was on his mind as he headed out to the rescue on Saturday.

“It’s been a struggle,” Greene told the CBC. “Obviously Joe was a very close friend and team member.”

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“Yeah, I think of Joe daily, that’s for sure,” Greene said.

“It was great. We miss Joe. Joe was great at it, you know, but we got the job done.”

Neil Green, a crew member of CCGS Westport, shared photos of the rescue on his Facebook page.

READ MORE: Fisheries Department says more staff on waters to protect whales in Canada

An entangled North Atlantic right whale was also spotted in the Bay of Fundy this weekend.

In a social media post on Saturday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) confirmed they have received a report that an entangled right whale was seen off Miscou, N.B., on Friday.

Although they carried extensive efforts, the DFO announced on Saturday that they had not been able to locate the right whale.

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