CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N.B. — A small island community in New Brunswick is mourning the loss of a fisherman who friends say was killed moments after freeing a whale that was entangled in fishing line.
Mackie Green of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team said Joe Howlett was on board a Fisheries Department rib vessel off Shippagan on Monday to help cut heavy lines from a large whale.
Green was not on the boat but says he was told the 59-year-old lobster fisherman, who founded the rescue team with Green in 2002, was hit by the whale just after it was cut free and beginning to swim away.
A statement from Fisheries late Monday said only that someone was killed on board one of its vessels and would not provide any details out of respect for family members.
Jerry Conway of the Canadian Whale Institute said today that Howlett was on board a research vessel when he joined Fisheries officials to help free the whale, just days after he had freed another North Atlantic right whale in roughly the same area.
Green says Howlett was originally from Chester, N.S., but moved to Campobello Island where he was married and has two adult sons.
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