The Denver Post - - NEWS -

The United States is tem­po­rar­ily halt­ing ef­forts to res­cue large whales trapped in fish­ing gear af­ter the death of a Cana­dian fish­er­man last week.

Joe Howlett, founder of the Cam­po­bello Whale Res­cue Team, was killed Mon­day af­ter free­ing a trapped North At­lantic right whale off the coast of New Brunswick, a Cana­dian prov­ince next to Maine. De­tails about how he was killed were slim, but Mackie Greene, cap­tain of the whale res­cue group, told The Cana­dian Press that the whale “made a big flip” af­ter it was freed and some­how struck Howlett.

It’s un­known how long the sus­pen­sion will stay in place.

The Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion is “sus­pend­ing all large whale en­tan­gle­ment re­sponse ac­tiv­i­ties na­tion­ally un­til fur­ther no­tice, in or­der to review our own emer­gency re­sponse pro­to­cols in light of this event,” Kate Bro­gan, spokes­woman for the NOAA fish­eries divi­sion, said in a state­ment.

Howlett was de­scribed as “one of the few cer­ti­fied whale dis­en­tan­gle­ment ex­perts in Canada.”

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