Featured Image Credit: International Fund for Animal Welfare, via YouTube
As co-founder of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, Joe Howlett of Campobello Island, N.B. dedicated his entire life to rescuing whales. Being a fisherman, he felt it was his responsibility to help free whales tangled up in fishing gear. Unfortunately, his life ended on July 10, 2017 while doing the very thing he “lived and breathed” for.
Howlett was working on a Department of Fisheries and Oceans “fast response” vessel when a call came in about a North Atlantic right whale entangled in fishing lines just off the coast of New Brunswick, Canada. Shortly after helping untangle the endangered whale, Howlett was struck when it was freed and began to swim away.
The minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic LeBlanc, said participating in whale rescue operations “requires immense bravery and a passion for the welfare of marine mammals” and described Mr. Howlett as an “irreplaceable member of the whale rescue community.”
In 2013, Howlett did an interview with CBC Mainstreet saying rescuing the whales is “not a scary thing.” “I’m a fisherman and I’ve been fishing for half of my life, and I know what it’s all about with ropes and things like that.”
Joe Howlett is remembered as a brave and dedicated volunteer who helped save dozens of whales over the last 15 years. Although he leaves behind a wife and two sons, those close to him take comfort and knowing he passed away doing something he was utterly devoted to and passionate about.