CAMPOBELLO WHALE RESCUE TEAM
Campobello Whale Rescue Team began after Mackie Greene witnessed a fin whale wrapped in fishing gear while leading a whale watching trip. Since then he and his team have worked with over 20 whales, risking their lives driving a Zodiac up next to animals that can be 40 to 70 or more feet long, and cutting through the lines entangling them.
Bay of Fundy Whales and Fish
The Bay of Fundy is summer home to a large number of whales species. An important feeding ground for North Atlantic right whales, it is also a rich fishing area, yielding lobster, crab, shrimp, herring, haddock, pollock and cod. Minke, fin and humpback whales are also found here in significant numbers. Campobello Island, just barely over the US border from Maine, is part of New Brunswick and home to the Campobello Whale Rescue Team.
CWRT can be in the midst of the Bay's prime whale territory within an hour when a rescue is needed.
Mackie trained with the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, pioneers in whale disentangling, and is now a Level Five First Responder. Later, on a trip to Cape Cod to learn more about the whale watching industry, he met members of the New England Aquarium’s Right Whale Research Project who conduct surveys every summer in the Bay of Fundy. Back in Canada, he watched one of their disentangling efforts and offered his critique. They challenged him to do better. He did. The two groups now work closely together when whales are entangled. The Aquarium's researchers are out on the water as often as weather permits. When they find an entangled cetacean, they contact CWRT and stay with the whale until the team arrives.
Mackie, Robert, Joe, Bobby, Jerry along with scientific advisor, Dr. Moira Brown, make up the core of that team. They have worked together long enough to be able to anticipate each other’s moves, the key to a successful rescue. One man drives the boat, getting as close in as possible, while the other cuts the entangling lines. They trade off driving and cutting to keep their skills sharp. During a rescue there is seldom time to talk about the best position the boat should be in or which line to cut first. Insight and experience with both positions is critical.
When not rescuing whales, Mackie runs Island Cruises. He started the whale watching company when he realized that in order to have a boat based business of his own, tourism rather than fishing, was the key.
But Mackie's loyalty to the local fishing industry is clear. He still calls himself a fisherman, and when neighboring fishermen expressed concerns about whale rescues, he was able to honestly state that his goal was to take care of the problem, not stop the fishermen. He and the team are also often called on to identify gear that has been removed from a whale; a task for which their background gives them insider knowledge.
Campobello Whale Rescue is supported by and works closely with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the New England Aquarium and the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.
IFAW provides operational support but your donation is needed for rigging, equipment and outfitting. The Campobello Whale Rescue Team needs your support Please call or email with your donation. 506-752-1107 firstname.lastname@example.org