PORTLAND, Maine — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says rare right whales will be considered for disentanglement from fishing gear on a “case by case basis” in the future.

The agency suspended efforts to free whales tangled in fishing line last week after a Canadian rescuer was killed by a right whale after freeing it. It has since announced that whale disentanglement will go forward, with rescue teams resuming most operations.

One of the rarest whales is the North Atlantic right whale. Veteran whale rescuer Joe Howlett died on July 10 after freeing a right whale off New Brunswick, Canada.

NOAA says right whales can be unpredictable. The agency says authorization for entanglement response to rights will depend on the circumstances of the case and the availability of highly trained responders.

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