More than 30 swimmers accused of harassing dolphin pod off Hawaii Island
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Federal authorities are investigating after drone footage captured a group of more than 30 people who appeared to be harassing a pod of dolphins off Hawaii Island on Sunday morning.
According to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, 33 swimmers appeared to be “aggressively pursuing, corralling, and harassing the pod” in waters off Honaunau Bay.
DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers called out to the group of people and alerted them to the violation.
A joint investigation between state and federal officials is now underway.
Federal law requires people to stay 50 yards away from Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins.
If prosecuted, violators of these laws could face civil penalties up to $11,000 or up to 1 year in prison. Boaters could lose their vessel and pay up to $25,000 in penalties.
To report suspected instances of harassment for wildlife, call the NOAA hotline at 1-888-256-9840. You can also send video to RespectWildlife@noaa.gov to report a tip.
For more information on how to make a report, click here.
For more information on marine guidelines, visit NOAA’s website.
This story will be updated.
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