More than 30 swimmers accused of harassing dolphin pod off Hawaii Island, officials say
HONOLULU (KHNL/Gray News) - Federal authorities are investigating after drone video caught a group of more than 30 people who appeared to be harassing a pod of dolphins off the island of Hawaii Sunday morning.
According to the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, 33 swimmers appeared to be “aggressively pursuing, corralling, and harassing the pod” in waters off Honaunau Bay.
Officials said the group of people were called out and alerted of the violation.
An 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 one 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.
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