Hawaii officials say 33 swimmers were harassing dolphins


HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii authorities announced Tuesday that 33 people have been referred to U.S. law enforcement by a group accused of harassing a pod of wild dolphins in waters off the Big Island of Hawaii.

It is against federal law to swim within 50 yards (45 m) of spinner dolphins in Hawaiian waters.of Ban It will come into force in 2021 amid concerns that so many tourists are swimming with dolphins that nocturnal animals will not get the rest they need during the day to forage at night. rice field.

This rule applies to areas within 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) of the Hawaiian Islands and to designated waters bounded by Lanai, Maui and Kahoolawe.

Law enforcement officers encountered 33 swimmers at Honaunau Bay during routine patrols on Sunday, the Department of Homeland and Natural Resources said in a news release.

Aerial footage captured by a drone shows snorkelers chasing the dolphins as they swim away. The department said the video and photos show the swimmer “appearing to actively pursue, corral and harass her pod.”

Bailiffs contacted the group while they were in the water and told them about the breach. A uniformed officer met the swimmer on land where state and federal officials launched a joint investigation.

spinner dolphins in hawaii It feasts on fish and small crustaceans that emerge from the ocean depths at night. As the sun rises, head to shallow bays to hide from tiger sharks and other predators.

To the untrained eye, dolphins appear to be awake during the day as they swim.

However, they are awake to rest half of their brain and raise the other half to the surface to breathe, so they may be asleep even while moving through the water.