State of Hawaiʻi pursuing cases against 33 swimmers chasing dolphins in Hōnaunau Bay
The state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers initiated cases against 33 swimmers actively pursuing a pod of dolphins on Sunday morning in Hōnaunau Bay on the Big Island.
During a routine patrol in the South Kona District, the officers took photographs and drone video showing the large group of swimmers appearing to be aggressively pursuing, corralling and harassing the pod.
The officers contacted the swimmers in the water and alerted them to the violation. They were met by uniformed officers on land, where a joint state and federal investigation was initiated.
Under the Joint Enforcement Agreement with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the state resources officers are deputized as federal officers and are authorized to enforce federal marine laws, such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Cases like these are worked jointly and are referred to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement for review and final disposition.
“It is an excellent partnership where it is a combined joint effort to accomplish the same goal of protecting the living marine resources,” the state Department of Land and Natural Resources stated in a press release.