By Sonia Lavina
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has opened a criminal investigation prompted by eyewitnesses who saw a group of people harpooning dolphins off Guam’s southwestern coast last weekend, reported the Australia Network News today, May 17.
"Members of communities state they may have seen individuals on a boat, possibly harpooning a dolphin," NOAA Special Agent Charles Raterman said.
It is illegal under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act to hunt, kill, capture, collect or harass dolphins. Those who harass dolphins could face $20,000 in fines and one year in jail.
Raterman said investigations are still being carried out on the poaching accusations and could not comment further at this time.
"If anyone has any information of this, I would certainly like to hear it and speak with them and also speak with anyone who could have been involved in this," he said.
Raterman is also concerned about the general harassment of spinner dolphins.
"The harassment of dolphins has been going on for some time but has probably picked up in recent days with more tourism interest," he said.
Raterman notes that Spinner dolphins are being purposely harassed so that they are more agitated and thus spin, so that people in tour groups may have a better view. More....