A US agency is investigating reports of illegal dolphin poaching in the Pacific territory of Guam's coastal waters.
Eyewitness accounts have prompted the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to look for a group of people spotted harpooning dolphins off Guam's south-western coast last weekend.
"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, take, capture, collect or harass dolphins, and those who do so could face up to $20,000 in fines and one year in jail.
Agent Raterman says investigations are still being carried out on the poaching allegations and he could not share information at this time.
"We have no record of a dolphin being killed and right now 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.
Agent 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.
"Spinner dolphins are being purposely cut off and harassed so that they're more agitated and thus they spin, so that people in tour groups may have a better show.
Agent Raterman says when it comes to dolphin protection, he believes education is as important as enforcement.
"One of my jobs is enforcement of laws and another one of my jobs is community outreach. I need to spend more time on [doing\ community outreach to people," he said.
"You can view these beautiful creatures out on the ocean but give them due respect...observe them more from a distance and let them go about their normal activities."