Hawaii Officials Initiate Cases Against Group of Swimmers Allegedly Harassing Dolphins

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Federal authorities are investigating 33 people after the group was recorded in a drone video swimming toward a pod of wild dolphins in waters off the Big Island, Hawaiian officials said Tuesday, March 28.

In a news release, the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) said that its enforcement officers came upon the 33 swimmers in Honaunau Bay on Sunday during a routine patrol.

Drone video released by the DLNR shows the group of swimmers following dolphins as they swim away. The department said the video showed swimmers “who appear to be aggressively pursuing, corralling and harassing the pod.”

In September 2021, US regulators prohibited swimming with Hawaii’s spinner dolphins to protect the playful nocturnal species from people seeking close encounters with them.

The rule applies to areas within two nautical miles (3.7 kilometers) of the Hawaiian Islands and in designated waters surrounded by the islands of Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe. Credit: DLNR Hawaii via Storyful