The Department of Land and Natural Resources in Hawaii is investigating a group of 33 swimmers who were allegedly caught "aggressively pursuing, corralling, and harassing" a pod of dolphins. In a release, the department said that the incident took place on Sunday in the waters off Honaunau Bay near Hawaii's Big Island and even posted a video on its website. The footage has been captured by a drone and shows the group of people going after a pod of dolphins in all directions and the helpless mammals swimming away.
Officers from the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DO-CARE) contacted the group of 33 in the water and alerted them to the violation, the Land and Natural Resources Department said in a press release.
"They were met by uniformed officers on land, where a joint investigation was initiated by DOCARE and the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement," the release further said.
"Hawaii's DOCARE are deputized as federal officers and are authorized to enforce federal marine laws," according to the release posted on the department's website.
The law about Hawaiian spinner dolphin has been formulated by the fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It prohibits anyone from coming within 50 yards of a dolphin that is also within two nautical miles from shore of the main Hawaiian Islands.
Under the law, the violators can face a maximum fine of $20,000 or one year in jail.
As per New York Post, spinner dolphins are nocturnal mammals that hunt for their prey during the night.
Their diets consist of feeding on small fish, shrimp and squid.