UPDATE: NOAA Gives Man Warning for Harassing Whale

Written by on February 25, 2013 in Policy & Ocean Law, Whales & Dolphins

Back in December, we shared the unfortunate news about a sperm whale that died after drifting into shallow waters near Pompano Beach, FL. While that whale was still alive, although sick and/or injured, a swimmer was photographed swimming next to and climbing on top of it.

Harassing a whale is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) which is why the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has given the man a written warning. He was lucky to get only a warning, though, because violating the MMPA could result in criminal penalties up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison.

Watch this video from NBC to learn more about the case:

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

To learn more:

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). Photo credit: Christin Khan, NOAA/NEFSC.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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3 Reader Comments

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  1. Sarah Kincaid says:

    I can’t wrap my head around the possible motive for climbing on top of a whale, whether or not the animal was in distress. Don’t we humans do a bang-up job of exercising dominion over all living things?

    It’s a shame that the names of the swimmers weren’t publicized. A warning is a good start, but the episode deserves more press. Thank you for your efforts.

  2. Emily says:

    Thanks for your response, Sarah. It seems that things like this happen far too often, doesn’t it? I hate to add fuel to the fire, but it happened again just last week! Another man in Florida is facing fines of up to $500 and 6 months in jail for harassing a manatee calf — warning, the pictures will make you angry.

  3. Tom says:

    Seriously, what is wrong with people? I like Sarah’s comment about the inhumanity of humans. And I agree that more publicity about these crimes, and the penalties, is appropriate.