Hawaii authorities say 33 swimmers were harassing dolphins
Hawaii authorities on Tuesday say they have referred 33 people to U.S. law enforcement after the group allegedly harassed a pod of wild dolphins in waters off the Big Island.
It's against federal law to swim within 45 meters of spinner dolphins in Hawaii's near shore waters. The prohibition went into effect in 2021 amid concerns that so many tourists were swimming with dolphins that the nocturnal animals weren't getting the rest they need during the day to be able to forage for food at night.
The rule applies to areas within 3.7 kilometers of the Hawaiian Islands and in designated waters surrounded by the islands of Lanai, Maui and Kahoolawe.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a news release that its enforcement officers came upon the 33 swimmers in Honaunau Bay on Sunday during a routine patrol.