The Town received a letter from NOAA Fisheries regarding people on Seabrook harassing strand feeding dolphins. A YouTube video was cited as an example of the type of illegal activities that have been observed by trained observers from the Kiawah side of Cap’n Sams Inlet.
You can watch it by clicking here.
The videographer’s behavior is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, because she is crowding the dolphins–getting right on top of them to take pictures. At one point a mature adult man is seen apparently jumping into the water along side of the dolphins. That’s not only illegal, but basically dumb; dolphins are wild animals, they can weigh 200-300 pounds, they have teeth, and when chasing bait fish they’re not likely to distinguish between the fish and some one’s fingers and toes.
The NOAA letter called on the Town to help educate Seabrookers on the importance of avoiding harassing strand feeding dolphins–basically to stay several feet away from the shore and not make disruptive gestures or noises. This article is submitted as a first step in that educational effort.
In addition, NOAA Fisheries would like to implement a “Dolphin Conservation Education Program” on Seabrook. This would involve 1-2 trained “educators” (Seabrookers) interacting with beach goers during prime strand feeding times stressing the importance of maintaining distance from the dolphins. I’ll put more details about this program in an upcoming Tidelines and Seabrooker article and will put it before the POA Environment Committee.
-Submitted by John Turner, Councilman, Town of Seabrook Island