Harassing Strand Feeding Dolphins

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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.

In the meantime, anyone interested is invited to contact Cheryl Munday at NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office: cheryl.munday@noaa.gov727-824-5335.

-Submitted by John Turner, Councilman, Town of Seabrook Island

This entry was posted in Nature, Town of SBI. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Harassing Strand Feeding Dolphins

  1. Jean Dunn says:

    Please make sure that all visitors, in addition to Seabrookers are advised and educated about the importance of avoiding harassing strand feeding dolphins. Thank you.

  2. Renee wilson says:

    Thank goodness for the encouraging of education on our beautiful island!

  3. Elizabeth Bryan says:

    The video cited is THREE years old. Has NOAA Fisheries witnessed this illegal act recently? Is Kiawah receiving the same notice?

    Perhaps NOAA Fisheries should also contact YouTube to request the video and others like them be removed.

    • Elizabeth – The post states that the video is an example of the illegal activities. It is meant to visually demonstrate the ongoing issue of harassing strand feeding.
      We appreciate your comment and thank you for following Tidelines.

  4. Janie Sigmon says:

    As a frequent part-time resident of Seabrook Island and an avid photographer, I enjoy all of the nature on the island and especially the dolphins. Over the years I’ve seen many examples of disturbing and even illegal activity by people out on the beach. One family let their dog loose to jump on the dolphins. Many people get much too close when trying to take pictures with their cell phones. I’ve seen party boats anchored on the shoreline with music blaring and folks using the dunes as a bathroom. And in May I saw residents from Marsh Gate drive their boat to the inlet, anchor, and begin to walk the beach. The women climbed through the bird nesting area in the dunes for 30 minutes before I finally told them that this was illegal and harmful.

    It would be helpful if the phone number for the Beach Patrol was posted on signs at the ends of the island and the ends of the boardwalks, along with a very basic list of rules — short, sweet, and to the point. Even though I dislike the idea of having signs mar the beauty of the beach, they may deter some of this bad behavior and give more leverage when “educators” try to preserve our island and its natural residents. — Janie Sigmon

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