[NYCkayaker] East River Dolphin (photos + video)

Christopher Schiffner chris@schiffner.com
Mon Mar 18 12:09:12 EDT 2013

As the water quality improves and sea mammals begin exploring our local 
waterways again, I expect we'll have many more encounters. My greatest 
concern would be an influx of people hoping for a chance encounter. 
Keeping this in mind I figured it was worth noting the viewing code of 
conduct for mammals protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

1. Remain a respectful distance from marine mammals and sea turtles. The 
minimum recommended distances are:
         *dolphins, porpoises, seals = 50 yards
         *sea turtles = 50 yards
         *whales = 100 yards. Federal law prohibits all approaches to 
right whales within 500 yards.
2. Time spent observing marine mammals and sea turtles should be limited 
to 1/2 hour.
3. Marine mammals and sea turtles should not be encircled or trapped 
between watercraft, or watercraft and shore.
4. If approached by a marine mammal or sea turtle, put your watercraft's 
engine in neutral and allow the animal to pass. Any vessel movement 
should be from the rear of the animal. Pursuit of marine mammals and sea 
turtles is prohibited by Federal law.
5. Never feed or attempt to feed marine mammals or sea turtles. Federal 
law prohibits feeding or attempting to feed marine mammals.

Violations can be prosecuted either civilly or criminally and are 
punishable by up to fines of $100,000 and/or up to a year in jail.

Christopher Schiffner

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