Police plea after reports of jet-skiers harassing dolphins off North East coast

Northumbria Police have urged jet-skiers and other watercraft users to keep their distance from dolphins.

Sunday, 7th June 2020, 5:25 pm

The force received two separate reports of dolphins being harassed by people on jet-skis in Berwick and Whitley Bay last weekend.

Officers were able to view CCTV of both incidents and while they are satisfied neither were malicious, they issued words of advice to educate those involved.

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One of the dolphins which has been spotted off the North East coast in recent weeks

Now, specialist marine wildlife officer Constable Paul Cullen, from the marine unit, has urged people to learn more about how to behave around the mammals to keep them safe.

He said: “We know how excited people are to see the dolphins but sadly this is becoming a common problem on our waters with incidents like this being reported to us every year.

“Human interaction can have devastating effects on some wildlife so I would like to encourage jet skiers and watercraft users to think carefully about how they behave while out on the water.

Constable Paul Cullen of Northumbria Police's marine unit.

“The most important thing to remember is if you do see dolphins, place your engines in neutral until they have moved away from you – and please, never get closer than 100m to them.

“We know the majority of people do observe the dolphins in a sensible and considerate way, but sadly it only takes a handful of instances to frighten the mammals and see them leave our waters in search of somewhere safer.

“It is illegal to harass, feed, chase and touch marine mammals in the wild and while we always urge water users to be vigilant and respectful, I would like to stress that you can be prosecuted for these offences.

“It is important people take responsibility for their behaviour while out on our waters, not only regarding our marine wildlife, but with regards to their conduct. Just like you would follow speed restrictions and learn the rules of the road – the same applies to our waterways.

“We really appreciate the passion people have in protecting wildlife and I encourage all members of the public to carry on doing so, and helping us investigate marine crime.”

If you see inappropriate behaviour, please report it by calling 101 or via the Northumbria Police website.

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