Friday, April 3, 2009

What "You Tube" Does For Enforcement

Interesting news this week from You Tube and NOAA. Turns out videos posted on You Tube and other online media sites are being watched by enforcement officials - against illegal dolphin feeding.

As a case point to the commercial shark diving industry, we too are being watched. Video's posted to You Tube and other online media sites from South Africa, to the Bahamas and Mexico are being used in ways that are detrimental to our industry.

Viral video spreads faster than traditional media and is more effective in making a case for or against commercial shark diving:

Wildlife protection agencies have a new tool at their disposal - YouTube.

The video-sharing Web site allowed Al Samuels, a special agent with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's office for law enforcement, to find a record of a Georgia shrimper and guests on his boat feeding dolphins near Tybee Island.

"They had taken the bycatch and were using it to feed dolphins, and that was on YouTube," he said. "I got in touch and issued them a warning." Because the investigation remains open, Samuels could not disclose the name of the shrimper or any other details.

However, a video that fits the description was still posted Thursday on YouTube. The 18-minute clip shows a family on the boat holding fish overboard as dolphins beg and jump out of the water.

What looks like harmless fun is not, wildlife officials say.

Complete Story

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