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Biologist Faces 20 Years For Feeding Whale

From an outraged (at such criminal behavior) Associated Press:

Calif. marine biologist accused of feeding whale

By JASON DEAREN | AP – Fri, Jan 6, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A marine biologist who runs popular whale-watching tours on California’s Monterey Bay has been indicted for violating federal laws that protect marine mammals, though her attorneys said her interactions with the creatures were scientific research.

Nancy Black, a marine scientist whose work has been featured on PBS, National Geographic and Animal Planet, was charged Wednesday with four violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

She was accused of feeding killer whales in 2005 during a research trip, and misleading investigators by editing video footage of her encounters with other whales during a whale watching trip, and then lying about it. All of the alleged incidents occurred within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, one of 13 ocean sanctuaries established in 1992.

Prosecutors say the charges were filed after an investigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Department of Justice.

Thank goodness we have NOAA and the DOJ out there protecting us from such crimes.

In addition to her scientific work, Black owns Monterey Bay Whale Watch and operates two commercial whale-watching vessels. Black has also worked with federal agencies on the study of whales, including the National Marine Mammal Laboratory, which is part of NOAA.

If she is found guilty of editing the video and then lying about it, Black could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a half million dollars in fines. Each of the feeding charges carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine

Man, Michelle Obama’s obesity campaign is really getting tough.

Still, just as a comparison, the penalty for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the state of California is: a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Or, if a felony, a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

The average time served for murder in Florida is seven years.

According to the indictment, Black was asked to provide video taken from her whale-watching boat during an October 2005 trip that investigators believe included an illegal encounter with a humpback whale. Whale-watching boats are supposed to stay at least 100 yards from the animals.

Black is accused of providing an edited version of the video that took out the humpback encounter

In typical AP fashion, we never hear exactly what the specific charges are against Ms. Black. Apparently, she is accused of feeding whales and getting too close to them.

Perhaps California should bring back the death penalty for such cases.

Lawrence Biegel, one of Black’s lawyers, said the videos in question are often edited and offered to whale watching customers as keepsakes of their day. He said Black provided an edited copy to federal investigators, not knowing they wanted the original.

"She was out whale-watching with a full complement of passengers and spotted a humpback whale. It was a friendly whale, which loves to come up close to a boat and breach and frolic," he said. "There’s video of this, which she turned over, of this whale doing exactly that, literally going from one side of the boat to another."

She probably should have shot at the whale to keep it more than 100 yards away from her boat.

Biegel said Black never fed the creatures during her research trips.

Black was working with federal marine scientists at the time, Biegel said, to study the feeding habits of the powerful sea creatures

"In the specific incident in question, Ms. Black used an underwater camera and filmed the eating habits of killer whales who were feeding off free floating pieces of blubber from a gray whale that had been killed by a pack of killer whales," Biegel said.

"She was never hiding what she did or how she did it. In fact, she was acting with the knowledge of other marine mammal scientists, some of whom work for agencies of the federal government," he said. Biegel said Black had a permit granted by the federal government to conduct the research

Tough luck.

Stone her.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Biologist Faces 20 Years For Feeding Whale”

  1. canary says:

    In 2012 Obama’s endless Federal Govt Regulation agencies and his “Dept of Justice” are spending $Millions and $Millions on personnel and lawmakers to convict some ‘unknown nobody’ that fed a whale.

    Could it be she’s the scapegoat to turn in Discovery Channel for their bogus documentaries.

    All this for the govt to take her 22 feet blow-up dingy and feed her behind bars?

    According to SF Chronicle

    “Black’s company offers trips aboard its vessels, the Sea Wolf II and the Point Sur Clipper. If convicted, she can keep those boats but must forfeit a 22-foot inflatable dinghy that she uses for research and whale watching, authorities said.”

    She needs the help of Gov Mitt Romney who is an expert on marine studies and counting swimming pools.

    Does Romney own homes New Hampshire & disgusting San Diego ?

    Our government is killing it’s human beings.

  2. GetBackJack says:

    Was she in international waters, or inside our boundaries?

  3. proreason says:

    She should claim that she fed union Twinkies to the whales. Support for unions trumps everything, doesn’t it?

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