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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 10:40 GMT
Man fined for harassing dolphins
Bottlenose dolphin
The charges related to bottlenose dolphins in Moray
A man convicted of recklessly harassing a school of dolphins while on a jet ski has been fined 500.

Nicol Wood, 22, had earlier gone on trial over an incident with a school of bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth.

However, he then offered a plea at Banff Sheriff Court and the allegation that he intentionally disturbed the dolphins was deleted.

Wood, from Banff, is believed to be the first person convicted in Scotland for such an offence.

The offence - under the amended Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 - happened in coastal waters about half a mile offshore at Faw Bay, Macduff, in June last year.

Hopefully the conclusion to this incident will send a strong message to people who use the marine environment for their work and leisure
Dave MacKinnon
Wildlife crime officer

Dave MacKinnon, a wildlife crime officer for Grampian Police who investigated the incident, said: "I believe this is the first time a successful conviction has been achieved under the amended legislation.

"The message that we want to get out is that this activity is an offence. These marine mammals are no different from other protected wildlife.

"In their marine environment they have to feed and look after their young."

Mr MacKinnon said it was likely that they would have been disturbed in the incident and a key element of wildlife crime investigation was raising public awareness about animal welfare.

He said: "Hopefully the conclusion to this incident will send a strong message to people who use the marine environment for their work and leisure.

"What we ask is that people using such crafts do so in a responsible manner for their safety and that of others including protected wildlife."

SEE ALSO
Man denies dolphin jet ski claims
06 Mar 07 |  North East/N Isles
Dolphin jet ski suspect reported
09 Aug 06 |  North East/N Isles

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