FWC Takes Alternative Approach to Dolphin Feeding Problem

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As local water related businesses prepare for the tourist season, state wildlife officials want to make sure groups that interact with dolphins are following the law and they're using a proactive approach.

Wednesday, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials met with some of the tour operators to try a new approach to prevention - education.

While dolphin feeding has been illegal for many years, the practice continues. Wildlife officials use undercover operations to catch commercial boats violating the law and say around 70% of their operations end up with a violation being found.

Besides the obvious problem of dolphins losing the ability to feed themselves due to a dependence on humans, experts say the feedings also make them more aggressive. Officials say they've seen multiple incidents where people have been bitten on their arms and hands.

People caught violating dolphin regulations can face up to a $5,000 fine.