A prominent Monterey marine biologist who specializes in the study of whales is the target of a federal grand jury indictment accusing her of violating various marine mammal protection laws, including two alleged instances in which she fed a killer whale in Monterey Bay's waters.
Nancy Black, whose expertise on killer whales and other species has been featured everywhere from National Geographic to Animal Planet, was charged in San Jose federal court Wednesday with committing the violations in 2004 and 2005 while operating her whale watching business in Monterey Bay.
The four-page indictment alleges that Black twice violated provisions of federal laws barring a host of activities involving protected marine mammals in national marine sanctuaries such as Monterey Bay. Among other things, the indictment alleges that Black violated provisions that bar the feeding, or attempted feeding, of whales, a rare prosecution under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Black's lawyers strongly defended her conduct, saying she has taken the position since confronted by the government in 2006 "that she broke no laws."
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