Surfer Could Be Fined for Riding Turtle

Questions linger about O'Brien's intent

Nov 1, 2011
Outside Magazine

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is investigating whether a surfer who posed for a photograph while riding a green sea turtle in Hawaii has violated the federal Endangered Species Act. O'Brien also posted a message to his Tumblr account detailing the threat to green sea turtles from fibropapillomatosis, a virus that causes tumor growth and has damaged turtle populations worldwide. The picture shows O'Brien straddling the turtle's back. Pat Opay, NOAA endangered species branch head, says the agency could levy a fine of $13,000.

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