Nancy Black, a 49-year-old marine biologist and the co-owner of a whale watching operation in Monterey, California, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she was feeding killer whales during two filming expeditions. According to the Monterey County Herald, the government has also been investigating the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Futures organization, which was filming in the same area at the same time, for its PBS show, The Gray Whale Obstacle Course. But the group has not been indicted. Black has worked as an expedition team member for the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventures team.
The charges stem from incidents in 2004 and 2005. Black says that after a group of killer whales had killed a gray whale, she took some of the dead whale's blubber that was floating in the water and put a line through it, holding one end of the line so that the blubber would float in the water near the boat. She then filmed the orcas grabbing the blubber.