NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A tuna fisherman has been accused of shooting at pilot whales from his vessel with a World War II-era rifle.
Daniel Archibald surrendered Thursday to face the charges and was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.
Archibald, who's from Cape May, widely considered America's oldest seaside resort, used a Mosin-Nagant rifle to shoot at pilot whales from the vessel Capt. Bob, the U.S. attorney's office for New Jersey said.
A whale shot with a bullet from such a rifle was beached and then died in Allenhurst, more than 100 miles northeast of Cape May, in September 2011.
Authorities said Archibald told them he had "sprayed" fire at pilot whales, which are extremely social animals, about a month earlier to chase them away from his vessel's fishing lines.
Archibald's lawyer Bill Hughes had his doubts about the case.
"I seriously question the U.S. attorney's decisions with respect to this case," Hughes said. "I wish the government had done a few things such as a fuller investigation and read the law."
Under a 1972 federal law, it's illegal to hunt, kill, capture or harass any marine mammal. The law exempts from penalties commercial fishermen who harm marine mammals incidentally.
Hughes said his client is cooperating with authorities.