There’s a euphoric little scene in the animated film “Finding Nemo” where the father of the clownfish title character latches onto a sea turtle and takes a wild ride in the ocean currents.
Maybe that’s what inspired some local teens to grab a honu earlier this month in the waters of Waimea Bay.
Regardless, they should have known better than to harass a recovering species that is protected by state and federal laws, according to Hawaii Land and Natural Resources Chair William Aila.
There’s no reason anyone who lives in the Aloha State should not know that touching, feeding, riding, pursuing, harming or otherwise altering a turtle’s behavior is illegal, he said.
Noting the possible exception of a foreign tourist who just landed in Hawaii, Aila said that even then people should have enough common sense to know that these are wild animals that should be respected.
The June 11 incident at Waimea Bay ended with someone who was swimming nearby stopping and scolding the teens who then skulked off, leaving the turtle alone.
The green sea turtle got a respite, but as it swam along in the shallow waters along the coastline it encountered another group of kids and adults, who similarly started touching it and pointing their underwater cameras toward its face.
The scenes were observed — and photographed — by a witness who shared the photos with