Officials Warn Boaters to Avoid Humpback Whales Spotted Near San Francisco

San Francisco Bay Area wildlife officials are warning boaters to stay away from humpback whales being lured "dangerously close to shore" by an influx of small fish in the area.

Humpbacks have been spotted recently from coastal hillsides near San Francisco, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials announced Monday, adding that anyone who intentionally approaches a humpback – a federally protected species – could faces thousands in fines. [[260294231, R]]

When feeding near shore and in adjacent sanctuary waters, the whales are threatened by harassment from boaters and potential ship strikes, according to NOAA.

Officials recommend boaters keep at least 300 feet away from humpback whales.

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