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Fisherman accused of killing whale with World War II gun

Daniel Archibald is accused of shooting the pilot whale using a Mosin-Nagant, a rifle from World War II.

By Ben Hooper
Fisherman accused of killing whale with World War II gun
The boat captain says he shot a pilot whales to scare them away. Photo by Moises Fernandez Acosta/Shutterstock

CAPE MAY, Mass., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts man accused of using a World War II-era rifle to shoot a pilot whale has been charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Authorities said Daniel Archibald, 27, of Cape May, admitted to shooting his Mosin-Nagant, a World War II-era rifle, at pilot whales while fishing for tuna aboard his vessel, the Capt. Bob, around the same time a pilot whale became beached in Allenhurst on Sept. 24, 2011. Charges were filed Thursday after a long investigation.

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The whale, which died shortly after becoming beached, was found to have been shot in the jaw with a 30-caliber bullet that matched the gun seized from Archibald's boat.

Investigators said Archibald posted a photo to Facebook of a partially eaten tuna on a hook with the caption, "Thanks a lot pilot whales."

"He admitted that he shot at pilot whales with the Mosin-Nagant around the time the pilot whale had been shot -- in or about August 2011," the criminal complaint filed by Special Agent Matthew Gilmore of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reads. "Defendant Archibald claimed that he had 'sprayed' bullets at pilot whales in an effort to chase them away and that at times the whales might have been close to the Capt. Bob."

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Archibald was charged with a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a statutory maximum fine of $100,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense.

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