Florida swimmers face jail for riding a whale

Sperm whale 
By: Anika Rao 

(Scroll down for video) The U.S. government has a message for all beach goers, stay away from the fish or face jail.

Federal authorities are searching for the two swimmers, who were seen riding a whale in South Florida.

A Pompano Beach resident took a photo of a man riding a whale on Sunday morning. Swimmers could face a misdemeanor conviction for harassing a marine mammal, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.

City officials had hauled the 40 foot whale out to sea rather than allow scientists to perform a necropsy. Federal officials argued that learning the animal's cause of death would provide no valuable information for conservation.

Also, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration asks anyone with information about the swimmers to call their hotline at 800-856-1964.