Hawai‘i Island’s shores are alive with wildlife. Some of these animals, like humpback whales, Hawaiian monk seals and sea turtles, are considered ENDANGERED SPECIES and are protected by federal laws. Dolphins and other whales, though not endangered, are protected by the MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT.
Hawai‘i’s marine mammals are fascinating and easily observed creatures, which are the main reasons why nature-based tourism is a popular segment of the visitor market. Scores of tour- boat companies and water-based activities on Hawai‘i Island cater to whale and dolphin watching.
1. Stay at least 100 yards from humpback whales and 50 yards from dolphins, monk seals and sea turtles.
2. It is against the law to approach, chase, surround, touch or swim with marine mammals, including dolphins.
3. If approached by a marine mammal or turtle while on a boat, put the engine in neutral, and allow the animal to pass.
4. Do not harass, swim with, capture or kill any marine mammal.
5. Feeding marine mammals is prohibited under federal law.
6. To report suspected violations, call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964.
Local author and proprietor Robert Wintner, also known as SNORKEL BOB (snorkelbob.com), has several books available that dive deeper into the topic of Hawai‘i’s protected reefs and the marine animals that call them home.
chronicles the perils of trafficking in wildlife for pet trading, and asks questions like, “Why are colorful reef fi sh still taken in Hawai‘i with no limit on the catch and no constraint on rare, endemic or vanishing species?” The book includes 540 photos by Wintner from Hawai‘i, Palau, Fiji and St. Croix, as well as 50 minutes of U/W footage on DVD.
The book is available at Snorkel Bob’s shops and amazon.com. One- hundred percent of the proceeds support the campaign to end the aquarium trade.
SNORKEL BOB’S 808-329-0770 KONA OR 808-885-9499 MAUNA LANI (KOHALA COAST/WAIKOLOA)