Help Protect Maui’s Magnificent Marine AnimalsMaui

The gentle waters that lap upon Maui’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—also are protected by the MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT.

Hawai‘i’s MARINE ANIMALS are fascinating and easily observed creatures. During the winter humpback season, it’s common to see 40-TON WHALES with 15-foot pectoral fins breaching offshore, and resident SPINNER DOLPHINS can be spotted flashing through the surf any day. GIANT GREEN SEA TURTLES make a habit of feeding near shore, and occasionally, an ENDANGERED HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL, sometimes with a pup, will lounge on the beach, basking in the sun much like you.


1. View from a distance. Consider binoculars.

2. Stay at least 100 yards from humpback whales, 50 yards from dolphins and monk seals.

3. It is legal for an animal to approach you, but it is against the law for you to approach, chase, surround, touch or swim with marine mammals.

4. Do not harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammal.

5. Limit observation time to 30 minutes.

6. Feeding marine mammals is prohibited under federal law. Laws are enforced, illegal activities are prosecuted, and fines are administered.

To report suspected violations, call the NOAA ENFORCEMENT HOTLINE (800-853-1964). For more information, check with the HAWAIIAN ISLANDS HUMPBACK WHALE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY in Kihei (808-292-2372), the NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service in Honolulu (808-944-2200) or the DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES in Honolulu (808-587-0100) or

Local author and proprietor Robert Wintner, also known as SNORKEL BOB, has several books available that dive deeper into the topic of Hawai‘i’s protected reefs and the marine animals that call them home. Neptune Speaks chronicles the perils of trafficking in wildlife for pet trading, and asks questions like, “Why are colorful reef fish 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. Wintner’s other novel, Reefdog, is a tale of exotic characters from Hawai‘i, Tahiti and L.A., as one man reconciles livelihood and a hot temper with those who would kill nature for money (Yucca Publishing, NY).

All books are available at Snorkel Bob’s shops and One-hundred percent of the sales’ proceeds support the campaign to end the aquarium trade.

SNORKEL BOB’S (800) 262-7725 HONOKOWAI; (808) 667-9999 NORTH KIHEI; (808) 875-618SOUTH KIHEI; (808) 879-7449LAHAINA; (808) 661-4421 NAPILI; (808) 669-9603WAILEA (808) 874-0011