Protecting Spinner Dolphins in Hawaii

The NOAA has proposed a rule that they believe will help protect spinner dolphins in Hawaii. The time-area closure proposal ensures that no human or vessel is to enter the protected shorelines from 6a.m to 3 p.m. daily. This means no swimming, snorkeling, surf boarding or using boats from morning until 3 in the afternoon. This applies to locals and visitors. The rule would not apply to marine biologist or any other emergency or necessary vessel. 

NOAA proposed four bay areas in Hawaii islands and one I  Maui that they want the time-area closure enforced. These area are:

  • Kealakekua bay
  • Hōnaunau bay
  • Kauhakō bay
  • Makako bay
  • La Perouse bay 

Why do we need time-area closure?

Spinning dolphins live and thrive here. These areas are also busy with swimmers and vessels that can easily harm their safety. According to NOAA, spinner dolphins in these areas are exposed to human activity 80 percent of the time. The time-area closures rule should help the dolphins thrive and reduce their stress. These closures also mean less vessels in the area that can collide with the dolphins. 

According to recent studies, spinner dolphins rest between ten in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hopes that closing these bays from 6 a.m until 3 p.m. HST will ensure that the dolphins get undisturbed rest. After 3 p.m. people can continue their water activities but still need to stay 50 feet away from the spinner dolphins. 

Hawaii islands are full of spinner dolphins which are harassed daily. Dolphins are disturbed by human interactions and vessels, fishing lines, loud noise and human debris. NOAA Fisheries is accepting comments on the proposed rule until December 27th. So if you have a better concept, have any concerns or input, let them know before the rule is in full effect. 

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