Saturday, October 14, 2006

Proposed protective rules for Spinner dolphins in Hawaiian waters

The Department of Land and Natural Resources today issued a statement in support of federal efforts to provide additional protection to spinner dolphins whose daytime rest periods are often disturbed by tour boats, kayakers, snorkelers and other ocean users.

The statement by DLNR Chairman Peter Young and three other department officials said the state supports "any reasonable effort to prevent such disturbance."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service is developing an environmental impact statement and proposed dolphin protection rules to govern interactions between humans and spinner dolphins.

The DLNR officials also clarified that the state has no authority to regulate activities involving spinner dolphins because the marine mammals are not listed as endangered species. However, the dolphins are covered under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, with NOAA responsible for enforcement.

The officials said the state plans to work with NOAA to promote public compliance with any new dolphin protection measures that may result from the federal agency's rule-making process.
"We are confident there are management solutions that will allow for enjoyable, educational, economically viable and culturally appropriate dolphin watching activities in Hawai'i. We continue to support responsible shore-based and boat-based dolphin watching, especially during the early morning and late afternoon, when dolphins are not in their deep resting phase and more active ... ," the DLNR statement said.

NOAA will hold public meetings on proposed regulations on interactions between humans and spinner dolphins Tuesday at McCoy Pavilion in Ala Moana Park; Thursday at the Aloha Beach Resort on Kaua'i; Oct. 25 at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary headquarters in Kihei, Maui; and Oct. 26 at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua, Kona. All meetings are from 6 to 9 p.m.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"