On October 28 2021, Hawaii will implement a law banning residents and tourists from swimming with spinner dolphins.
According to West Hawaii Today, the National Marine Fisheries Service declared the final ruling on September 28 prohibiting the popular tourist attraction.
The regulation falls under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated that the law has been in the making for some time due to unnecessary stress on the dolphins caused by interaction with humans.
The new law prohibits anything from coming within 50 yards of a spinner dolphin. This includes people, vessels, canoes, drones, paddle boats, and other objects.
“Spinner dolphins disturbed during this crucial period may engage in avoidance or distress behaviors. And a lack of consistent, undisturbed resting periods can reduce the amount of energy they have for hunting and caring for their young,” stated the NOAA.
NOAA also remarked that organized and dolphin and wildlife tours will continue but certain marine areas of Hawaii will be closed between 6.00 AM and 3.00 PM. This includes parts of Kealakekua, Hōnaunau, Kauhakō (Ho‘okena), and Makako Bays on Hawai‘i Island, and La Perouse Bay on Maui.