Help Pro­tect Hawai‘i’s Marine An­i­mals

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - WATERWORLD -

The Big 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 is one rea­son na­ture-based tourism is a pop­u­lar seg­ment of the vis­i­tor mar­ket. Scores of tour boat com­pa­nies and water-based ac­tiv­i­ties on the Big Is­land cater to whale and dol­phin watch­ing. Rules and guide­lines to fol­low when view­ing marine wildlife: 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, hunt, 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, has sev­eral books avail­able that dive deeper into the topic of Hawai‘i’s pro­tected reefs and the marine an­i­mals that call them home. Ev­ery Fish Tells as Story records the tales of fish and their un­der­wa­ter com­mu­ni­ties through stun­ning pho­tos taken by Snorkel Bob him­self, while the tome Nep­tune Speaks and the novel Flame An­gels both speak to the val­ues of wilder­ness and the need to pro­tect our nat­u­ral re­sources.

All books are avail­able at Snorkel Bob out­fit­ters on all Is­lands, and 100 per­cent of pro­ceeds from book sales ac­crue to the cam­paign to stop the aquar­ium trade.

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