Proposed Ban On Swimming With Spinner Dolphins

Proposed Ban On Swimming With Spinner Dolphins

In Hawaii, Federal regulators are proposing to ban swimming with Spinner dolphins in close proximity. Under the new proposed ban, swimmers and snorkelers would need to stay at least 50 yards away from the dolphins. Some may argue that the move could be a heavy blow to the State, as it is one of the most popular tourist activities and has a booming industry around it.  The ban will encompass approximately 2 nautical miles from the main Hawaiian Islands, an area where tour companies would take customers  to interact with the creatures.  Spinner dolphins feed on fish and small crustaceans that surface from the ocean depths at night and during the day gather in areas close to shore to hide from predators such as tiger sharks. They are easy to find by these tour groups as the dolphins usually rest in the same general area each day.

Richard Holland, CEO of Dolphins and You, which conducts dolphin tours said, “If you’re doing work that helps people— that enlightens them, inspires them, makes them feel good — that’s a good thing. There’s no need to take that away.”

Those who support the ban such as Ann Garrett, assistant regional administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s stated that dolphins have been found to be using more energy  as they are forced to be vigilant as people approach their pods. This hyper vigilance can eventually result in the animals becoming stressed and may have an impact on reproductive behavior.

The federal agency plans to hold public meetings on the regulations next month and expects to make a final decision next year.

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