The US government has issued new rules for swimming near spinner dolphins off Hawaii.
According to a notice issued this week, swimmers and vessels are now prohibited from getting any closer than 50 yards (4.57m) to the dolphins, “including approach by interception.”
“These regulatory measures are intended to prevent take of Hawaiian spinner dolphins from occurring in marine areas where viewing pressures are most prevalent; the swim-with and approach prohibitions apply in waters within 2 nautical miles (nmi; 3.7 kilometers (km)) of the Hawaiian Islands and in designated waters bounded by the islands of Lana`i, Maui, and Kaho`olawe.
“Although unauthorized take of marine mammals, including harassment of spinner dolphins, already is and continues to be prohibited under the MMPA throughout their range, the purpose of this regulation is to identify and prohibit specific human activities that result in take (including harassment) of Hawaiian spinner dolphins, and thus reduce disturbance and disruption of important Hawaiian spinner dolphin behaviors in areas where human-dolphin interactions are most likely to occur. This regulation is expected to reduce take of Hawaiian spinner dolphins and the impact of human viewing and interaction on these animals in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI).”
Check out the full rule here.