HONOLULU (KHON2) — There are new rules in place to protect Hawaii’s spinner dolphins from those seeking close encounters.
On Tuesday, NOAA officials decided that people can’t swim with, approach, or remain within 50 yards of a spinner dolphin.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
This applies to boats, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, drones and other objects that are within 2 nautical miles from shore in the main Hawaiian Islands.
Marine experts say the new rules are necessary since spinner dolphins are nocturnal and spend the day resting in areas close to shore.
“These areas that they use during the day are important, biologically, for them to have to rest, nurture their young, and for biological needs,” said Kevin Brindock, deputy assistant regional administrator for protective research. “These areas have seen an increase in disturbance activities occurring at those bays.”
The new rule goes into effect on Oct. 28.
Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page
There are eight exceptions, including if someone accidentally comes across a spinner dolphin, however, they must immediately make an attempt to move away from it.