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[Diariolibre] Conservation Trumps One of Hawaii’s Most Popular Unsustainable Tourism Activities


The US has recently banned swimming with spinner dolphins in Hawaii, a popular activity among tourists that greatly impacts the health of these cetaceans.

US regulators banned swimming with spinner dolphins in Hawaii on Tuesday, September 29, to protect the species at night from those seeking to get close to the curious animals.

Swimming with dolphins is one of the most requested activities in Hawaii and there are many companies that offer tours that take tourists to areas frequented by dolphins in order to swim with them.

Based on the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) prohibits swimming with or coming within 50 yards of Hawaiian spinner dolphins within 2 nautical miles of each of the main Hawaiian Islands. The regulation applies to people and to any vessel, thus protecting dolphins from possible collisions. In addition, this measure contributes to the reduction of underwater noise caused by these vessels when approaching dolphins, which has a direct impact on the behavior and health of these cetaceans. This measure is a great step forward for the protection of this species and the conservation of the marine ecosystem.

And just as the US is taking great steps for the conservation of the oceans, Chile already has a regulation that defines how to approach cetaceans, which has different guidelines for each type of species. There are also initiatives being implemented to ensure their care, such as The Blue BOAT Initiative, which seeks to protect whales through the installation of the first network of smart buoys in South America. This system will warn vessels of the presence of these cetaceans so that they can avoid possible collisions, and the buoys will also have oceanographic sensors to gather information on the impact of climate change in the oceans.

More and more initiatives and measures are being taken to care for the environment, and we hope that these will continue to grow in order to achieve effective conservation and mitigate climate change.