KEAUHOU, Hawaii — Federal officials are in the final review stages for rules that would ban swimming with Hawaiian spinner dolphins.
West Hawaii Today reported Wednesday that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials are nearing completion of regulations proposed almost three years ago that would create a 50-yard (46-meter) barrier around the mammals.
Officials say the rules would outlaw coming within the protected area around Hawaiian spinner dolphins — or “naia” in the Hawaiian language — by any means including swimming or using a boat to intercept the animal’s path.
The prohibition would cover all persons, vessels and objects and extend two nautical miles (4 kilometres) from island coastlines, including waters bounded by Maui, Lanai and Kahoolawe.
The regulations would include exceptions such as dolphins approaching swimmers and boats and safe navigation.
Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com
The Associated Press