KEALAKEKUA, Hawaii – Emotional testimony was delivered Wednesday evening in favor of – and against – new federal rules concerning Hawaii’s spinner dolphins.
Kona residents packed the Konawaena High School cafeteria to hear National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration representatives explain their proposal, which would prohibit swimming with and approaching a Hawaiian spinner dolphin within 50 yards.
Just down the road from the hearing location is Kealakekua Bay, identified as an important area for spinner dolphins. Its also where many go to commune with the Cetaceans, and where tour companies advertise dolphin encounters.
NOAA also heard from a group representing Dolphinville, a community that feels a special connection to the dolphin and that stands opposed to NOAA’s proposed rules.
More hearings are scheduled across the state in the coming weeks.