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Final Rule to Prohibit Swimming With and Approaching Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins


Final rule to prohibit swimming with and approaching a Hawaiian spinner dolphin within 50 yards.
Marine Mammal Protection Act
Action Status
Final Rule
Affected Species


NOAA Fisheries announces the final rule to enhance the protection of Hawaiian spinner dolphins and prevent their disturbance. This rule prohibits swimming with, approaching, or remaining within 50 yards of a Hawaiian spinner dolphin (for persons, vessels, and objects) including approach by interception, or placing a vessel, person, or other object in the path of a Hawaiian spinner dolphin so that the dolphin approaches within 50 yards of the vessel, person, or object (e.g., “leapfrogging”), and applies within 2 nautical miles from shore of the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) and in designated waters bounded by the islands of Lāna‘i, Maui, and Kahoʻolawe.

Concurrent with the publication of this final rule, NOAA Fisheries is proposing to establish mandatory time-area closures of Hawaiian spinner dolphins’ essential daytime habitats at five selected sites in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Learn more information on the proposed rule to establish time-area closures.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on 08/18/2022