Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement Regarding Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin Protections
NOAA Fisheries announces the Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Regulatory Impact Review for Enhancing Protections for Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins to Prevent Disturbance.
The FEIS provides decision-makers and the public with an evaluation of the environmental, social, and economic effects of proposed actions to enhance protections for Hawaiian spinner dolphins and reduce the impact of viewing and interaction on these animals.
The preferred alternative identified in the FEIS (Alternative 3A) is to adopt regulations that would prohibit swimming with and approaching within 50 yards of Hawaiian spinner dolphins. The regulations would apply to within 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) from shore of the Hawaiian Islands and in designated waters bounded by Lāna‘i, Maui, and Kahoʻolawe.
Additionally, NOAA Fisheries is considering implementing time-area closures during designated daytime periods in certain bays on the islands of Hawai‘i and Maui, as presented in Alternative 4 of the FEIS. If NOAA Fisheries decides to proceed and issue a proposed rule on time-area closures, it will seek public comments under a separate rule-making.
Publication of the FEIS begins a minimum 30-day public review and waiting period. Following the review period, NOAA Fisheries will make a final decision regarding the proposed action and complete a Record of Decision.