An O‘ahu business, Hoku Naia, operated by Star of Honolulu Cruises, has earned Dolphin SMART recognition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.
Among companies that already are Dolphin SMART operators is Holo Holo Charters on Kaua‘i.
Dolphin SMART originated in Florida in 2007, and expanded to Hawai‘i last September.
“Dolphin SMART tour operators are committed to conserving the health of local dolphin populations, and visitors who book with a Dolphin SMART operator can feel confident that they are participating in responsible tourism,” NOAA Dolphin SMART regional coordinator Laura McCue states in a news release.
Vessels of participating operators carry a Dolphin SMART flag and decal with the current calendar year. A list of Dolphin SMART operators is available online at www.dolphinsmart.org.
For more information about Holo Holo Charters, visit www.holoholokauaiboattours.com.
Viewing dolphins from a responsible distance is a cornerstone of the Dolphin SMART program. Close viewing of wild dolphins can disrupt important natural behaviors such as resting, feeding and nursing and result in negative effects to the health of dolphin groups and their young.
The “SMART” acronym stands for:
• Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins.
• Move away slowly if dolphins show signs of disturbance.
• Always put your vessel engine in neutral when dolphins are near.
• Refrain from feeding, touching or swimming with wild dolphins.
• Teach others to be dolphin smart.