One of the most exciting and interesting experiences one can have in a lifetime is swimming with dolphins. You must admit you must have thought about it at least once, as these graceful aquatic mammals seem so peaceful that they give humans the same state of mind. But there are voices that claim that it is not much of a pleasant experience for the dolphins, as human’s swimming along them actually affects the animals health.
People in Hawaii came up with the idea of banning the activity, and they intend to apply it. They observed the behavior of dolphins and can tell that the animals are stressed because of the excessive attention they get from the visitors of the islands. As swimming with dolphins is one of the main touristic attractions here, visitors won’t be pleased, and neither will be the people running the business.
Officials want to ban the activity, as the tourists’ program interferes with the dolphins’ resting time. Going on with the activities is like exploiting the animals, and officials can’t let that happen. The rules are so strict that they ban getting near the spinner dolphins any closer than 50 yards, so this implies that swimming with them is not allowed anymore.
Dolphins use to hunt for fish and squid at night, so during the day they withdraw towards the shore and try to get some rest. An interesting fact about them is that they can swim even while they are sleeping. The fact that people come with boats and enter the water during dolphins’ resting time seems to bother and to affect the mammals.
People in the Hawaiian industry disagree when it comes to having a reaction to the situation they are facing. Thus, Ann Garrett (National Marine Fisheries Service) thinks that the new rules cause no tragedy, as she declared in The New York Times:
“We think by identifying 50 yards as the minimum distance that there still can be a viable tourist industry in Hawaii.”
On the other hand, Kevin Merrill, who is a business owner, thinks this is a bad time for their industry, as he declared for the same publication:
“It would be the end of legitimate dolphin swimming. We couldn’t offer the people the quality interaction that they expect.”
Nevertheless, there are people who have been working with dolphins for years on end, and they think that the animals are not disturbed by people’s presence, as they have already grown used to it and have accepted them. They think that swimming with dolphins would never have happened if the animals didn’t allow the activity in the first place.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia