Rules Surrounding Hawaii Wild Marine Mammals

Christine Brammer
Christine Brammer
Jennifer Metz
Jennifer Metz

(KHNL) -- Endangered mammals share our ocean with us.

But our curiousity may soon lead to their extinction.

Federal agencies acknowledge the major issue used to surround boaters and swimmers getting too close to humpback whales during the migration season.

But now, curious onlookers have widened their scope, getting closer to other mammals such as monk seals, spinner dolphins and green sea turtles, like never before.

''It's important for everybody to understand why we need to respect the animals' space," said Christine Brammer with the National Marine Sanctuaries.

Despite strong efforts to educate all of us, the number of violation complaints filed with the National Marine Fisheries Services is actually on the rise.

So, here's a stern review of the rules surrounding Hawaii's wild marine mammals.

First, it is against the law to come within a hundred yards of any humpback whale.

That's the length of a football field.

''In Hawaii, the humpback whales are giving birth here and having that first initial weeks with their calf is a very important time," said Brammer.

"Monk seals, we ask that you stay 150 feet away, or 50 yards away from them," said Jennifer Metz of NOAA. "Especially, with the mom and pup, they're very sensitive to human presence. And, with Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, keep a distance from them, and not touch them or get on top of them."

The National Marine Sanctuary Program has intalled 12 of these viewer guides throughout the state.

Officials say, animal lovers can get an even better view of these rare mammals from one of those locations.

'Because of the Hawaii is, we have such beautiful vantage points, such as this, it's easy to stay a distance and still get a wonderful look at these marine mammals," said Metz.

Keeping both you, and the animals, safe.