Sunday ban on commercial activities in Maunalua Bay ignored by some tour operators, critics say

Complaints of commercial activity at a protected bay in East Oahu

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Although state law bars commercial activities on Maunalua Bay on Sundays, environmental watchdogs and some Hawaii Kai residents said some tour operators are thumbing their noses at the law.

A Hawaii News Now investigation found scuba diving and parasail operators conducting tours within the bay this Sunday. Our cameras caught boats ferrying tourists to dive boats and parasail operations apparently within the restricted zone.

“This is commercial activity that has gone amuck and continues to go amuck and unchecked," said environmental watchdog Carroll Cox.

Businesses like scuba diving tours, parasailing and jet ski rentals are allowed in Maunalua Bay on weekdays.

But state law bans the activity on Sunday and state and federal holidays to ensure the bay is safe for recreational users.

Hawaii Kai residents tell us that they’ve been complaining for years to the state Land Board -- which regulates the bay -- about the alleged illegal commercial activities. But they say their complaints have largely fallen on deaf ears.

“For years, I’ve filed complaints, the public has filed complaints and yet nothing is done. It’s hands off, laissez fair," said Cox.

Sources said illegal commercial operators are rarely fined. The state Land Board had no immediate comment.

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