The main questions addressed with the study

  • How are the spinner dolphins using each resting bay?

    • How much time do they spend in each bay?

    • Are they spending most of their time in a bay within the core resting area?

  • How are people using each resting bay?

    • Is the main human use by swimmers/snorkelers, kayakers, and/or motorboats?

    • Are human use patterns affected by the absence/presence of spinner dolphins?

    • Are humans in the core resting area when the dolphins are not in the bay?

  • When approaching, how close are people coming to the dolphins in the resting areas?

  • Does the time of day have an impact on the human use patterns?

  • Are the dolphins affected by human attempts to interacting with them, and if so how?

    • Do dolphins behave differently when people are present, compared to absent?

    • Does the distance between humans and dolphins affect dolphin behavior?

Hawai'i State Sponsored Working Groups Proposal

In 2004 key stakeholder groups, working in three different Hawaii State-sponsored working groups, discussed how to make the use of Kealakekua Bay, Honaunau bay and Kauhako bay more environmentally and culturally sensitive. Each group met several times a month over several months. One of the groups, dealing with all issues around the use of the waters in Kealakekua Bay, including diving and snorkeling tours, kayaking, and how to deal with all the resources in and around the bay, including the spinner dolphin resting area. This group proposed that a human exclusion, or Kapu zone, be established to protect the dolphins. The idea was to close off the spinner dolphin core resting areas in each of these bays, with enough of a buffer zone to keep the vessels at least 100 meters away The only stakeholder group that chose not to participate was the local swim-with-wild-dolphin community.