Media Contact for the Pacific Islands Regional Office:
Please contact:
Phone: (808) 725-5020
Fax: (808) 725-5215

Protected Resources Division

population and threats

What is Dolphin SMART?

Dolphin SMART is a unique, voluntary recognition and education program offering participation incentives for commercial dolphin viewing businesses that voluntarily follow the "program criteria," and educate their customers about the importance of responsible viewing of wild dolphins in Hawaiian waters. The program also includes an important research component that provides insight about the daily lives of the local, wild marine mammal populations.

Dolphin SMART Program Purpose:

  • Minimize the potential of wild dolphin harassment caused by commercial viewing activities.
  • Reduce people's expectations of wanting to closely interact with wild dolphins in a manner that may cause harassment.
  • Eliminate advertising that creates expectations to engage in activities that may cause harassment.
  • Educate the public about the importance of responsibly viewing wild dolphins.

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Dolphin SMART Brochure
Are you interested in learning more about Dolphin SMART? Please read our brochure (Aug 2011, pdf 1.15MB) for more information.

Why Practice Responsible Viewing?

Hawaiian spinner dolphins are frequently seen in the nearshore, shallow coves and bays of the Hawaiian islands and can be easily viewed from shore or boat. Watching them in their natural habitat can be an exhilarating experience. However, when we approach wild dolphins too closely, move too quickly, or make too much noise, we increase the risk of disrupting their natural behaviors, such as resting, nursing, breathing, breeding, sheltering, and socializing. Disruption of these natural behaviors is a form of harassment and against Federal law.

To learn more about becoming Dolphin SMART or for a current list of active Dolphin SMART participants, email Or, visit the Dolphin SMART Web site: