Dear Friends,


For those just seeing this information for the first time, this email is intended to be forwarded to everyone on your lists whom you feel are interested in human-dolphin interaction as a continued freedom of choice for humans and dolphins. If we don't at the very least "raise our hands" and speak out against the proposed regulation by the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS), they will pass legislation as soon as possible that will make the very "intent of swimming with dolphins" illegal.

So, if you care even $.34 cents worth about this issue please copy and paste any portions of the below example letters, or write your own, sign your name with address, put it into an individual, stamped envelope and mail it out right away.

Please care enough to preserve our personal rights and sensibly address this burgeoning interest on the part of people wanting to be with free-swimming dolphins all over the world. I sincerely believe that the dolphins are just as much interested in us as we are them, and a new level of understanding of ourselves and Planet Ocean is available for anyone interested to listen and respond.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I urge you to act by sending in your letter and encouraging everyone you know to do the same.

Be Well &Swim Free,


Douglas Webster

Cetacean Nation Big Island ~ Hawaii

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CETACEAN NATION WEBSITE! Cetacean Nation

EXAMPLE LETTERS: To be mailed to:

Chief
Permits Section
Conservation &Education Division
Office of Protected Resources
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

CC: Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Diane Fienstein

Dear NMFS,

I strongly object to the current NMFS proposal for regulations prohibiting human-dolphin interaction in the open ocean. There is no actual scientific evidence in support of such a proposal and plenty that shows the positive affects for both humans and dolphins leading to higher educational levels for the protection of ocean environments and all its inhabitants, not just Cetaceans. If such a regulation is imposed, the risk of uninformed citizens trying to interact with dolphins without any knowledge or guidelines is dramatically increased, because there is no way to enforce such a law, no matter how stiff the fines, as it's clear that more and more people are wanting to have such an experience outside of the captive dolphin shows currently available.

Instead, I am in favor of sensible guidelines and specific limitations (50 yard distance) for all interaction with dolphins from motorized watercraft or kayaks, but that swimmers be restricted only to a "no touch" policy in all interactions. We all know it's impossible to be with free swimming dolphins as a human swimmer, even with flippers, cannot keep pace unless the dolphins allow it and slow their normal pace down to match that of the humans. I have seen this on countless occasions and know that with sensible guidelines and professional oversight, such a worthwhile activity can be safely managed on a local level.

Please consider the value of educational programs and professionally sanctioned supervision as the viable alternatives to your proposed methods of restriction and enforcement.

Thanks you for your time and consideration in the important issue.

Sincerely,
NAME
ADDRESS
CITY, STATE ZIP

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To Whom it may concern,

I am writing in regard to the NMFS consideration to restrict human and non-motorized vessel interaction with cetaceans, specifically as it relates to swimming with dolphins in Hawaiian and other US waters. My experience of this activity bears out the fact that dolphins are clearly the masters of their non-motorized environs and if they are bothered by humans or otherwise do not want to swim in the proximity of humans, they will not do so.

I also find the desire for NMFS to regulate this decidedly benign interaction with dolphins highly hypocritical in light of the fact that that NMFS is preparing to issue a “limited take” permit to the US Navy on their proposed SUTASS/LFAS program – a program that has proven highly pernicious to marine mammals and other sea creatures.

I am both angered and ashamed that my government and its executive agencies, for all of the good that they can do, seem singularly focused on ways to damage, maim and kill, while blocking and obstructing activities that can extend understanding, heal and repair.

Please don’t embarrass yourselves; withdraw your consideration to restrict the benign human interaction with sea creatures.

Sincerely,

Name

Address

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To Whom It May Concern:

I support measures to protect the rights of free-swimming dolphins. I also support interspecies communication and interaction, especially between dolphins and humans. Such relationship should be guided by definite guidelines.

For those who have not yet swum in Hawaiian waters in the company of dolphin, let it be known that these cetaceans are well able to avoid human contact, if that is what they desire. The fasted human swimmer cannot keep pace with the dolphins even when they are proceeding in rest mode. They choose the time and place for human interaction to occur.

However, humans using powered craft, kayaks and other floating devices are able to keep pace. Active pursuit of dolphins utilizing such conveyances should be prohibited.

Dolphins do, at times, desire and seem to enjoy swimming with humans. These highly intelligent, highly evolved beings appear to be teaching the human species ways of peaceful, harmonious social interaction. Most surely, humanity is benefiting immeasurably from this interaction. An attempt to prohibit this dolphin-human sharing seems foolish and counterproductive for the welfare of all.

I recommend the following:

1. Human swimmers only. (No kayakers, etc.) are permitted to remain in areas where dolphins are actually swimming.

2. No disruption of dolphin swimming patterns when they are swimming in rest/sleep mode and don't desire human interaction.

3. Human swimmers may not make movements which may annoy or harass dolphins, such as swimming overhand, attempting to touch dolphins, blocking the apparent path of dolphins, etc.

4. Hands and arms should be kept back at the sides or behind the back when humans are in close proximity to dolphins.

5. Hawaiian cultural traditions should be considered concerning certain sensitive locations like Honaunau.

Any proposed regulations generated by government agencies should be submitted for public review and revisement at public hearings in the affected areas, prior to adoption of such regulations.

Sincerely,

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****LONGER VERSION EXAMPLE*****

Chief
Permits Section
Conservation &Education Division
Office of Protected Resources
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Dear NMFS


The proposed new regulation that will make it illegal to swim in proximity with free-swimming dolphins in Hawaii, at first glance, looks like an interest in and protection of the Cetaceans in our beautiful waters. There are many more concerns of significant importance, currently under your jurisdiction, much more dangerous and harmful to the cetaceans, that need to be addressed.

Of utmost concern to those of us familiar with the Cetaceans, are the current sanctions approved by the NMFS that allow for the massive killing, harassment and enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Cetaceans every year. NMFS permits wholesale slaughter by the Tuna Industry. NMFS has sanctioned "takes" of many hundreds of Cetaceans by the US Military in weapons testing and use and subsequent slavery of certain varieties of dolphins being used as actual weaponry. NMFS allows the unbridled onslaught by the Oil industry using piercingly loud seismic equipment (louder than LFAS) and explosives with little or no regard to surrounding sea life. NMFS should examine its own role in these, by far, more critical issues facing Cetaceans and their survival from the unbridled assault by this military/industrial complex.

If the intention truly is to protect the cetaceans, you need to look at the current practices under your jurisdiction. These need to be reviewed immediately and steps need to be taken to cease these horrific sanctions.

I am emphatically opposed to the NMFS proposed regulation to prevent interaction of humans and free-swimming dolphins in US waters. Is it your intention to foster an abomination of personal freedoms held in the highest regard by the United States Constitution? There are far more affective ways that we can combat dolphin abuse than the creation of regulations.

The proposed regulations appear to separate humans from the dolphins/whales. It is my experience that separation breeds apathy and ignorance, paving the way for the cetaceans' continued abuse. I am very concerned and protective of the dolphins. Dolphins and whales are a valued resource of the ocean and our world and have the right to living free of harassment and infringement of their lifestyle. I offer a solution, allowing safe human/dolphin interaction. If the NMFS agency is sincerely interested in addressing the problem, consider some of the following as noteworthy examples of how to enlighten, as opposed to intimidate, potential offenders who may carelessly be placing dolphins at risk:

- Clear and factual information flow through public forums and media. - Dolphin-swim Certification programs approved by a non-governmental agency such as the Humane Society, the Sierra Club or PADI scuba certification. - Professional Associations of guides, boat operators and rental companies who can self-regulate such programs. - Physical outposts distributing real, factual information in problem areas where the public has been shown to be reckless in their interaction with dolphins. - Promotion of positive information about the nature of dolphins and their behavior that will serve to encourage respect for their environment and domain. - A public accessible database fully supported with government funding that will act to proliferate positive and factual information rather than the current system of police intimidation being proposed by this NMFS regulation.

These are but a few of many constructive ideas that are already available and will serve the greater need for understanding and respect of the Cetacean race by humans and more importantly may help to preserve the most precious resource known to us: Planet Ocean.

Here on the South Kona coast, our community has long suffered from the strife of economic struggle and even more so since the disaster of last September. The majority of our community relies upon the continued interest and patronage of tourists wishing to share in the beauty of our land and oceans and it is well known and accepted that a certain portion of those are being attracted to this area specifically for the opportunity of swimming in proximity with the curious Hawaiian Spinner and Spotted dolphin pods who have been interacting with humans on a regular, safe basis for nearly two decades. As a community we are faced with the critical issue of how to safely manage the human and natural resources for our future well being.

Yes, the increased numbers of these people and their potential impact on the dolphin pods is at issue and can be addressed with positive ways of managing safely this burgeoning interest. If such a thing is made illegal, it will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the already weak economy of our community that has come to rely on the local tourist business, everything from housing and food to every level of retail and tourism, generated by that raising interest. History has shown we can educate the public far more effectively than policing it -- an impossible task given the shear manpower constraints.

I am clearly in favor of achieving a balance to deal with the ever-increasing numbers of tourists wanting to come to this area for this unique experience and preserve the continued safe interaction between curious humans and curious dolphins. I see the dire need to address this consistent trend of interest and guide it in the most sensible, positive ways that provides abundance for the community yet still maintaining safety for the local dolphin pods. Ignorance is the number one danger we face.

This latter position can be attained with clear directives and sound judgment on the part of NMFS. Let the local professionals, those most qualified to make informed decisions and willing to participate in reasonable self-regulatory practices, decide what is the best solution for our unique situation. These known professionals who are sensitive to both the dolphin's concerns and those of people, are already well established in our community, some of them for many, many years, and stand ready to assist in this process if only given the opportunity.

So far, NMFS has rejected, out of hand, any proposed guidelines or practices suggested by these professionals, not only here, but in Florida as well. EDUCATION vs. regulation is my recommendation!

We are committed to creating alternatives to your proposed regulation, and ask that you please consider this education and certified professional supervision course of action as the most viable choice for the sustained well being of our communities of people and dolphins.

There are many, many of us in the community who stand ready to assist in this process, if given the opportunity, and look forward to working with NMFS and local state authorities to institute such programs for the mutual benefit of its citizens and tourists.

Sincerely,

NAME ADDRESS CITY, STATE ZIP

A citizen for safe and sensible human-dolphin interaction.