The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded dolphin tour company Hoku Naia for responsible practices that do not disturb the animals as they rest, nurse and breed. Operated by Star of Honolulu Cruises, Hoku Naia is located on O'ahu.
The company is the fifth in the state to be recognized by NOAA's Dolphin SMART Program. Companies must stay at least 50 yards from dolphins, refrain from touching, feeding and swimming with wild dolphins and move away cautiously if the animals show any signs of disturbance to receive the distinction. The animals can potentially become easily disturbed if approached by humans too quickly, resulting in distress.
Previous recipients include Ocean Joy Cruises, Hawai'i Nautical and subsidiary Port Waikiki Cruises and Holoholo Charters.