Exploring the Sanctuary header graphic
Exploring the Sanctuary subheader graphic

Laws & Marine Mammal Viewing

All whales, dolphins and seals are protected by NOAA Fisheries Service under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA). Humpback whales, sperm whales, monk seals and sea turtles are further protected by NOAA Fisheries Service under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) and by the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources under Hawai‘i State Law. NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary regulations provide additional protection for humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai‘i. 

The recommended guidelines for marine mammal viewing presented on this website do not replace federal or state law. See NOAA regulations: 50 CFR Sections 216.3, 224.103, and 922.184.

Additional Information on Guidelines & Legislation




Makapuu Lighthouse graphic side bar
NOAA logo