Contact: Liz Foote, Coral Reef Alliance
Phone: (808) 669-9062 / (808) 283-1631
Email: Lfoote@hawaii.rr.com 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAUI, HI - May 23, 2007-- In response to scientific research and consumer demands for a more authentic experience with nature, leading marine tourism business in Maui are ending their practice of fish feeding and taking part in the "Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding" education and awareness campaign.
Boss Frog's Dive and Surf Shops is one of the first businesses on Maui to cease fish food sales and use. Operations Director Chris Kasper announced, "Fish food tends to make fish more aggressive, and it may also have a detrimental effect on the reef and ecosystem." This decision and announcement follows the company's participation in a Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) sustainable marine recreation workshop last fall.
To show their support for the "Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding" campaign and to identify themselves as a business that does not feed fish, Boss Frog's shops across Maui now proudly display a Fish-Friendly Establishment decal. This decal is available to other willing businesses upon request.
Local scientists Liz Foote and Jonathan Hultquist note that fish feeding in Hawaii has ill effects on the habitat and human/fish interactions. Liz states, "By feeding the fish, we are altering natural competitive and predator/prey relationships among fishes. We have also noticed more people being bitten by aggressive chubs (nenue or rudderfish) and taape (bluestripe snappers.)"
As consumers learn about these effects, they are beginning to demand that businesses be more responsible. In an online survey of underwater photographers, the majority said that they preferred guides not to handle wildlife, and that their gratuities to the guides would decrease if they observed this practice.
The "Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding" education and awareness campaign hopes to convince tour operators that selling fish food is bad business. The campaign will distribute postcards-bearing an image of a woman bitten by an aggressive chub-to local and visiting marine enthusiasts. Recipients will write their opinions about fish feeding on the postcard and mail them to a central location. The answers will be compiled and shared with marine tourism businesses that continue to sell fish food. This campaign is a joint effort by partner organizations Project S.E.A.-Link, CORAL, the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, and the Maui Reef Fund.
If you would like more information about "Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding" please contact project coordinator Carlie Wiener at (808) 721-6496 or firstname.lastname@example.org . If you would like to display the Fish Friendly Establishment decal, please contact Liz Foote at (808) 669-9062 or email Lfoote@hawaii.rr.com . In addition, anyone can join Project S.E.A.-Link's online community forum and discuss this issue at: http://www.projectsealink.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=110