More about Hawaii's Fish-Feeding Campaign
Volunteers Invited to “Take a Bite Out of Fish Feeding” (Maui News 4/20/08)
Volunteers Can Help Protect Reef at Kahekili Beach (Lahaina News 4/17/08)
Take a Bite Out of Fish Feeding Campaign Growing (Lahaina News 12/19/07)
Reef Woes, Injuries Tied to Fish Feeding (Maui News 11/26/07)
New Campaign Urges Public to Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding (Maui Weekly 6/7/07)
A Different Kind of Feeding Frenzy (Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice, & Sunsets 5/07)
"I have actively discouraged fish feeding with my clients since the mid 80s for two reasons. First, the chubs were biting people at Honolua Bay, and second, I observed that in areas of heavy fish feeding, fish that liked to be fed were getting more abundant and taking over some snorkel sites, so fish diversity was diminishing."
—Ann Fielding, owner of Anne Fielding’s Snorkel Hawaii
“We at Boss Frog’s Dive and Surf, Quicksilver and Frogman Charters have decided to discontinue fish food sales. Fish food tends to make fish more aggressive, and it may also have a detrimental effect on the reef and ecosystem.”
—Chris Kasper, general manager
"We don't sell fish food and while we feed our animals in our care during presentations, we always [stress] that the public should not feed fish in the wild."
—Kecia Joy, director of education, Maui Ocean Center Aquarium
"Feeding fish attracts the fish that eat algae, which can overtake reefs. If we feed [fish, the extra food] can stop the fish from doing what they usually do as part of a healthy ecosystem. Let's keep our reefs healthy by not allowing or promoting this practice."
—MiQe Klemme, owner, Maui Thrills Eco-Nature Tours
"These days divers are much more interested in learning about marine life than in feeding it, riding it, and collecting it. Not only are people becoming more respectful underwater, but the natural behaviors of fish are so fascinating that it's rare for one of our divers to even ask about feeding them."
—Pauline Fiene, owner, Mike Severns Diving
“We encourage our guests to enjoy the marine environment as nature intended. Fish feeding disrupts the natural balance of marine ecosystems. We do not allow guests aboard our vessels to partake in fish feeding activities. Our onsite Coral Reef Naturalist Program also discourages fish feeding by offering a gift for those who turn in their fish food to us for proper disposal. We educate our passengers and other snorkelers about the concerns surrounding fish feeding such as lack of diversity and algal overgrowth to discourage visitors and ocean users from engaging in the practice of fish feeding."
—Brooke Porter, conservation director, Pacific Whale Foundation
"We have found after more than thirty years of diving that by being part of the natural environment you have a much more unique experience. You see fish and other marine animals in their natural behaviors and they accept you as part of their ecosystem. Feeding, chasing, or catching marine animals not only changes their natural habits, but can have a chain reaction of other negative effects on the reef."
—Teri Leicher, owner, Jack's Diving Locker
"Kona Boys has been serving the Kona Coast and the Big Island since 1996 and have always made it a priority to educate our customers on the best practices while enjoying Hawaii’s waters and marine life. Of course, that includes not feeding the fish. It amazes me that this continues to be a problem with all of the information available regarding the damage feeding the fish can cause. Kudos to CORAL for starting this comprehensive program and educating Hawaii’s educators."
—Frank Carpenter, owner, Kona Boys
"Practicing true ecology and utilizing eco-friendly practices is a key part of what we do. While we focus on giving our guests insightful information and positive experiences, we also lead by example. This invariably results in divers and snorkelers alike embracing the concepts and wanting to protect the ocean's inhabitants and structure even more by doing the right things, for the right reasons. We feel it's a win-win situation for the ocean and for all our guests.”
—Jim Holt, owner, Konaquatica Dive Center
"South Pacific Kayaks & Outfitters does not support fish feeding. When on our kayak & snorkel tour, we always share how detrimental this can be for the fish and the ecosystem and how this changes the reef life's behavior. Guests appreciate and enjoy viewing the natural and calm environment of our reef friends going about their daily business. Be reef friendly and don't feed the fish!"
“I’ve always been against fish feeding, and I am amazed that some operators are still in the dark ages on this issue. Public education and involvement are the strongest of conservation tools, and this campaign will be doing the fish of Hawaii, and the visitor industry, a big favor by bringing a halt to the unhealthy practice of fish-feeding."
—Scott Burch, owner, Mokulua Kayak Guides
"We do not allow or encourage our clients to feed fish while on dive excursions, nor do we sell fish food in our facility. We have seen first hand the degradation of our reefs and negative impact on our marine life caused by human activity. Fish feeding is an irresponsible and dangerous practice for both people and our marine ecosystem. Our company prides itself on maintaining the highest standards of diver and instructor training, and conservation informs every aspect of what we do."
—Vanessa Golding, Director, Ocean Legends Hawaii
"Aloha Hawaii seeks to educate people planning their Hawaii vacation on environmentally friendly practices through our online travel guide. By reaching the guests before they arrive we have a better opportunity at preserving our islands for future generations to come."
—Jason Britt, owner, Aloha Hawaii Travel Guide
—Captain Nancy Sweatt, Founder, Dolphin Journeys
“Thank you so much for taking the time to help and care for our environment. Many people do not know the harmful effects of feeding the fish.”
“As a frequent SCUBA diver, I am always looking for green operations that share my concern for preserving reefs. Thank you for all your work in this effort.”
“I also run a charter business, and have found over the years that people really appreciate more of what they see in a natural state than what is akin to a canned hunt to see the wildlife.”
“I was recently at Kaleakua Bay snorkeling at the Captain Cook Monument and I deeply appreciated the orientation given to all entering the water. Also, we were told not to feed fish by the kayak rental company. This kind of practice is critical to protecting precious habitat and species.”
“We will always support businesses that care for the health of the reef and its inhabitants. We will also carry your example to other shops in other areas where we dive.”
“As a diver, I understand and have observed the behavior changes in fish populations that occur with feeding. I appreciate seeing natural behaviors when I am underwater.”
“I have been to Hawaii several times and hope to return again soon for diving and snorkeling. Feeding the fish results in larger fish taking over a place and no balance. Also, I have been bit when others were feeding in southern Maui and had to leave the water bleeding. The fish got into a craze to get the food. Leave paradise as it naturally is. Thank you.”
“We just returned from a snorkeling trip to Kona, Hawaii. The fish were beautiful, we saw lots of turtles, and my husband and I both commented that we did not see anyone feeding the fish! We feel so fortunate to be able to experience a coral reef ecosystem, it is so fragile, and we want to do everything we can to protect it. Thank you!”
“Feeding marine wildlife puts both animals and people in danger. A true marine life experience does not change the habitats or behaviors of the animals that you are observing.”
“As a dive professional, I am very concerned about the health of our reefs. Thank you so much for participating in this program.”
“We just watched the movie Coral Reef Adventure and learned about how the reefs are in danger. Thanks for what you are doing to help the fish!”
“Even the littlest positive intention in the world can have profound effect; thank you for any and all efforts you put forth to encourage harmony in the world.”
“In the long run, leaving nature alone will be the best for the fish, your business, and the overall ecology for everyone.”
“It seems that fish feeding is often overlooked as more of a novelty than as a policy that has disastrous effects on fish and habitat alike. I want to thank all of the dive enthusiasts who have the opportunity to be on the front lines. Without your encouragement each and every time someone goes fishing, diving, viewing, etc., we couldn't get the word out. Stay with it, and THANK YOU ALL AND CORAL!
—Craig “the Wrightman” Wright
“As part of a group of twelve friends that takes a dive vacation each year, we select our dive locations and dive operators based on several criteria, one of which is eco-aware and eco-friendly. Thanks again!”
“Individual people and businesses are what make collective efforts successful. Thank you for making your own efforts toward sustaining fish populations.”
“Only wish other countries/operators would follow. Can't wait to come back to Hawaii diving!”
“I took my SCUBA training in Hawaii and have spent dozens of lovely days snorkeling and diving in Hawaii's waters. The next time I visit, I will be sure that I dive with a shop or boat that does not participate in fish feeding, a practice I have long opposed. I will also not go on a boat with spear fishers. Making a decision to refrain from fish feeding requires a commitment to stand up to patrons who would bring their own hot dogs or other inappropriate food to feed fish. Thank you for your efforts.”