Letters to the Editor: August 4, 2021

Intolerable wholesale marketing

On July 23, we were shopping at Costco in Kailua-Kona. While in the check-out line we were stunned and disheartened to witness the display of “OCEAN ENCOUNTERS – DOLPHIN ENCOUNTER KEALAKEKUA BAY SNORKEL TRIP, $97.99.” This pallet held a few hundred placards for purchase offering a 36% discount to exploit our cultural and natural marine resources. The details describe four-hour snorkeling tours with our dolphins at the bay beginning at 8:30 a.m. daily. This commercial tour operation has no business being promoted or sold at Costco and I would like to see it withdrawn from their store.

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It is well-known these dolphins feed at night in the near offshore pelagic zone and come into the bay to rest during the day. Kealakekua Bay provides a safe zone allowing rest and safety from predatory sharks. Research has found that spinners off the Kona Coast are exposed to human tourism activities 82% of the time during daylight hours, precisely when they’re supposed to be resting. The sale of these commercial tours only serve to harass and destroy our marine mammal environment and our home of Hawaii.

The dolphin tours generate more than $100 million annually but who are the profiteers from this commercial endeavor? Not the dolphins. What is the give back/reciprocity to our cultural and natural resources? How are we to sustain our resources and maintain its balance? The law enforcement and policies are currently insufficient to address this exploitation.

I understand and accept that Hawaii is a tourist destination and the industry provides an economy for our state. What I find intolerable is the wholesale marketing of this commercial operation at Costco, Kailua-Kona. Costco has rendered more than their share of revenue from Hawaii residents and the gross influx of tourists that pour into Kailua-Kona.

I write this heartfelt letter to implore your assistance in having this display removed from Costco. In addition, please support NOAA in publishing their findings on the impacts and effects on Spinner Dolphins from tours.

Kalena K. Blakemore

Volcano

Providing for the common welfare

In response to Chris Danzilo’s Tuesday 3 letter to the editor, “the land of the free and the home of the brave” is a song lyric. Although it comes from our national anthem, we do not look to songs for our rights. We have the U.S. Constitution, federal and state statutes for that purpose. As most school children used to know, one of the charges of the federal government is “to provide for the common welfare.” Requiring inoculation by vaccine against smallpox, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, and polio has been routine in our schools for decades now. The only exceptions are for rare medical or religious reasons, not for political preferences. It should and undoubtedly will be the same for COVID. This promotes the general welfare. If we had all rushed to take the vaccines as soon as they were available, many thousands of deaths would have been prevented. Public vaccination campaigns are part of what we owe one another to belong in a civilized society.

John Sucke

Waimea

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Letters policy

Letters to the editor should be 300 words or less and will be edited for style and grammar. Longer viewpoint guest columns may not exceed 800 words. Submit online at www.westhawaiitoday.com/?p=118321 or via email to letters@westhawaiitoday.com.