Big Island Polls

Big Island Now Poll No. 19: How should the state handle manta ray tours in West Hawai’i?

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Manta ray night dive from a Kona tour boat in 2021. (Cammy Clark/Big Island Now)

Throughout the years, residents and conservationists have raised concerns about the number of manta ray tours that are operating out of West Hawai’i harbors.

As a result, various rules and regulations have been proposed to mitigate the problems associated with over tourism in these areas and elsewhere in Hawai’i. The most recent was House Bill 1090 that would limit the number of ocean recreation commercial permits and implement a system of issuing permits based on seniority.

The attempt sparked concerns amongst local operators, worried that the bill would put companies out of business. Although even some manta ray tour companies say the state should create separate permits for the two main locations where businesses operate to see the manta rays: out of Keauhou Bay and Honokōhau Harbor.


Last week, Hawai’i Gov. Josh Green announced he would veto the bill, stating while a recreation commercial permitting system requires reform, the state needs to take a balanced, concerted approach so fishermen, hundreds of local jobs and several businesses throughout the islands are not adversely impacted by the sudden change in ocean recreation commercial permits. The State Legislature said July 10 that it will not try to override the veto.

So we want to hear from our Big Island Now readers about what they think should be done to balance the protection of the marine species for future generations and local business.

Press Here to Take the Poll


Leave a comment here or on social media to let us know why you voted the way you did — or if your answer is not on our list, let us know what it is. Results will be posted on July 16 on Big Island Now.

You can also find the results from our previous poll asking “What should be the priority of the new Illegal Fireworks task Force?” by clicking here.

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