These results are preliminary. Additional interviews will be analyzed and qualitative assessment of sentiment, comments, and history at the sites will be an important part of the final analysis. Regulations of the Kona manta sites were delayed one year in 2019 and are expected to be implemented in summer 2020. This study will be useful to management agencies and stakeholders as the State passes the first regulatory measures for manta viewing tourism.
The author would recommend strongly to anyone conducting in-person and phone interviews to be wary of faulty recording services. Unfortunately, some transcripts and audio recordings became corrupted, truncated, or otherwise lost after interviews were completed. The author would especially caution against the use of the online transcription service Otter.ai (deleting the small talk beginning part of transcripts will cause the end of the audio to become deleted and the transcripts to lose all formatting) and ACR phone recording app (if you plug headphones in midway through the call, ACR will cease recording the other person's part of the conversation).
This project was developed under the guidance and mentorship of Alison Rieser, Dr. Lisa Kelley, and Dr. Carlie Wiener of UH Geog & Env Dept. and Dr. Lars Bejder of UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. The author is grateful to them and the UH Manoa Department of Geography and the Environment, particularly Dr. Reece Jones and Dr. Brian Szuster for their support in the research. The author thanks the Hawaiʻi Coral Reef Initiative, the Department of Land and Natural Resources - Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, Manta Ray Advocates, and Manta Pacific Research Foundation for their support. Nothing in this study would be possible without the generosity and passion of the Kona community and all who participated, shared information about the interviews, and otherwise contribute to the stewardship of Kona's coastal waters.
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