Future remains murky for Honolulu waters after massive molasses spill

Courtesy: Leilani Alfaro

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On the surface, things appear to be returning back to normal at Keehi Lagoon and near the mouth of Honolulu Harbor.

In fact, in some areas, ocean life was actually showing signs of life.

“Yeah, still okay. Every day I come here to catch the sardines,” fisherman Rocky Mecos said.

Mecos and several others were busy fishing for sardines on Friday. Despite warning signs alerting the public to stay out of the water, Mecos had every intention on eating his catch of the day.

“I’m going to eat them. This is good,” Mecos said.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources ceased jet ski operations at Keehi Lagoon earlier this week, which meant lost revenue for two companies. The skis were back in motion Friday.

But when you diver deeper and see some of the images of dead or disturbed marine life, you can understand why there is still a ton of uncertainty about what will happen tomorrow.

“It’s still too early to tell. It’s pretty recent. The thing we’re looking at more and more focused now is the environmental impact,” said Carlos Santana with the Hawaiian Islands Recreation Scuba Association.

Santana is the president of the Hawaiian Islands Recreational Scuba Association.

“There are some dive sites there, but not many, not the ones that are much visited,” Santana said.

Santana says he hasn’t heard of many cancellations in the diving community, but knows that could quickly change.

“We’re concerned that the tides are going to wash this out and affect more of an area than just the harbor itself,” Santana said.

That could potentially mean the death of more coral in deeper waters and more oxygen depletion for other marine life.

“It could take months to years to find out exactly what the impact is going to be,” Santana said.

Even those who make living bottom fishing are concerned about the molasses heading out to sea. Businesses are bracing for the worse.

“I have reached out to some members of the state to see what we can do as an organization. We have the ability to put out messages to a lot of our divers and a lot of our diver operators to see what we can do to help if anything,” Santana said.

Those who use the harbor and lagoon daily say the water is not as dark and there is far less marine life floating at the surface.

But make no mistake about it, the future for this waterway is still very murky.

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