Matson spill affects businesses and fishermen

Published On: Sep 15 2013 04:49:00 PM HST

Outdoor recreational operations and fishermen are seeing losses as Keehi Lagoon remains closed.

Greg Longnecker with Diamond Head Parasails and Water Sports says he's losing thousands of dollars a day. Jet skiing is half his business revenue. With Keehi Lagoon closed to commercial and recreational activities, including fishing and canoe paddling, the Matson molasses spill is not just affecting fish.  

"When they shut it down completely on Friday, now we are going on our fourth or fifth day of complete loss of revenue," said Longnecker.

Earlier in the week, he said customers were asking for refunds after jet skiing around the dead fish in the lagoon. On Sunday, many just walked away.

"Today we wanted to do something fun and it's the weekend, so today jet skiing would have been really fun," said customer Joselyne Roberts.

Boaters and fishermen say the murky lagoon water used to be clear and full of fish. However, after the 233,000 gallon molasses spill, they are watching the clarity and sea life change around them.

"Now the smell died away a little bit but the smell of the rotting fish," said boater Clarence Callahan.

"Everyone over here is affected by it because everyone over here fished for food so you are taking away their food," said Ernie Banderas.

The DLNR says it's still not sure when the lagoon will be opened. Officials are going to be checking on it on a day-by-day basis.


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