State Attorney General: Molasses cleanup needs to be complete

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Sep 24 2013 05:15:00 PM HST

Matson's massive molasses spill may have dissipated in the Honolulu harbor, but work is still underway to determine the full extent of damage. The state is waiting on lab results of the fish and coral kill to put a dollar amount to build a case.

HONOLULU -

So far, the state has inventoried 80 percent of the 26,000 fish killed by the spill.

The breakdown of how many eels and ornamental fish, along with a count of the ones that are good to eat is expected to be released soon.

 A price of their worth and what it will take to restore the marine environment is the focus of work underway now.

"We want to make sure this doesn't happen again and we want to make sure the clean-up is appropriate and complete, and then we will talk about what it takes to restore things, and how that is going to happen will be a subject of discussion," said state Attorney General David Louie.

Scientists have been collecting evidence of the coral kill.

They are also watching keenly for evidence of a possible algae bloom.

Last week scientists with Aecos, a private environmental firm, began collecting samples of plankton.

 The four plankton tows will hopefully give a snapshot of what the molasses has had on the more microscopic marine life,

 "They went out at  9 a.m., 3p.m., 9 p.m. and  3 a.m. to get four cycles within a 24- hour period and they towed in Keehi Lagoon and Honolulu Harbor," said Aecoslaboratory director Snookie Mello.

 The scientists focused on the area of the spill and where they saw low oxygen levels.

"There have been studies in the past so there are studies in Honolulu Harbor so we can compare to that were done in September and October so we are in the same basic time period," Mello said.

 

They sent samples to the laboratory on Tuesday to compare against their baseline of data.

There are also plans to begin sampling the mud and sand on the ocean floor.

The kill could have included crabs starfish, worms that no one can see and no one has counted.

Meanwhile Matson said so far, the company has received 20 claims from businesses or individuals who suffered a financial loss as a result of the molasses spill.

 

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