Officials are investigating how a Hawaiian monk seal drowned after it was found in a submerged fish pen near Keahole Point on the Big Island.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said the monk seal named RB18 was found dead on March 5 in the fish pen maintained by Blue Ocean Mariculture.
The company reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the most of the fish had been emptied from the pen and that crews had removed a large side panel to allow a shark to escape.
The next day, RB18 was found dead in the pen.
A necropsy concluded the seal drowned and did not have any signs of serious injury or disease. It also found the seal’s stomach was full of large fish.
Blue Ocean Mariculture already removed the top of the pen, but is in the process of removing the entire pen from the ocean.