Ocean activities shut down at Keehi Lagoon

Ocean activities shut down at Keehi Lagoon
Published: Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:18 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2013 at 2:36 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Land and Natural Resources closed Keehi Lagoon Friday to commercial and recreational ocean activities – including fishing and canoe paddling – for public safety because of Monday's molasses spill in nearby Honolulu Harbor.

Warning signs are being posted by DLNR and the state Department of Health.

"We are asking the public's cooperation to keep out these waters for their wellbeing as conditions are unsafe for public activity due to risks of attracting ocean predators, as well as the possibility for contamination due to decayed marine life and bacteria," said DLNR chairperson William Aila.

"We are working with the Department of Health to post warning signs along the shores of Keehi Lagoon, small boat harbor and west side of Sand Island nearest Keehi channel. Our officers will also patrol the area to warn the public to remain out of these waters until water conditions are safe again," he said.

The closure meant that Lee Perez, along with his sons and one of their friends, cut short their time in the water, where they usually spend their Friday afternoons.

"Well today we was gonna go out go swim, but when we saw the sign, we brought our jet ski along so we just went ski around," said Brock Fontes.

"We're kinda bummed out because we came all the way from Pearl City," said Perez. "And then there was signs saying we cannot go in the water."

The closure will affect two permitted commercial thrillcraft (jet ski) operations in Keehi Lagoon, Aloha Jetski and Diamond Head Parasails and Water Sports.

These companies will not be able to continue renting jetskis to clients to use in the lagoon jetski riding area. "The operators understand the reasons why we are closing them for the time being," said Aila. "They are able to make a claim to Matson for lost revenues."

DLNR's Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) is also restricting any recreational use of thrill craft in Keehi Lagoon and the designated riding area off the reef runway. DOBOR staff is reaching out to canoe clubs that launch from Sand Island State Recreation Area, and has also contacted the ILH regarding a planned kayak event scheduled tomorrow at Keehi Lagoon.

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