Businesses take financial hit from molasses spill

Published: Sep. 14, 2013 at 5:51 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2013 at 11:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four days and counting since 233-thousand gallons of molasses leaked into Honolulu Harbor from a faulty Matson pipe.

A picture's worth a thousand words, or dollars in this case for businesses racking up losses, with images of the fish kill top of mind.

The dead fish continue to float to the surface at La Mariana. The devastating environmental effects of the molasses spill are clear from underwater video showing marine life wiped out on the ocean floor and from the air.

Four days after Hawaii News Now caught a dark plume of molasses in Honolulu Harbor, you could say it's 'dissipating' as slow as molasses.

That's taking a bite out of business for companies like Ruckus Sport Fishing and Diving at Kewalo Basin. According to owner Ray Collier, "In the long run We're talking quite a few thousand dollars. They have concerns with the sharks and the area and all the dead fish, environmental effects. So they're canceling."

Collier has called Matson's claims hotline to report his losses. He said it's tragic to see reef fish only found in Hawaii, dying from the spill. "It was a sad sight to see all the dead fish come up and those are guys that we want to take people out to go and let experience."

The sight and stench of rotting fish are also bad for business at La Mariana's waterfront restaurant. According to waitress Billie Lefton, "The smell has affected business and then they said it's sad when they walk up through here and see all the dead fish."

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent in crews from San Francisco to help the State Department of Health come up with a game plan. EPA Hawaii Office's Dean Higuchi said, "Molasses presents an interesting problem because it again is a different kind of substance and it reacts differently in the water."

Senator Brian Schatz is tapping into federal aid to assist with clean up and recovery. He told us by phone from Washington D.C., it's important to have "all hands on deck because Hawaii's economy is really dependent on our marine environment and all of us who enjoy the South shore of Oahu are really sad to see this happening."

Here's the number again to report business losses from the molasses spill to Matson: 848-8300.

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