Thousands of fish are expected to die in Honolulu waters after a leaky pipe caused 1,400 tons of molasses to ooze into the harbor, say state officials. Hundreds of fish have been collected so far, the Department of Health said in a statement yesterday, and many more are expected to die because the high concentration of molasses is making it difficult for them to breathe. TV footage shows some fish sticking their mouths out of the water, and officials have warned people to stay out of the area because the dead fish could attract sharks and other predators like barracuda.
The brown, sugary substance spilled Monday from a pipe used to load molasses from storage tanks to ships sailing to California. The shipping company, Matson Navigation Co., repaired the hole and the pipe stopped leaking Tuesday morning, a rep said. In the interim, the equivalent of about one-third of an Olympic-sized swimming pool leaked into the harbor. Underwater video showed dead fish, crabs, and eels scattered along the ocean floor of the harbor and the water tinted a yellowish brown. State officials expect the spill's brown plume will remain visible for weeks as tides and currents flush the molasses in to nearby Keehi Lagoon and out to sea. (Read more spill stories.)