A molasses spill in Hawaii could draw sharks to the area, according to a warning from health officials. The spill began on Monday after a ship hauling the substance left Honolulu Harbor.
While it was repaired on Tuesday after officials narrowed down the source of the leak, thousands of fish in the harbor and surrounding area died.
Reuters notes that a warning was issued to swimmers, surfers, and snorkelers to stay out of the water near Honolulu, in case the dead fish are attracting sharks.
The health department assured that the molasses spill was not harmful to humans, though it certainly took a toll on marine life in the area. So many fish died between Monday and Thursday that the Hawaii Department of Health tripled its cleanup crew.
Three boats removed hundreds of dead fish and were expected to return and remove thousands more. While the spill began on Monday, its source wasn’t discovered until Tuesday.
Finally, The Guardian notes that officials found the leak coming from a pipeline used to load molasses onto ships operated by Matson Navitation Company. The company has provided shipping services across the Pacific since 1882. The company expressed its regret for the spill, saying that it was working with authorities to make sure the leak never happens again.
Crews are monitoring the Hawaii molasses spill aftermath, but will not actively work to clean up the substance. Instead, it likely be visible for weeks until the tide and currents pull it out to sea. Along with dead and dying fish, the molasses spill has also caused an unusual growth in marine algae and harmful bacteria.
In response, the department posted signs on all beaches near the spill. The signs warned people to stay away from the water and avoid eating any dead fish found in the area. Despite the devastation to marine life, Hawaii’s molasses spill won’t hurt Hawaii’s primary source of income, tourism.
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