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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 12:03 p.m., Friday, January 4, 2008

Fish escape underwater cage off Keahole Point

Advertiser Staff

About 1,500 of Kona Blue Water Farms' kahala, or amberjack, fish were accidentally released from an offshore cage in early December, the company said today.

Kona Blue Water Farms LLC raises 55,000 to 60,000 fish in each of six underwater pens located in 200 feet of water off Keahole Point on the Big Island. The fish are sold under the trademarked name Kona Kampachi.

The fish escaped after a diver failed to fully close one of the fish pens, said Kona Blue spokeswoman Kelly Coleman. The fish are native to Hawaiian waters and pose no environmental risk, she said.

"They're not genetically modified. They don't have any hormones. They are completely natural," Coleman said. "A lot of local fishermen were catching them, so I think a lot of them have been pulled out of the water at this time."