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Learning about aquaculture

by Gary E. Karr, manager, Communications, Education, and Training, Oceanic Institute


HPU’s spring semester brings a new course that will introduce students to the fastest-growing field in Hawai‘i’s diversified agriculture industry, aquaculture. MARS 3800 Practices of Saltwater Aquaculture will be offered at the Oceanic Institute TTh, 5 to 6:30 p.m.


Why learn about aquaculture?
Aquaculture dates to 500 B.C. and is a reliable method for farming aquatic animals and plants. With world population expected to grow from six billion today to between 8.9 and 10.7 billion by mid-21st century, aquaculture can meet the growing demand for a low-cost and nutritious food source.

Since the mid-1980s, aquaculture has been the world’s fastest growing food production system, increasing an average of 9.6 percent per year. In 1995, aquaculture produced about 6.2 percent of the total farmed animal meat in the world and ranked fourth in terms of global supply after pork, beef, and chicken.

Aquaculture in Hawai‘i
In Hawai‘i, aquaculture is an increasingly important part of the state’s diversified agriculture industry. The number of aquafarms in Hawai‘i has increased from two in 1970 to 117 in 1996. The demise of Hawai‘i’s sugar industry, coupled with an increase in the number of terrestrial farmers who have switched to aquafarming, has helped fuel this growth. Aquaculture business models showing rates of return on investments of 30 percent or more have also spurred interest.

So what about the aquaculture course?
The course will be team taught by leading researchers from Oceanic Institute and HPU faculty. Students will learn basic principles of aquaculture, including water quality chemistry, microbial ecology, systems engineering, and animal nutrition. The course will illustrate how these basic principles are used in fish and crustacean culture. Additional topics include stock enhancement, seafood quality, nutraceuticals, and ornamentals.

In future Kalamalama issues, we will share more about the exciting new affiliation between OI and HPU and discuss some of OI’s ongoing research.



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