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by Tom Ogawa, OI Researcher

 

Certainly there is general agreement that the world fisheries are maxed out and that any growth in seafood production will have to come from aquaculture. Although this may all sound dismal, it is really good news for many of us in Hawai‘i who have been working together to develop an alternative approach to the current reliance on wild collection—developing hatchery-based captive production technologies for a range of high-value (and very good tasting) fish species like moi, kahala, and opakapaka that can fill growing market demands.

The path in developing captive production technologies for new species is not easy, but it is rewarding. Efforts by my research team, which includes a host of HPU interns and graduates, have already contributed to the startup of two commercial open-ocean cage operations—the first raising moi off the ‘Ewa coast and a second in Kona raising even faster growing kahala, marketed under the brand name Kona Kampachi. This same technology is also being used to assist Hawaiians in revitalizing Hawaiian fishponds in He‘eia and to assist fishery managers in managing and even enhancing natural fish stocks with hatchery-reared fingerlings.

An additional application of this emerging captive rearing technology is the ability to rear a number of ornamental reef species. Oceanic Institute was the first to rear the highly prized flame angelfish and current efforts are focused on learning how to rear the highly valued yellow tang, a signature species for the Hawai‘i reef ecosystem. The overarching goal of my research program is to develop environmentally and economically viable captive production technologies for a range of high-value fishes and thus to lessen the impact on our invaluable ocean resources.

To learn more contact Gary Karr, director of education and communications at 259-3146, visit our Web site at www.oceanicinstitute.org, or better yet … come join the effort.

 

 

 

 

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