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.