With an ever-increasing
world population and the wild fishery now fully exploited,
aquaculture provides exciting new opportunities to utilize
marine resources while conserving our open ocean and coral
reef environments. Nowhere is this more important than Hawai‘i.
The Finfish Research group at the Oceanic Institute is actively
engaged in a range of research that aims to solve key problems
in culturing marine fishes for human consumption or the ornamental
trade. Toward this goal, the research group is organized into
specialized teams, each with their own specific challenges.
The Broodstock Team develops husbandry and reproductive technologies
for multiple marine species. Key successes include the first-ever
captive spawning of kahala, ‘omilu, and yellow tang.
The eggs are then utilized by the Larviculture Team to create
and optimize hatchery technologies for growing the delicate larval
stages of these pelagic spawning species, with recent accolades
received for the first-ever captive rearing of flame angelfish.
In support of rearing spawned eggs through the 30-day larval
period, the Live Feeds Team is engaged in culturing planktonic
organisms, including a variety of microalgae and crustacean species,
upon which larvae feed. Recent success in culturing a marine
calanoid copepod, known as Parvocalanus, may have just revolutionized
aquaculture, allowing the captive cultivation of a large number
of pelagic and coral reef species that previously could not be
reared in captivity.
Although fish have been classically grown to market sizes in
ponds and tanks, our group has also been active in collaborative
projects with industry, the state of Hawai‘i, and the UH
Sea Grant testing large submersible offshore cages for commercial
growout of moi and other foodfish species to harvest size. After
two successful growout cycles using a 2600m3 submersible cage
system, we are actively engaged in support and transfer of this
technology to industry.
Since the opening of our state-of-the art demonstration hatchery
facility late in 2002, the Production Hatchery Team has generated
nearly four million moi fingerlings in their role of testing
marine finfish culture technologies at commercial scales of operation.
It now assisting in the transfer this technology to the commercial
sector for the expansion of offshore aquaculture ventures and
assists land-based operations employing Hawaiian fishponds and
secondary school facilities.
Our multidisciplinary research team has successfully established
a worldwide reputation for developing new marine fish culture
technologies and plays a pivotal role in national marine aquaculture
development and marine fishery restoration initiatives. We are
uniquely positioned as Hawai‘i is home to more than 85
percent of all coral reefs in the U.S. and supports the diverse
species base required for a comparative, multi-species approach.
Besides providing undergraduate opportunities, HPU’s recently
launched Master of Science in Marine Science program has students
doing graduate research within the Finfish Department. HPU students
are invited to take advantage of newly developed OI-HPU course
initiatives in aquaculture and coastal resource management or
directly participate as interns or volunteers to learn new technologies
and to provide meaningful contributions to ongoing research projects.
In future Kalamalama issues we will continue to share more about
the exciting new affiliation between OI and HPU and discuss some
of the ongoing research being conducted at OI, often with HPU
students’ help. To learn more, visit www.hpu.edu, or OI’s
Web site at www.oceanicinstitute.org, or e-mail Gary Karr, OI’s
Director of Education, firstname.lastname@example.org.