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Mozambique tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus, Photo by Andre P. Seale

The University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program has received nearly $1 million for aquaculture research in support of food security research, education and outreach in the state.

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Sydney Gamiao holds a Pacific threadfin, aka moi Polydactylus sexfilis, with David Littrell at the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, UH Hilo. Photo by Maria Haws

Maria Haws, director of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant’s Center of Excellence in Sustainable Aquaculture and Coastal Resources and director of UH Hilo‘s Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, received $182,955 for her project, “Increasing Opportunities for Aquaculture of High Value Marine Fish in Hawaiʻi.” It will develop improved culture methods for the native marine fish species Pacific Threadfin, known locally as moi, in land-based systems.

“Moi is a popular fish in Hawaiʻi and has cultural value as well,” said Haws. “Our hope is to make moi fingerlings and extension support available to local stakeholders to help overcome some of the barriers that have impeded mariculture for decades, which will help create a local supply of fresh, sustainable seafood and create jobs.”

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Closeup image of female Mozambique tilapia with a fry on her lip. Photo by Andre P. Seale

Andre P. Seale, assistant professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), received $749,815 for his project, “Integrating Land and Sea Grant Aquaculture Research, Extension and Education at the University of Hawaiʻi.” It aims to establish an aquaculture program at UH Mānoa that leverages and integrates land and sea grant research, extension and education resources. CTAHR‘s Seale and Rajesh Jha are partnering with Darren T. Lerner and Darren K. Okimoto of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant.

“We intend to leverage a state-of-the-art recirculating aquaculture facility to address research, education and extension capacity needs of university students, industry producers and the public,” said Seale. “We also plan to develop a research program related to the aquaculture production of finfish, and an outreach program that will disseminate industry driven research information to producers and end-users.”

Hawaiʻi Sea Grant is among several national Sea Grant programs to receive funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to address specific priorities of the 2018 Sea Grant National Aquaculture Initiative. The 22 funded projects total $11 million in federal grants, and will help spur development of a sustainable marine and coastal aquaculture industry in the U.S.

For a full list and short descriptions of the 22 grant projects, visit the NOAA Sea Grant website.

—By Cindy Knapman

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