Group from Micronesia explores aquaculture possibilities

Andy George, executive director of the Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization, speaks with University of Hawaii at Hilo fish research specialist Richard Masse at UH-Hilo’s Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center.

Fisheries officers from Kosrae, Micronesia, recently toured the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center to learn more about aquaculture efforts in Hawaii.

Andy George, executive director of the Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization and a graduate of UH-Hilo, visited the center with Bond Segal, marine Program manager for Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization, and Bruno Ned, administrator of the Division of Fisheries and Marine Resources in the Kosrae Department of Resources and Economic Affairs.

George said the trio decided to visit Hawaii to learn about different ongoing aquaculture activities.

“We know that we can’t do all of them, we cannot replicate all of them in Micronesia, but we wanted to see what aspects of it can be applicable in Micronesia,” he said. “We have some ongoing aquaculture developments in Micronesia … We have partners who are doing a lot of good work on corals and on plants, but we also wanted to look at the community-based component.”

His organization is interested to see how it can help communities operate and manage small-scale aquaculture endeavors, so people can raise their own products that can be used as food security or create a learning activity for children, George explained.

“There’s always been an interest in aquaculture, but (Kosrae state) is expanding its focus on aquaculture, including my organization. We’re just venturing into aquaculture now … We’ve done conservation work in the past, but now we’re linking aquaculture to complement the ongoing conservation work that we do, to support the conservation efforts in the community.”

The Micronesian state’s government has plans to expand aquaculture activities as well.

“We already know what we have at the state level, what the potentials are and we’re here to learn as much possible for what kind of work you’re doing here that would be feasible for us to carry on at the state,” Ned said.

“I would say the trip is successful and we would like to, when we go back, look at the different things we have learned in Hawaii, on this trip as well as (from) other aquaculture (activities) in the region and see what works for us,” George said. “We’re really at the infancy stage now. This trip is really the first trip outside of Kosrae to start exploring possibilities for us.”

They will now have to look at everything they’ve learned and create plan forward, he said.


  • According to College of Micronesia's Land Grant scientists, one of the interesting and potential aquaculture project that is being put together is the land-based spawning and growing of "grouper". This type of fish is desired by the local population for its white and firm meat. The purpose of the project is to produce "grouper" fish for local consumption as sold in the local fish market; but also to help alleviate pressure on the grouper reef population as it is being fished heavily by local fisherman. Some of the fish, especially in Chuuk are exported to Guam which has a large demand for this type of fish. While it is in discussion phase, most of the scientific infrastructure and technical know-how are already in place--to make this possible.

    The idea of having the farm based on land--similar to these tanks in Hilo--is to avoid fouling of the surrounding water which a floating grow-out cage would cause. If the project could work, the actual farming can be set up in all the Micronesian islands plus Guam and CNMI. We'll see.

  • Thanks for the encouraging information, marc. Let's hope someone can make it happen.
  • should have done this a longggg time ago
  • Yes. But better late than never.
  • Lagoon11, there were some bottleneck and technical issues in the spawning process, larval rearing and grow-out of the grouper that had prevented the concept from being tried out as a business model. It's reported that last year or so, a team consisting of a scientist from Oceanic Institute in Hawaii working together with a Land-Grant researcher based at PCC in Palau under a grant from USDA's Center for Tropical and Sub-Tropical Aquaculture (CTSA), a Hawaii-based aquaculture research program, started to work out the technical/scientific bottle necks. So they were able to work the problem out; and have demonstrated that the spawning and larval rearing is possible in the land-based tanks. Such information were already disseminated publicly.

    It's reported that while the original idea was to raise the grouper in floating cages, the issue of fouling that occur surrounding such floating cages had become an issue--in Hawaii and the RMI-base Moi production project. Fouling is from the uneaten fish feed pellets that sink to the bottom of the cages or drop to the surrounding ocean bottom or corals--something that is not desirable.

    So the scientists are now looking for other options--to raise the fish without fouling. So now, it's the right time to take the research results and transfer it to actual farming in the islands. If this works out, the project should train many locals to do the spawning, larval rearing and grow-out; so they can do the work in the land-based farms located in their islands. The locally trained-spawners can dispatched to Guam, Saipan, Hawaii and other locations in the Pacific in order to provide services and training for others. That's what they are saying. Let's hope it works. Yes, it's better late than never.
  • Thanks for the informative details, marc. Please keep us updated. These projects are vital for FSM's economy.
Sign In or Register to comment.