News & Events

Regional e-Notes: August Letter from the Director

Aug 30, 2017

Aloha,

The Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC) recently published the results of an economic assessment which found that a modest investment of just over $4 million in NRAC projects from 2005-2014 generated almost $79 million in GDP and 777 jobs in NRAC states. This data provides clear evidence that the Regional Aquaculture Centers are a worthwhile grassroots driven federal program, and I congratulate the stakeholders who contributed to bring the Northeast aquaculture industry to this point of significant return on investment!

As we commend the economic success of our fellow Center and the Regional Aquaculture Center program, the assessment has prompted me to think about what we can accomplish through aquaculture in our own isolated region. The Pacific Islands have an abundance of pristine resources that can be sustainably utilized to expand U.S. aquaculture production. However, logistical challenges have made large-scale commercial farming difficult, and our aquaculture industry remains relatively small.

In spite of our differences from our counterparts across the country, both in the status of aquaculture and levels of production, I believe we must strategically focus on making the most meaningful impacts using our regional capabilities. Accordingly, CTSA has supported capacity building projects to increase skillful local workforces, jobs and revenue opportunities in impoverished island communities, such as the ongoing marine finfish project in the Marshall Islands. We have also supported projects that have had important impacts beyond our region, such as the ongoing work to establish oyster production in Hawaii, which is proving to be an essential resource for the oyster industry on the U.S. west coast.

Moving forward, our program wants to continue using our limited budget in support of worthwhile innovative research and technology transfer efforts to achieve the maximum return on our investment. We look forward to working together with you, our valued stakeholders, to make our small regional aquaculture industry more cohesive and purposeful.

Mahalo,

Cheng-Sheng Lee, Ph.D.
Executive Director, CTSA