News & Events

Regional e-Notes: February Letter from the Director

Feb 28, 2019


Following the recent CTSA Board approval of the FY18 Plan of Work (and subsequent submission to the USDA), we are now turning our attention to this year’s development cycle. To kick things off, my team and I are planning to hold our first adhoc committee meeting of the year to discuss strategic priority areas for FY19. As we gather to discuss the critical issues that are facing farmers and the industry, I will encourage our group to sharply focus on how CTSA can leverage aquaculture funding to benefit the everyday lives of people throughout our region. Per our usual practice, I am also asking our valued stakeholders to provide your input on industry development in our region (please take a few moments to take the survey included in this month’s issue).

There are many ways that aquaculture can meaningfully impact our island communities, one of the most obvious being increased food security and nutrition. Aquaculture can allow us to secure the sustainable supply of staple species and introduce new and healthy seafood options, such as seaweeds and fish high in beneficial fatty acids, which can play a role in improving health and wellness across the region. Development of the industry can also have significant economic impacts, especially when considering the ideal farming conditions of the Pacific Islands. A recent article in the Agriculture Economics 2019 issue titled “Does a “Blue Revolution” help the poor? Evidence from Bangladesh,” indicated aquaculture contributed to a 10% reduction in poverty in Bangladesh. 10% of the population represents 1.8 million people who’s lives, incomes, and access to healthy seafood were improved. My own experience working with USAID to introduce fish farming in Bali and the Philippines allowed me to witness first hand peoples lives changing for the better because of aquaculture.

As an industry, we need to do more public outreach to share these wide-ranging benefits with everyone; community acceptance and support is the only way that aquaculture will reach its full potential.

In planning for our forthcoming development cycle, I encourage you—our stakeholders—to think about and share your thoughts on how we can best utilize aquaculture to improve the economy, environment, and overall health and wellbeing of our constituents. Providing input on our priority areas gives you the opportunity to directly impact your community through the next round of CTSA funding, and we hope to hear from you!


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