News & Events

Regional e-Notes: January Letter from the Director

Jan 31, 2020


Yesterday, CTSA held its annual Board of Directors (BOD) meeting on the UH Manoa campus. I am happy to report that all of our Board members were able to attend this year’s meeting, including the newest appointee from the State of Hawai’i, Mr. Morris M. Atta, who is the Deputy to the Chairperson of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. We welcome Mr. Atta to our program! In addition to reviewing recently completed and ongoing CTSA projects, the Directors discussed and voted on the FY19 Plan of Work at the meeting. Per our standard procedure, CTSA will now forward the Board-approved Plan of Work, comprised of four proposals, to NIFA for final approval.

Among the many topics discussed at the meeting, a serious focal point was one of the most critical issues facing aquaculture development in the CTSA region: how can we combine our efforts to advance both aquaculture research and the commercialization of the industry in the Pacific Islands? Our Board expressed a desire to assess and consider how the results from each CTSA project—especially those that are not solving an identified problem in an existing industry—are or will be applicable to industry development. Multiple approaches were shared at the meeting, and I look forward to implementing those suggestions. A key to future success will be the employment of several new extension agents in the region, which our Board discussed at length.

During the five-hour meeting, we also touched on the subject cost-effective feeds production. Our program has supported several projects in recent years to catalog, analyze, and utilize local ingredients in aquatic feed formulations. It turns out that we have many viable, high quality ingredients, and our researchers are developing innovative ways to create and use them. The valuable information obtained through these projects has yet to be applied in actual feed production. Without any major feed manufacturing operations in Hawai’i, the question remains: is it truly feasible and sustainable to produce feeds on a commercial scale locally, and if not, what is the value of continuing local feeds research? We must determine if feed development will remain one of the top industry priorities moving forward and if so, how we will actively work together to solve the problem. These questions are important considerations as we move forward to our next development cycle.

Now that our FY19 Plan of Work is moving to its final stage of approval, our attention will shift to developing the FY20 Plan of Work. I strongly encourage you to send us your input and suggestions on priority areas for funding - this is the best way we can learn about the most pressing needs of our industry. If you are a regular reader of our newsletter, you know I am constantly discussing the importance of partnerships and teamwork to sustainably drive aquaculture development in the region. Our annual development process is one of the most impactful ways we can collaborate with stakeholders, and I look forward to hearing from you on your suggestions about how we can work together to grow our aquaculture industry.

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