Feb 21, 2020

Aquaculture America 2020: Conference Wrap-up

The Aquaculture America 2020 conference took place in Honolulu from February 9-12. The event included a tradeshow and a packed program featuring a wide variety of sessions over the course of three full days; with captivating and informational presentations spanning the entire fresh and marine aquaculture industry, it was often difficult to choose which session to attend.

CTSA participated in a tradeshow booth managed by the Hawaii Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association (HAAA) in conjunction with our program’s host institution, the University of Hawai’i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). The booth provided opportunities to mingle and network with researchers, farmers, business operators, and more stakeholders from Hawai’i, the Western Pacific Islands, and around the world. CTSA is grateful to our partners for offering us this opportunity to participate in the booth and distribute materials about the RAC program, including CTSA publications and other information.

This year’s conference paid special homage to the host city, and honored the history of aquaculture in Hawai’i through several dedicated sessions. Our partners at Kua Aina Auamo (KUA) did a fantastic job leading many sessions and related activities before, during and after the conference, including a fishpond workshop (detailed in this month’s Aqua Clip). We congratulate them for leaving an impressive mark on the international aquaculture industry.

Several researchers presented results from CTSA-funded projects during the conference. During the Hatchery Production and Technology session on Day 1, Dr. Chatham Callan (pictured) led presentations about his ongoing groundbreaking work with Yellow Tang, which is seeking building upon prior successes to address production challenges and significantly improve the yield of Yellow Tang production,and his recently completed project on Coral Grouper. The study sought to build on past developments in grouper culture and recent advancements in copepod culture technology by observing how growth and survival were influenced by the addition of intensively cultured copepods to the early diet of P. leopardus larvae. CTSA Principal Investigator Miguel de los Santos from Palau also presented on his project to improve the survival rate of mangrove crabs by establishing a better combination of algal diets. During the Tilapia session on Day 3, RuthEllen Klinger-Bowen presented the results of the recent CTSA study that sampled tilapia from feral populations of the main Hawaiian Islands to evaluate species composition and the geographic distribution of Fno.Full results from these projects are presented in the 2019 Annual Accomplishment Report.

It was also a pleasure to support members of our Industry Advisory Council and Technical Committee during their presentations, including David Cohen’s presentation on sea urchin production in Hawai’i and Vernon Sato’s presentations on microalgae and mullet in Hawaiian fishponds.

Of particular interest to our program during this year’s conference were the sessions on Education, Extension, and Public Perceptions and Social License. With our new Sea Grant project to assess the impacts that education has on public perception of aquaculture, these sessions were particularly informative and presented opportunities to increase our education network. Presentations and panel discussions featuring experts including our friends at Sea Grant and the Long Beach Aquarium demonstrated both the importance and value of incorporating aquaculture into education programs. We are excited to build our education program over the coming months and years, and look forward to sharing our project results at a conference in the near future!

by Meredith Brooks, CTSA Information Specialist