Categories

Archive

Mar 31, 2021

Explore the New CTSA Website

The CTSA website has undergone a full remodel under the direction of the ongoing Information Services project, which spent several months working with Hawaii based designers to create our most robust program website to date.

Watch the short video below highlighting some of the new user friendly features of the site:

 

Mar 26, 2021

CTSA Project Update: Diagnosing Diseases of Concern to Hawaii Aquaculture Producers

by RuthEllen Klinger-Bowen, Research Corporation University of Hawaii, Lei Yamasaki, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Karin Kurkjian, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Jenee Odani, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Click here to view or download in PDF

Global food fish consumption has outpaced population growth by two to one according to the 2018 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report on the state of world fisheries and aquaculture (FAO, 2018). It is projected that aquaculture production must grow 70% to feed the world population by 2050 (FAO, 2014). This goal cannot be met without anticipating the potential setbacks from economic and management issues. FAO firmly states that disease control is one of highest priorities to accommodate future aquaculture growth. The U.S. aquaculture industry alone loses $6 billion per year to disease issues (World Bank, 2014), ultimately constricting production.

The transportation of live animals is essential to all animal-producing sectors of agriculture. Animals are moved for a number of reasons, including marketing, restocking, slaughter and genetic program enhancement. Although movement is necessary for the growth and development of industries, it plays a significant role in the spread of infectious diseases. Because of this, many national and state governments have strict animal health import requirements to reduce the risk of disease introduction.

As the aquaculture industry in Hawaii grows, updated information on diseases is needed to protect investments and to meet requirements to move animals in and out of the state. For example, koi producers in Hawaii test their animals for koi herpesvirus (KHV) and spring viremia of carp (SVC) to meet the import requirements of countries. Koi producers will often import new stock and perform post-entry testing to confirm that the lot of fish are negative for both pathogens. Tilapia lake virus (TiLV) is an emerging viral disease of tilapia that has had worldwide implications for the aquaculture community (Fathi et al., 2017; Behera et al., 2018; Jansen et al., 2018). Testing for TiLV may eventually be required for any shipment of tilapia in and out of Hawaii. The bacterium Francisella orientalis (previously named Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis or Fno (Ramirez-Paredes et al., 2020)) is well known in Hawaii, particularly on Oahu (Soto et al., 2013). It continues to cause morbidities/mortalities in cultured tilapia during the winter months, which reduces revenue for the fish farmer. Another bacterium, Streptococcus iniae, is reported to infect 27 freshwater, marine, and estuarine species, including causing up to 50% mortality in tilapia (Agnew and Barnes, 2007). Ominously, this potentially zoonotic bacterium has been found in wild populations near aquaculture facilities in other parts of the world (Colorn et al., 2002). Ostreid herpesvirus 1 (OsHV-1) is an emerging pathogen of oysters (OIE, 2019a), resulting in significant losses in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe (Whittington et al., 2018). A variant of OsHV-1 was reported for the first time in the U.S. in 2002.

Although the Hawaii Department of Agriculture regulates the import of live animals, seafood products that are frozen or fresh (on ice) enters Hawaii without being tested for diseases. Testing marketed seafood would give the aquaculture industry an idea of what diseases are potentially introduced, and what they need to do to protect their investment.

To properly focus our project’s objectives, we first determined the diseases of highest concern to Hawaii’s aquaculture producers, via a survey that was sent via email and in person on four separate occasions. Based on the 13 responses, we also conducted a literature review to evaluate significance of the pathogens and our working group created a list of six pathogens that were determined to be of most concern: F. orientalis, TiLV, and S. iniae in tilapia, KHV and SVC in koi, and OsHV-1 in oysters.

In response to these concerns, twenty animals were submitted for testing from two koi, four tilapia, and five oyster facilities. Up to five animals were purchased from separate markets, including four cyprinid, five tilapia, and six oyster vendors. Tissues were selected for testing based on likelihood of being an indicator for the pathogen and to obtain a mix of lethal vs. non-lethal samples (Figures 1 & 2). Tissues collected from tilapia included spleen, liver, gill, fin, eye, and anterior kidney. Spleen, liver, gill, and fin were the primary target tissues; however, in two market cases where the fish were sold gutted, eye and anterior kidney were used as substitutes for spleen and liver (both F. orientalis and TiLV can cause ocular lesions, while anterior kidney can harbor F. orientalis). Tissues collected from cyprinids included spleen, posterior kidney, gill, and fin. Tissues collected from oysters included gill and mantle. No suitable non-lethal samples for OsHV were reported in the literature.

After sample collection, tissues were sent to the University of Hawaii Animal Diagnostic Laboratory (UHADL). The Qiagen Kit DNeasy Blood & Tissue Kit and the RNeasy Mini Kit were used for DNA and RNA extraction, respectively, following the protocol suggested by the manufacturer. A real-time PCR (qPCR) assays for TiLV, F. orientalis, KHV, SVC, OsHV-1, and conventional PCR assay for S. iniae were developed following previously published methods (Waiyamitra et al. 2018; Gilad et al., 2004; OIE 2019a-c; Mata et al., 2004). The qPCR assays were conducted in duplicates and analyzed within the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR Systems (Applied Biosystems). The GoTaq probe qPCR Master Mix from Promega was used for qPCR analysis and the GoTaq DNA Polymerase Kit was used for S. iniae samples (Figure 3)

Of five tilapia farms tested, two had fish that were positive for F. orientalis. One farm had six of 20 fish test positive by PCR assay (spleen samples; 30% prevalence). The second farm had nine of 20 fish test positive by PCR assay (spleen samples; 45% prevalence). In the second farm, one of the nine fish had two tissues test positive by PCR (liver and spleen). These farms are located on Oahu, an island known to host F. orientalis in aquacultured and wild tilapia populations (Yamasaki et al., 2020, Soto et al., 2013; Klinger et al., 2012; Tamaru et al., 2011). In total, 321 PCR assays for F. orientalis were completed. Cycle threshold (Ct) values and copy numbers for the 16 samples that tested positive for F. orientalisare presented in Table 2. Ct levels are inversely proportional to the amount of target nucleic acid in the sample: samples with lower Ct values have a higher amount of target nucleic acid or copy numbers.

All non-lethal samples from the 15 tilapia that tested positive for F. orientalis using lethal samples (spleen +/- liver) tested negative. Only lethal samples collected for F. orientalis  yielded positive results. The bacterium was not detected in any of the marketed tilapia, which were frozen fish from China, Taiwan, and Thailand (Figure 4). TiLV and S. iniae were not detected in fish from farms or markets. 

Both koi farms were negative for KHV and SVC. Live cyprinids (koi and feeder comets) were purchased from pet stores on Oahu; most were supplied from the mainland (California and Florida). One pet store received koi from Asia but the country of origin was unknown. Nevertheless, all the cyprinids were negative for the two pathogens. 

None of the oyster farms were positive for OsHV-1. The oysters that were purchased in the markets were primarily shipped (live on ice) from northwest U.S.; however, there was one collection purchased from eastern U.S. and one (frozen) from Korea (Figure 5). None of the purchased oysters were positive for OsHV-1. 
   
This project also examined non-lethal methods (gills, fins) to determine if valuable fish could be sampled without sacrifice in future health inspections. However, non-lethal samples (gills, fins) were not useful for detection of F. orientalis in tilapia and could not be evaluated for other pathogens since no positive animals were detected. 

With the results of the survey, we were able to determine what aquatic animal diseases the aquaculture industry are concerned about. This led to the validation of PCR tests for TiLV, F. orientalis, KHV, SVC,  OsHV-1, and S. iniae. The UHADL is now able to provide testing services to the industry for these pathogens. Imported seafood (tilapia, oysters) and pet fish (koi, comets) were found to be negative for the pathogens of concern. While continuous testing of imported aquacultured products would be the best way to monitor the market for disease introduction, this is not a cost-effective or time-efficient strategy. Based on our survey, one area that should be addressed is biosecurity of farm operations. The survey asked what biosecurity measures are in place on the farms. This included perimeter fencing/locked gates, allowing visitors, foot baths/wash stations, log books for visitor sign-ins, pest/animal control measures, treatment of incoming water, and quarantine for new animals. All had at least one biosecurity measure in place; however, some did not have basic measures such as quarantining new animals or visitor tracking.

Ideally, assessing the needs of Hawaii aquaculture producers should be conducted at least every five years to update primary concerns, report any new issues, and to gain insight on specific issues that researchers could address. The added benefit of establishing a local USDA approved diagnostic laboratory for Hawaii’s aquaculture industry and potentially for other Pacific Islands creates a cost-effective and readily available service not only for the current pathogens but also for emerging aquatic diseases and biosecurity threats.   

References:  

Agnew, W. and A.C. Barnes. 2007. Streptococcus iniae: an aquatic pathogen of global veterinary significance and a challenging candidate for reliable vaccination. Vet. Micro. 122 (1-2): 1-15. 

Behera, B.K., Pradham, P.K., Swaminathan, T.R., Sood, ZN, Paria, P., Das, A., Verma, D.K., Kumar, R., Yadav, M.K., Dev, A.D., Parida, P.K., Das, B.K., Lal, K.K., and Z.J.K. Jena. 2018. Emergence of tilapia lake virus associated with mortalities of farmed Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus 1758) in India. Aquaculture 484: 168-174. 

Colorn, A., Diamant, A., Eldar, A., Kvitt, H., and A. Zlotkin. 2002. Streptococcus iniae infections in Red Sea cage-cultured and wild fishes. Dis. Aq. Org. 49 (3): 165-70. 

Fathi, M., Dickson, C., Dickson, M.,  Leschen, W., Baily, J., Muir, F., Ulrick, K., and M. Weidmann. 2017. Identification of tilapia lake virus in Egypt in Nile tilapia affected by ‘summer mortality’ syndrome. Aquaculture. 473: 430-432. 

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2017. Global aquaculture production. FAO, Rome. http://www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/global-production/en 

FAO. 2018. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2018 - Meeting the sustainable development goals. Rome. http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/I9540EN/ 

Gilad, O., Yun, S., Zagmutt-Vergara, F.J., Leutenegger, C.M., Bercovier, H., and R.P. Hedrick 2004. Concentrations of a Koi herpesvirus (KHV) in tissues of experimentally infected Cyprinus carpio koi as assessed by real-time TaqMan PCR. Dis. Aquat. Org. 60: 179-187.

Jansen, M.D., Dong, H.T., and C.V. Mohan. 2018. Tilapia lake virus: a threat to the global tilapia industry? Rev. Aquacult. 1-15. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/raq.12254 

Klinger-Bowen, R., Tamaru, C.S., McGovern-Hopkins, K., Fox, B.K., Antonio, N.L, Brock, J., and E. Soto. 2012.  Francisellosis in tilapia. CTSA publication #158. 5 pages. 

Mata, A.I., Blanco, M.M., Dominguez, L., and J.F. Fernández-Garayzábal. 2004. Development of a PCR assay for Streptococcus iniae based on the lactate oxidase (lctO) gene with potential diagnostic value. Vet. Micro. 101: 109-116.

OIE. 2019a. Infection with ostreid herpesvirus 1 microvariants. Manual of diagnostic test for aquatic animals Chapter 2.3.5. OIE, Paris, FRA. 

OIE. 2019b. Infection with koi herpesvirus. Manual of diagnostic test for aquatic animals Chapter 2.3.7. OIE, Paris, FRA.

OIE. 2019c. Spring viraemia of carp. Manual of diagnostic test for aquatic animals Chapter 2.3.9. OIE, Paris, FRA.

Ramirez-Paredes, J.G., Larsson, P., Thompson, K.D., Penman, D.J., Busse, H., Ohrman, C., Sjodin, A., Soto, E., Richards, R.H., Adams, A. & D.J. Colquhoun. 2020. Reclassification of Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis Ottem et al. 2009 as Francisella orientalis sp. nov., Francisella noatunensis subsp. chilensis subsp. nov. and emended description of Francisella noatunensis. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Micr. 70 (3), 2034–2048. https://doi.org/10.1099/ijsem.0.004009 

Soto, E., McGovern-Hopkins, K., Klinger-Bowen, R., Fox, B.K., Brock, J., Antonio, N., 
vander Waal, Z., Rushton, S., Mill, A., and C.S. Tamaru. 2013. Prevalence of Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis in cultured tilapia on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. J. Aq. An. Health. 25(2): 104-109. 

Tamaru, C., McGovern-Hopkins, K., Klinger-Bowen, R., Fox, B., Riggs, A., Low, T., Antonio, N., and J. Brock. 2011. Detection of asymptomatic Francisella spp. carriers in tilapia cultured in Hawaii. CTSA Regional E-Notes 3(7). July 2011.

Waiyamitra, P., Tattiyapong, P., Sirikanchana, K., Mongkolsuk, S., Nicholson, P., and W.
Surachetpong. 2018. A TaqMan RT-qPCR assay for tilapia lake virus (TiLV) detection in tilapia. Aquaculture 497: 184-188.

Whittington, R.J., Becker, J.A., and M.M. Dennis. 2010. Iridovirus infections in finfish–critical review with emphasis on ranaviruses. J. Fish Dis. 33(2): 95-122. 

World Bank. Reducing disease risks in aquaculture. World Bank Report #88257-GLB. 2014.

Yamasaki, L., Iwai, T., Klinger-Bowen, R., Weese, D., and M. Wong. CTSA Project Summary: Presence of Oreochromis niloticus and Francisella noatunensis subspecies orientalis (Fno) in feral populations of tilapia in Hawaii. CTSA Regional E-notes 12(3). March 2020.  http://www.ctsa.org/files/notes/enotes_mar20.pdf 

Zhiqin, Y., Yong, T., Chengzhu, L., Xiayang, X., Biao, X., Laihua, Z., Zhiwen, L., Junqiang, H., Zongxiao, L., Yulin, J., Hong, L., and Q. Qiwei. 2008. Development of a sensitive and quantitative assay for spring viremia of carp virus based on real-time RT-PCR. J. Virol. Methods. 152: 43-48. 

Jan 11, 2021

CTSA 2020 Annual Accomplishment Report

The following 2-page summaries of CTSA projects that were active during 2020 are included in the Annual Accomplishment Report to the USDA. Please note: projects funded under the CTSA FY19 Plan of Work commenced recently and do not yet have significant findings to report; they are not included in this report.

2020 AAR Summaries

Jan 1, 2021

CTSA 2021 Schedule

 
January 28, 2021 Board of Directors approves FY20 Plan of Work
March 15, 2021 FY20 Plan of Work sent to USDA
By May 3, 2021 Call for FY21 Pre-Proposals
May 15, 2021 Mid-Term Status Reports due to CTSA
June 4, 2021Pre-proposals due for CTSA FY21 Plan of Work
June 29, 2021 Joint Industry Advisory Council and Technical Committee Meeting
July 12, 2021 Call for full proposals
August 27, 2021 Full proposals due to CTSA
September 24, 2021 External reviews of full proposals due to CTSA
October 31, 2021 Annual Progress Reports due to CTSA
November 19, 2021 Final proposal revisions for FY21 Plan of Work due to CTSA
December 17, 2021 Draft of FY21 Plan of Work to Board of Directors
January 14, 2022 CTSA 2021 Annual Accomplishment Report to the USDA
January 27, 2022 Board of Directors approves FY21 Plan of Work
Oct 30, 2020

Regional e-Notes: October Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As we close out Seafood Month, I would like to take a moment to reflect on a major economic impact of the global pandemic that is directly affecting our industry: supply and demand of seafood, and the closure and/or limited capacity of restaurants. As you may know, up to 65% of seafood is consumed in restaurants. Just last week the popular Rubio’s Seafood Grill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I was sad to hear this news, which highlights the need for us to increase the resilience of our seafood industry so that it can successfully navigate economic and environmental changes. It reminded me of how important it is to build strong communication and partnerships among all sectors in the seafood industry, from production to marketing and consumers. We need to not only increase production of seafood with social license, but also create products that are both accepted and desired by consumers. Publix Business Development Seafood Director Guy Pizzuti said it well: “For sustainability to truly take hold in the industry, it requires a partnership between the retailer, the industry, and the environmental group.”

While partnership is essential during uncertain times, CTSA has been talking for years about the importance of developing strong relationships and collaborative efforts throughout the seafood supply chain, and even beyond into consumer education. We need to utilize partnership, transparency and innovation to overcome the current situation and make seafood truly sustainable. I hope that the numerous online conferences and presentations organized by various seafood entities this month have increased understanding of the seafood industry, as well as its future direction. As our stakeholders and readers know, a strong seafood industry is important for our health, food security, economy and environment.

To this end, we are still in the process of developing our FY20 Plan of Work. We would like to express our sincere appreciation for those of you who have helped us during this development cycle, from our Industry and Technical advisors to our external review panels, who dedicated their time and expertise to help improve the quality of our Plan of Work. We could not do this without you, our valued partners!

Mahalo,
Dr. Cheng-Sheng Lee
Executive Director, CTSA

Oct 29, 2020

CTSA Project Summary: ‘Opihi Aquaculture Year 5 & 6: Improving Hatchery Technology and Production

‘Opihi (Cellana spp.) aquaculture has been of interest for many years beginning in the 1970’s when research and development began on technology for the ‘opihi makai’auli or blackfoot limpet (Cellana exarata) by Gladys Corpuz (1981). However, research was halted not long after when it was found that the technology established was not transferable to the more desirable species, ‘opihi ‘alinalina or yellowfoot limpet (Cellana sandwicensis) (Kay et al, 1982).  Around the early 2010’s, the idea of ‘opihi aquaculture was brought back to light to help support the increasing market demand, that has great impacts on the wild stocks.

To begin efforts towards closing the life cycle of ‘opihi, which has been the main goal since resurrecting the project, the first phase of the project consisted of engineering a broodstock recirculating system that would maintain the necessary intertidal stimulus (sea spray). Once this system was established, extensive research went into developing formulated feeds that would support good, long-term growth in our closed systems (Hua & Ako, 2014; Mau & Jha, 2018). This formulated feed allowed us to hold and mature wild broodstock in our lab until they were need for spawn trials. Moving forward, major improvements to spawning and larval rearing methodologies have only brought us closer to closing the life cycle of ‘opihi.

This next phase of the project (Years 5 & 6) kicked off with the development of a novel settlement system. To make this system as close to a natural intertidal environment as possible, raceways were constructed using entirely PVC piping. The system is equipped with adjustable water flow and underwater wave fans to help simulate the natural change in currents. Although still in the testing phase, this recirculating system will help to support an increase in production numbers coming out of our settlement experiments.

Maintaining excellent water quality was one of the most important lessons learned during this project. Since we are not equipped with a direct salt-water line here at UH Mānoa, we do not have the ideal flow-through system. Regular water changes on our broodstock systems are crucial in maintaining the health of our animals and when it comes to our larvae, we have taken extra measures to ensure they are healthy. To upgrade our water filtration, we built an additional system that would serve as our inhouse seawater reservoir. This system recirculates water through a 0.35-micron canister filter and a UV sterilizer that removes larges protists and bacteria, giving us clean water to raise our larvae.

Improving settlement was one of the main aspects of these project years. To increase survival beyond settlement key factors had to be identified that would help to formulate the ideal grow-out protocol. Plate orientation, microalgae type, and age of the biofilm were all factors that were tested of the course of various trials. To determine the proper plate orientation, microscope slides seeded with a diatom biofilm were positioned in horizontal (0°), vertical (90°) and slanted (45°) orientations. Overall, the horizontal orientation had the highest settlement and from our qualitative and quantitative observations, it was determined that ‘opihi are passive settlers. Having determined the proper plate orientation, we were able to begin testing the proper diatom for a biofilm. Different combinations of Navicula sp., Nitzchia sp., crustose coralline algae (CCA), and a natural intertidal culture from Makapu’u were tested. After several settlement trials it appeared that CCA and Navicula sp. had the highest settlement, however CCA also had very high mortality rates. It appears that although CCA is one of the main components of a natural intertidal environment, it did not support a healthy settlement surface. The last factor to test was the age of the biofilm and how it effects larval settlement and growth. To do this we introduced larvae to three different ages of Navicula sp. biofilm; a 1-week old biofilm, a three-day old biofilm, and a biofilm introduced the same day as larval stocking. From these trials, we found that the three-day old biofilm had the highest number of metamorphosed larvae compared to the other treatments. This led us to believe that having too dense of a biofilm may be harmful to the survival of the larvae, possibly overloading them with too many settlement cues. It was during these trials that we were able to have a few larvae make it through our bottleneck.

This bottleneck, being unable to go beyond 14 Days of survival, had prohibited us from reaching our goal. Changes had been made during these trials to the overall protocol including the implementation of daily water changes and the removal of larval mortalities to prevent the appearance of pests and an increase in bacterial build-up. These changes to our settlement protocol allowed use to bypass this roadblock by having a few larvae at the end of the 2019 season, enter the juvenile stages and begin the development of their adult shells. These few juvenile ‘opihi gave us the opportunity to monitor early shell growth rates which became a very important metric for understanding life-history and successfully recruitment. These early growth measurements also helped to support interpretations of juvenile daily growth rates of C. sandwicensis using their shell record made during an additional project (Mau et al, unpublished). Although the 2019-2020 season encountered an additional roadblock regarding the maturation of Oahu’s female ‘opihi population, we were still successful in rearing a few larvae onto the juvenile stages and show growth in their adult shells. Having successfully reached this stage again, shows great potential in reaching it in the upcoming seasons.

Each of these accomplishments have helped us to build a story behind the early life stages of ‘opihi, all while giving us valuable information that will aid us in bringing ‘opihi to production for market sale. By consistently producing ‘opihi, we will be able relieve harvesting pressures on wild populations with hopes of reducing the overall decline of their populations, keeping ‘opihi on our coastline for decades to come.

Written by: Angelica Valdez, University of Hawaii at Mānoa; Anthony Mau, Kualoa Ranch; Bridget Murphy, University of Hawaii at Mānoa; and Jon-Paul Bingham, University of Hawaii at Mānoa

Sources Cited:
Corpuz, G. C. (1981). Laboratory culture of Cellana exarata Reeve (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia, Patellidae). Aquaculture, 24, 219-231.
Kay, E. A., Corpuz, G. C., & Magruder, W. H. (1982). Opihi, Their Biology and Culture. Hawaii.
Hua, N. T., & Ako, H. (2014). Reproductive biology and effect of arachidonic acid level in broodstock diet on final maturation of the Hawaiian limpet Cellana sandwicensis. Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development, 5(5), 1.
Mau, A., & Jha, R. (2018). Effects of dietary protein to energy ratios on growth performance of yellowfoot limpet (Cellana sandwicensis Pease, 1861). Aquaculture Reports, 10, 17-22.


Video: Protocols for Spawning Opihi
In Final Production (anticipated completion early 2021)

Sep 29, 2020

Regional e-Notes: September Letter from the Director

Aloha,

It is becoming common knowledge that sustainable seafood is good for our health, our planet’s health, and for our economy’s health. As we prepare to usher in Seafood Month (October), I am pleased to see bipartisan legislation in the form of the ‘Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act (S. 4723),’ co-introduced by our U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. “Hawaii leads the nation in modern and traditional aquaculture practices,” stated Senator Schatz. “With this bipartisan bill, we can expand aquaculture opportunities, opening suitable federal waters for responsible growers. It will create new jobs, spur economic growth in our coastal communities, and ensure our oceans are managed sustainably now and in the future.”

I encourage you to join me in taking this opportunity to reflect on the importance and value of seafood for humans, and the impact that marine life has on our planet. Earlier this month, I participated in a few different virtual meetings related to seafood. One was a Zoom webinar on offshore aquaculture in Hawai’i and how partnerships and sound management can support the needs of communities, industry, and the environment through the production of local seafood. Another meeting organized by the Seafood Nutrition Partnership featured presentations by medical and nutrition scientists that were focused on the importance and value of seafood nutrients. The nutrients found in seafood are critical for human health, including lean protein, vitamins, and minerals, and most notably omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Not only do these nutrients support long-term health and development, but some key nutrients for antiviral immunity (Vitamin D, Zn and Se) are also in seafood. A recent study has found that a negative correlations between mean levels of vitamin D (average 56 mmol/L, STDEV 10.61) in each European country and the number of COVID-19 cases/1 M (mean 295.95, STDEV 298.7, and mortality/1 M (mean 5.96, STDEV 15.13). (https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-020-01570-8).

Currently, the U.S. currently imports at least 85% of its seafood, about half of which comes from aquaculture in other countries. Also, less than 36% of Americans eat the recommended two seafood meals per week week. In an effort to increase seafood consumption, a coalition of seafood organizations have banded together to create Eat Seafood America!, a consumer outreach campaign aimed at boosting the seafood economy and helping Americans stay healthy during the COVID-19 crisis. The campaign has been successful with their messaging, which is increasing as we prepare to enter Seafood Month (October), and has released a digital toolkit that includes key seafood messaging, seafood and human health data, recipes, and more. Click here to view or download the Eat Seafood America! digital toolkit.

One of the most holistic approaches to meeting the increasing global consumer demands for seafood is aquaculture, the capacity for which is expanding rapidly. Even politicians are talking more about the importance of aquaculture for the economy and environment, including Honolulu mayoral candidates who have declared strong support for increasing the farming of seafood in Hawai’i. Since our inception over three decades ago, CTSA has been proud to support the development of aquaculture research, development and production in our region to help meet both community and market needs for seafood. We are currently in the midst of our FY20 development process and are processing external reviews. The next step in this annual process will be ranking proposals and requesting proposal revisions in order to prepare the best Plan of Work to our Board and the USDA for approval. We look forward to sharing this PoW with you once it has been approved. In the meantime, we are always open to your thoughts and suggestions on the best ways to support our growing industry!

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

Sep 22, 2020

Eat Seafood America! Digital Toolkit

In an effort to increase seafood consumption, a coalition of seafood organizations have banded together to create Eat Seafood America!, a consumer outreach campaign aimed at boosting the seafood economy and helping Americans stay healthy during the COVID-19 crisis. The campaign has been successful with their messaging, which is increasing as we prepare to enter Seafood Month (October), and has released a digital toolkit that includes key seafood messaging, seafood and human health data, recipes, and more.

Eat Seafood America - Digital Toolkit

Aug 31, 2020

Regional e-Notes: August Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As you are likely aware, Hawai‘i entered another pandemic-related lockdown earlier this month. Covid-19 cases are increasing in the islands at an alarming rate, and our hospital emergency rooms are nearing full capacity. Our team at CTSA is sending our condolences and healing thoughts to all who are experiencing hardship during these unprecedented times.

This pandemic is taking a huge toll on Hawai‘i’s economy and the livelihoods of those who live here. Tourism, the largest contributor to the economy, has understandably slowed to a trickle. Local businesses are closing after decades in service, and thousands of employees are out of work. Young Brothers, the only inter island cargo company in Hawai’i, has received approval to increase shipping rates by 46%, a move that will impact the price of imported food and other goods throughout the islands and that is sure to be felt by all residents. The latter problem is one that highlights a critical issue that extends beyond the pandemic and one that we must urgently address as a region, nation, and global population: food security.

Hawai‘i relies heavily on imports to feed residents, visitors, and livestock. We need to grow more food locally, and with limited land space, the most logical resource to utilize for this purpose is our vast EEZ. In a recent interview, UH system President Lassner (8/19/2020)  commented on how agriculture and aquaculture are part of the equation to repair Hawai‘i’s economy. There have been many articles recently on the food of the future being from the sea, including this interview with High Liner Foods. People are consuming more seafood now than ever before, and I agree with the High Liner SVP that there is a desperate need for coordination among the industry to safely meet that demand. Sadly, an ‘opihi picker died earlier this month while harvesting the popular Hawaiian limpet, which is commonly referred to as “the fish of death” due to precarious placement in dangerous tidal zones. People are willing to risk their lives to harvest seafood, and it shouldn’t have to be that way. Increasing aquaculture production can help us safely meet our seafood and protein market demands. CTSA has funded eight years of research on opihi, led by graduate students under the supervision of Dr. Ako and Dr. Bingham. We hope their research findings can encourage opihi farming in the near future to meet local demand and avoid picking tragedies from happening.  

On that note, CTSA is in the midst of reviewing the eight full proposals that we received as part of our FY20 development process. Each proposal is currently undergoing both internal and external review before our committee decides which will be selected for inclusion in the FY20 Plan of Work. We are hopeful that the FY20 group of projects will solve industry problems, and build and capitalize on opportunities to grow aquaculture production in our region. It is during tough times such as these that we can clearly see the value and importance of working together to create sustainable solutions. Thank you for your contributions to this effort!

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

Aug 20, 2020

‘Rabbitfish Hatchery and Larval Rearing’ Palau Workshop Materials

The ongoing CTSA project “Improving Rabbitfish Seed Production Capacity in Palau” held a three-day virtual training workshop in June. The workshop covered the hatchery, nursery, and grow-out protocols for the farming of rabbitfish, a popular food fish throughout the Western Pacific region.

The workshop was led by researchers and project Co-P.I.‘s Miguel de los Santos of Palau Community College (PCC) and Dr. Chatham Callan of the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University (OI). Trainees learned basic tools for rabbitfish hatchery, nursery, and grow-out in Palau, as well as broodstock management, spawning, egg incubation, larval rearing, feed production, and more.

The free virtual workshop was held in place of the project’s in-person workshop that was postponed due to the Covid pandemic. The resource package from this workshop, which includes videos and PPT presentations, is available for download below:

Status of Rabbitfish Fisheries and Aquaculture (PDF)
Hatchery Techniques for Rabbitfish (PDF)
Biology of Rabbitfish (PDF)
Live Feeds Production (PDF)

Jul 31, 2020

Regional e-Notes: July Letter from the Director

Aloha,

“Show your gratitude to everything you encounter.” This is one of my life mottos, and once again, I would like to express my appreciation to our IAC/TC members who attended our annual meeting—which was virtual for the first time in our program history—and promptly submitted their pre-proposal ranking sheets after the meeting. With the recommendations and voting provided by our devoted Industry Advisory Council (IAC) and Technical Committee (TC) members on June 29, CTSA has now taken the next step to invite those pre-proposals that received 51% or more votes to prepare and submit full proposals. The full proposals are due next month, at which point they will undergo rigorous internal and external review before consideration for inclusion in the CTSA FY2020 Plan of Work. We will keep you posted as we progress.

I also would like to extend my appreciation to all PI’s who take the time to share their ideas on how we can sustainably develop the regional aquaculture industry. It is my unfortunate task to tell some of them that their pre-proposals were not selected by our council members to move to the next level. It is a process that I do not take lightly. I do my best to share my thoughts on the reasons why each pre-proposal was not selected by the IAC and TC based on the complex content of their discussion during the meeting. This is difficult to do, and I hope the information will help those who wish to resubmit their pre-proposals to CTSA next year; in fact, we strongly encourage any PI who was not successful during this development cycle to revise/improve their project idea based on the comments provided and apply during a future cycle. The CTSA administrative staff is happy to discuss with you if you wish.

On a separate but similar note, it is looking like funding and support for aquaculture will grow in the coming years. I noticed while watching the recent Honolulu Mayoral debate that several candidates are considering aquaculture as an important part of economic recovery, especially in the face of the devastating local economic impacts from Covid 19. This is true in other coastal locations across the U.S., which are also looking to utilize plentiful marine resources to increase food security and economic opportunities. CTSA stands committed to facilitating this growth in Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands, and as always we welcome your suggestions and comments!

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

Jul 27, 2020

CTSA Project Update: Polychaete Culture in Hawaii: A Potentially Valuable Feed for Shrimp Hatcheries

Polychaete Culture in Hawaii: A Potentially Valuable Feed for Local Shrimp Hatcheries
Dustin Moss, Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University

Captive reproduction of penaeid shrimp requires conditioning and maturation of broodstock to stimulate gonadal development and induce mating, spawning, and ultimately the hatching of eggs to produce viable larvae. Broodstock diet is significant in the maturation process, especially in stimulating ovarian development in females. Most hatchery managers feed broodstock a mixed diet of raw, wet feeds such as squid, marine polychaetes, Artemia biomass, and shellfish, as well as formulated feeds. Polychaetes from several genera are a common component of maturation diets (used by 66% of respondents in a survey by Global Aquaculture Alliance). Popularity of polychaetes is related to their high concentrations of specific fatty acids. Because penaeid shrimp have a limited ability to synthesize the n-6 and n-3 families of fatty acids de novo, including poly-unsaturated linoleic and linolenic acids, or to elongate and de-saturate these into highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) such as arachidonic, eicosapentanoic, and decosahexanoic acids, high concentrations of these important HUFAs found in the ovaries of female broodstock have been attributed to the dietary intake of HUFA-rich items, such as marine polychaete worms. It should be noted that pelleted shrimp feeds do not contain high levels of HUFAs, nor do female shrimp readily develop mature ovaries/oocytes when fed pelleted diets.

Hawaii is a leader in the genetic improvement of penaeid shrimp and a major source of broodstock to farms locally and around the world. Currently, ~400,000 shrimp broodstock are sold by Hawaii-based breeding companies each year with an export value of ~US$20 million. To support breeding activities, extensive captive reproduction is needed. It is estimated (based on usage of polychaetes at OI extrapolated to the entire industry) that >10,000 kg of frozen marine polychaetes are imported into Hawaii annually to support shrimp breeding/hatchery activities (cost >$400,000 per year). The primary sources are wild-caught Glycera dibranchiata from the Northeast coast of the US (~$50/kg including freight) and cultured polychaetes (Nereis virens) imported from Europe (cost ~$33/kg). Major shrimp farms in Asia and Central America typically use live, wild-caught and/or cultured, local polychaetes. These worms are much cheaper (less than $10/kg), but are not a viable alternative to imported, frozen worms for Hawaii shrimp hatcheries due to biosecurity risks (bacterial and viral pathogens).

Researchers at Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University (OI), with support from CTSA, have collected and evaluated several local polychaete species for their aquaculture potential and use as a shrimp maturation feed, including Marphysa sanguinea, Lumbrineris japonica, Sabellastarte spectabilis, Malacoceros indicus, and Chaetopterus variopedatus. M. sanguinea (Fig. 1) was selected as the primary culture candidate based on its large size (up to 25 cm), high survival in culture, high palatability to shrimp broodstock, and excellent biochemical composition. OI has established a large breeding population of M. sanguinea and the population has tested negative for all known shrimp pathogens since the original founders were collected in 2013. Below is a summary of our findings to date.

Fig 1

Figure 1. Adult M. sanguinea (3.4 g) cultured at OI.

Basic Biology
M. sanguinea is a cosmopolitan species with a global distribution at sub-tropical and temperate latitudes. M. sanguinea typically exhibit patchy distribution within the intertidal to subtidal zones, where they are found in soft-sediment habitats. They are omnivorous, and leave their soft-sediment burrows at night to scavenge for food. There is a paucity of information on the natural diet of M. sanguinea, but it is believed that this species feeds on benthic macroalgae, benthic microalgae, and detritus.

Two locations on the windward coast of Oahu has been identified as collection areas for M. sanguinea. M. sanguinea are in moderate to high abundance (1-3 worms per shovel load of sediment) at these locations. However, M. sanguinea are mixed with other worm species and can be difficult to identify in the field (especially small specimens). In addition, field collection of tissue samples and PCR screening for disease are time consuming and expensive. Thus, collection of M. sanguinea (or any other worm species) in commercial quantities is not possible or at least not commercially viable. Furthermore, it would likely be very difficult to obtain a State of Hawaii collection permit for large-scale harvesting of worms.

Palatability
A trial comparing the attractability and palatability of cultured and wild-caught M. sanguinea and commercial, frozen bloodworms (Glycera dibranchiata) was conducted. Results from this trial, showed no statistical difference in response time (time from introduction to shrimp finding the worm), holding/consumption time, and total consumption among the three worm types for Pacific white shrimp, Penaeus (Litopenaeus) vannamei. Thus, palatability of cultured M. sanguinea is not a concern.

Biochemical Composition
Biochemical analysis was performed on wild and cultured M. sanguinea, and frozen, commercially available bloodworms, G. dibranchiata to determine nutrient composition and fatty acid profiles. Eicosatetraenoic acid (PUFA Omega-3) was only found in M. sanguinea samples (both wild and cultured). The specific impacts/value of this fatty acid on shrimp reproduction is unknown; however, other Omega-3, PUFAs are known to be beneficial to shrimp reproduction (e.g. docosapentanoic and docasahexaenoate acid). The total quantity of fatty acids known to be beneficial to shrimp reproduction was highest by dry wet in wild M. sanguinea and approximately double the amount found in cultured M. sanguinea and G. dibranchiata. These results suggests that there is room for improvement in our feeding regime of M. sanguinea to optimize the nutritional value of the worms. Crude protein by wet weight was similar for M. sanguinea (wild and cultured) and G. dibranchiata. Crude lipid and lipids known to be beneficial to shrimp reproduction by wet weight were higher in M. sanguinea (wild and cultured) than in G. dibranchiata. Thus, M. sanguinea is potentially a superior maturation feed compared to G. dibranchiata, although this needs to be verified with shrimp reproduction trials.

Captive Reproduction and Sediment Evaluation
M. sanguinea larvae and juveniles have been collected from OI culture systems. M. sanguinea lay eggs in an “egg mass” within the sediment. Once eggs hatch, larvae (stage unknown) migrate to the surface where they, presumably, disperse as plankton. At OI, initial larvae collections were made by diverting effluent from a tank stocked with adults through a small tank lined with a 75 micron mesh bag. Larvae and juveniles of multiple sizes class were collected, suggesting that multiple spawning events occurred (Fig. 2).

Fig 2

Figure 2. Larval/juvenile M. sanguinea estimated to be 4 days old (A), 2 weeks (B), or 3 weeks (C).

Up to 150 larvae were collected in a single day from a standing crop of ~100 adults. Most larvae were competent to settle or at post-settlement stages at time of collection. Based on the known larval biology of this species, it is estimated that the larvae were 4-10 days old at collection. Despite strong evidence that worms were spawning in captivity, collection of large quantities of larvae needed for commercial farming operations was not achieved with this method.
For this reason, we investigated the idea of “inoculating” a virgin culture area with adult M. sanguinea and allowing the worms to mature (if needed) and naturally populate the area. For this trial, we divided two tanks into four quadrants each, with each tank having either commercially available sand or commercially available, small coral rubble (7.5 cm sediment depth; Fig. 3). Two quadrants of each tank were randomly assigned the low density treatment (15 adult worms) and the other two quadrants were assigned to the high density treatment (30 adult worms). Worms in each quadrant were fed larval shrimp feed every other day. After 273 days, 0.2 m3 of sediment was randomly collected from each quadrant (~20% of each quadrant) and the number of harvestable worms (>~5 mm) were collected and weighed by quadrant.   

Fig 3

Figure 3. Tank “A” divided into four quadrants and filled with commercially available sand.

Data (by quadrant) is provided in Tables 1 and 2 below. Neither sediment type nor stocking density had a statistically significant effect on mean weight of harvested worms or number of worms produced (#/m2 or #/m3). However, worms harvested from coral rubble had a mean weight of 0.618 g compared to 0.093 g for worms harvested from sand. Several worms larger than 2 g each were observed for coral rubble with the largest worm being 3.4 g (Fig. 1). Conversely, sand quadrants produced 568 worms/m2 (7,562 worms/m3) compared to 264 worms/m2 (3525 worms/m3) for coral rubble. Simply, the sand sediment produced a large number of smaller worms compared to the coral rubble that produced fewer larger worms. Furthermore, large numbers (>500) of very small, un-harvestable worms were observed in sand sediment, but were absent from coral rubble. Sediment type did have a significant effect on biomass produced with coral rubble producing 0.145 kg of worms/m2 (1.93 kg/m3) compared to 0.045 kg/m2 (0.59 kg/m3) for sand.

Table 1

Table 2

These results show that M. sanguinea will naturally propagate in either sand or coral rubble. However, it appears that sand is better for reproduction/larval survival (due to higher numbers of smaller worms) and coral rubble is better for growout of large worms (due to larger worm size and biomass production per unit area). Furthermore, these results show that commercially relevant production levels of M. sanguinea can be achieved with coral rubble quadrants having an average production of 0.145 kg/m2 or 1.93 kg/m3. Importantly, we feel (based on additional experiences) that these densities could be achieved in ~180 days (compared to 273 days for this trial); however, this may be seasonal and impacted by water temperature and natural spawning periods.

Demonstration of Commercial Scale Growout
A 125-m2 raceway was prepped and filled with 20 m3 of sediment. Neither sand nor small coral rubble (previously tested sediments) were available locally in large quantities, so small pea gravel (of volcanic origin) was used instead. Culture of worms in pea gravel had not been previously attempted at OI; however, the pea gravel is roughly the same size as the previously used coral rubble, so no significant problems related sediment type were anticipated. The raceway was “seeded” with larvae via effluent (containing planktonic larvae) from two tanks containing established populations of adult M. sanguinea. The worms were later consolidated into one (1) tank to make management easier.

After 220 days of seeding, the raceway had a worm density of 2,198 worms/m3, worms had a mean weight of 0.554 g, and production was 1.2 kg of worms/m3. Worm density and production were a bit lower than previous cultures in coral rubble (Table 2). The reason(s) for this are currently unclear. However, it is possible that reproduction in the adult worm tank(s) were relatively low and this resulted in a lower number of larvae being “seeded” in the raceway. Possible causes of low reproduction are: (1) worm stress associated with moving them to tanks adjacent to the raceway, (2) worm stress caused by consolidating the two adult tanks, and (3) seasonal impact (a previous study showed that maximum larvae production is May to September). It is also possible that the pea gravel is not as suitable as coral rubble; however, the worm population in the raceway was approximately the same average size as previous cultures in coral rubble (Table 2).

Figure 4. Harvesting system for Marphysa sanguinea

Figure 4

A harvesting system using a small concrete mixer was developed. The mixer is used to slowly churn the sediment while a seawater hose (~100 lpm) is used to flush the worms that have been separated from the sediment into a harvesting net (Fig. 4). The system can process ~0.03 m3 of sediment in about 3 minutes and yield ~36 g of worms. So, ~4 harvesting cycles (~0.12 m3 of sediment) were needed to obtain the amount of worms required each day (~140 g) for a shrimp maturation trial (Fig. 5; see section below). While this system works very well for harvesting relatively small amounts of worms, a better system will be needed if cultures (and harvesting needs) are expanded. 

These results show that commercial scale culture of M. sanguinea is possible. However, work on optimizing sediment, understanding reproduction output/trends, and further exploring harvesting techniques are likely needed to fully commercialize the culture of this species.

Figure 5. A sample (~80 g) of freshly harvested worms.

Figure 5

Impact on Reproductive Output of Shrimp
Reproductive output of shrimp broodstock (most notably the production of viable nauplii) is vitally important to hatchery operators. So, any new/replacement broodstock feeds need to be thoroughly tested prior to their use in commercial operations. To determine the efficacy of M. sanguinea as a maturation feed, a trial was conducted to compare the reproductive output of shrimp broodstock fed either live M. sanguinea or frozen, imported N. virens (an industry standard). Two round, shrimp maturation tanks at OI (15 m2) were each stocked with 33 female P. vannamei broodstock (Table 3). A third tank was stocked with 66 male broodstock. This resulted in a 1:1 sex ratio which is common in commercial hatcheries using this species. All shrimp were about the same age (i.e. ~6 month old) and were from the same sub-population within OI’s breeding program.

Table 3

The male tank was fed only maturation pellets at a rate of 4.0-4.3% BW/day. Female tanks initially received a daily diet consisting of 14% BW chopped squid, 6% BW polychaete worms, and 4% commercially available maturation pellets. One female tank was fed live M. sanguinea cultured at OI (Fig. 5. “Live” tank), while the other was fed cultured N. virens (“Frozen” tank) imported from a European supplier. Feed rates were adjusted several times during the trial based on predicted tank biomass, but the daily feed amounts were the same for both female tanks. Due to differences in actual growth and survival, with the Live tank being higher for both traits, the overall daily feed rates were slightly different between female tanks: 13.3% BW chopped squid, 6.1% BW polychaete worms, and 3.6% BW pellets for the Live tank; 14.3% BW chopped squid, 6.5% BW polychaete worms, and 3.8% BW pellets for the Frozen tank. 

Figure 6

Figure 6. Mature P. vannamei female broodstock eating cultured M. sanguine.

Matings began 5 days after stocking due to the presence of a large number of females with ovarian development. Each afternoon, mature females were collected and transferred to the male tank for mating. About 4 hr later, females were recaptured. Mated females were transferred to individual, 300-L tanks for spawning. Un-mated females were returned to their respective maturation tanks (as determined by tag code). About 07:00 the following morning, females in spawning tanks were returned to their respective maturation tanks. At 10:00-10:30 (shortly after hatching was completed), spawning tanks were vigorously mixed and three 100-ml samples were collected. The number of unhatched eggs and nauplii were counted in each sample to estimate total eggs (sum of eggs and nauplii), total nauplii, and hatch rate [(total nauplii / total eggs) x 100] for each spawn. The total number of mature females, total number of matings, and total number of spawns were also recorded for each female tank.

The trial lasted at total 36 days, with the mating period being 31 days. Mating were carried out on 19 days with no matings occurring on weekends or holidays due to associated labor demands. A total of 122 mature females (19% of population/day) were sourced in the Live tank, compared to 80 females (13% of population/day) in the Frozen tank. There were also more females mated for the Live tank (59; 9.4% of population/day) compared to the Frozen tank (43; 7.2% of population/day).

Table 4

Mean eggs/spawn and total egg production were much higher in the live polychaete tanks (30% and 74%, respectively) (Table 4; Fig. 7 & 8). Mean eggs/spawn was similar for the two tanks during the first few days of mating (Fig. 7), but was higher for the Live tank from day-6 of sourcing onward. Likewise, total egg production between the tanks was approximately equal for the first 7 days of matings, but then higher for the Live tank afterwards, with the magnitude increasing each day of mating (Fig. 8). 

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 7. Trend in mean eggs per spawn. Presented as 3-day averages to reduce variation.
Figure 9. Trend in mean nauplii per spawn. Presented as 3-day averages to reduce variation.
Figure 8. Trend in cumulative egg production for females fed live or frozen polychaetes.
Figure 10. Trend in cumulative nauplii production for females fed live or frozen polychaete.

Mean nauplii/spawn and total nauplii production were much higher in the Live tank (87% and 151%, respectively) (Table 4; Fig. 9 & 10). The extremely large difference in nauplii production (8.8 million vs 3.5 million) was a result of the Live tank producing more mature females, more spawns, more eggs/spawn, and a higher hatch rate (57% vs 40%). Mean nauplii/spawn (when using 3-day averages) was higher in the Live tank for the entire trial with the difference between female tanks being fairly constant (Fig. 9). 

In total, these results clearly show that females fed live M. sanguinea far outperform females fed frozen, culture N. virens. The reproductive superiority of females fed live M. sanguinea is supported by the fact that the females also grew faster than females fed frozen N. virens. It is unclear whether the positive effects of live M. sanguinea are simply due to the worms being live and/or if there are inherent differences in nutritional quality between M. sanguinea and N. virens.

Summary
M. sanguinea is an excellent culture candidate (for use as a shrimp broodstock feed) based on its large size (up to 25 cm), high palatability to P. vannamei broodstock, high survival in culture, and its acceptable to excellent biochemical composition (with regards to shrimp nutrition/maturation). Basic culture techniques have been developed and commercial scale culture of M. sanguinea has been demonstrated. In addition, female shrimp broodstock fed these worms have superior reproductive output compared females fed imported, frozen polychaete worms. Importantly, these results support the continued research and development needed to make M. sanguinea farming in Hawaii a reality. The availability of live, local worms could reduce or (hopefully) eliminate the need to import polychaetes by offering a superior product at a potentially lower price (freight charges can be >30% of imported worm costs).

Jul 14, 2020

COVID Quarter 2 Survey for Farmers

In response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), The Ohio State University and Virginia Tech are collecting information about how your farm or business has been affected by this pandemic. This effort is being repeated quarterly to try and capture the evolving impacts of coronavirus disease on U.S. aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied businesses. Please consider participating in each of the quarterly national surveys during this year. Even if you have not been negatively affected, we would like to hear from you; that will ensure that our results are reflective of what is really happening in the industry. This link is for the Quarter 2 survey, covering the period from April 10th, 2020 to June 29th, 2020.

https://virginiatech.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4Ue13Pmb6khonA1

Please provide your responses based on the period of time between April 10th, 2020 and June 29th, 2020. This survey should take about 25 minutes of your time to complete. No personally identifiable information (name, address, e-mail, telephone number, IP address, etc.) will be collected. All data from this survey will remain anonymous.

Jun 30, 2020

Regional e-Notes: June Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As we enter the fourth month of the so-called ‘new normal,’ my team and I once again hope that this newsletter finds you safe and sound. As I have said for the last few months, the tragic toll of the global pandemic cannot be understated, and we first and foremost wish to send our condolences and healing thoughts to all who are experiencing hardship through this crisis.

I have recently been thinking a lot about the Chinese term for crisis, which is composed of two words: challenges and opportunities. The current Covid crisis has certainly presented CTSA with challenges and opportunities, mostly related to the way our program and project PI’s interact with stakeholders, committee members and others. We have had to create our own ‘new normal’ in order to complete our development, project monitoring and information dissemination tasks. At the beginning of the month, we held our bi-annual conference calls with PI’s to discuss project updates (detailed article below). While we found that many projects are experiencing some level of difficulty due to the pandemic, most are finding innovative ways to complete their objectives. One example is the Rabbitfish project in Palau. Together with project PI’s Miguel de los Santos (Palau Community College) and Chad Callan (Oceanic Institute), CTSA helped organize a virtual workshop in place of the planned in-person seminar. The training covered hatchery production, larval rearing and grow-out of rabbitfish, one of the most popular food fish species in the Western Pacific. While a typical training of this type may attract five or so people locally, the virtual platform allowed for the attendance of nearly four times as many farmers, resource managers, and researchers from throughout the region. The participant consensus at the end of the three-day training was that it was useful and informative.

Another opportunity to extend CTSA’s reach farther than usual came in the form of our annual joint Industry Advisory Council (IAC) and Technical Committee (TC) meeting, which was held yesterday via Zoom (see picture). The meeting was completed in an efficient manner with limited technical challenges, and was attended by members based in the Western Pacific who might not normally be able to attend in person meetings on Oahu. I am very appreciative to all of our members for taking the time to attend and share their critical input on the 17 pre-proposals that CTSA received in response to our FY20 request. Now, my team and I will work to draft the Requests for Proposals, continuing our normal development cycle during this very abnormal year.

Nothing can replace in-person interaction with our friends and colleagues, but we are grateful that Zoom and similar virtual tools can be used to overcome the common disadvantages of distance in our unique, isolated region. We look forward to the day we can once again gather together for a meeting or special occasion. On that note, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies regarding the passing of our friend and colleague Dr. Paul Bienfang. CTSA will share a commemoration of Paul’s life and his significant contributions to the aquaculture industry in next month’s issue of e-Notes. Since we are unable to collectively mourn and celebrate Paul’s life in-person, we invite anyone who knew Paul to share your wishes, stories, or other sentiments to include in our commemoration; please send to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by July 25. His passing coupled with the current global situation are reminders of how precious life is, and how important we all are to each other. Please take good care of yourselves and your families.

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

May 31, 2020

Regional e-Notes: May Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As we prepare to enter a third month of ‘modified movement’ in society, my team and I hope that this newsletter finds you safe and sound. As I said last month, the tragic toll of the global pandemic cannot be understated, and we send our condolences and healing thoughts to all who are experiencing hardship. With a major spotlight on food security, we all know that farmers and other essential workers in the food supply chain continue to work through these challenging times, and we share our gratitude to you for keeping food on our tables.

Like most things at the moment, some aspects of this year’s development process will be out of the ordinary, but CTSA is continuing our work and pressing on to prepare the FY20 Plan of Work. As we mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the FY20 Request for Pre-Proposals was released earlier this month via the CTSA website. There is an announcement included in this month’s issue as well - please note, if you are interested in submitting a Pre-Proposal, you must complete and submit our new Pre-Proposal form (which can be downloaded at the website link or via request to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) by next Friday, June 5. We will then move to the next phase of development through the aid of digital technology by holding our first ever virtual Industry Advisory Council and Technical Committee meeting via Zoom. We are looking forward to reconnecting with our members in this ‘new normal.’ We are also assisting our researchers to host a virtual Rabbitfish workshop in June (announcement below).

Last month, I had the pleasure of participating in the University of Guam (UOG) Island Sustainability Conference via a similar digital platform. Even though we were not in the same room, we still managed to have a very constructive discussion. I am especially pleased that the Governor of Guam and the President of UOG are very supportive of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the region. They discussed the importance of incorporating traditional knowledge with technological innovations to effectively manage natural resources. “Island wisdom,” as they described, holds the answers to addressing the growing challenges of feeding people in extremely isolated areas. I am a firm believer in this as well, especially when it comes to bringing multiple disciplines and stakeholders together to create real progress.

Our longtime readers know well that I often use this platform to preach about the importance of partnership. It is especially critical during this unprecedented time, as there is an increasing focus on food safety, food security, and self-sustainability. We depend on our partners—researchers, internal committee members, external reviewers, and other stakeholders—to help ensure that CTSA funding addresses critical industry needs and opportunities in our remote and often underserved region. I am looking forward to the new ideas that our regional industry will put forth for consideration in this funding cycle and as always, I welcome your questions, comments or suggestions.

Mahalo,

Cheng-Sheng Lee, Ph.D.
Executive Director

May 28, 2020

Announcement: CTSA Virtual Training on Rabbitfish Hatchery, Nursery, and Grow-out

he ongoing CTSA project “Improving Rabbitfish Seed Production Capacity in Palau” will hold a three-day virtual training workshop in the afternoons of June 21, 22, and 23 (Hawaii Standard Time). The workshop will cover the hatchery, nursery, and grow-out protocols for the farming of rabbitfish, a popular food fish throughout the Western Pacific region.

The workshop will be led by researchers and project Co-P.I.‘s Miguel de los Santos of Palau Community College (PCC) and Dr. Chatham Callan of the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University (OI). Trainees who participate will learn basic tools for rabbitfish hatchery, nursery, and grow-out in Palau, as well as broodstock management, spawning, egg incubation, larval rearing, feed production, and more.

At the end of the workshop, CTSA will host a discussion on the current status and future opportunities for rabbitfish production throughout the Pacific region.

The free virtual workshop is being held to replace the project’s in-person workshop that was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All three days of the program will be conducted via Zoom. If you are a farmer, researcher, or other stakeholder located in the CTSA region who is interested in registering for the event, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). In your email, please provide your name, professional or educational affiliation, and primary reason for attending the workshop. CTSA will send registered participants the necessary links to attend the training via Zoom, as well as additional information on the agenda.

We ask that you please share this announcement with others in the region who may be interested in attending the virtual worksop.

Apr 30, 2020

FY2020 Request for Pre-Proposals

REQUEST FOR PRE-PROPOSALS
Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
Due Friday, June 5 2020

New for FY2020! CTSA is now using a standard Pre-Proposal form. Click here to download the CTSA Pre-Proposal Form (Word Format)

The Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture (CTSA) requests pre-proposals for applied research and extension that addresses problems and opportunities in the regional aquaculture industry.

CTSA stakeholders have identified the below strategic areas and species as the top aquaculture development priorities for this funding cycle. Pre-proposals that target these strategic areas and priority species will receive highest preference. However, pre-proposals that do not fall under specific priority areas but address CTSA’s mission will also be considered in our development process. Our main focus is on funding projects that will have immediate, positive impacts on the regional aquaculture industry.

CTSA’s mission is to support aquaculture research, development, demonstration, and extension education in order to enhance viable and profitable aquaculture in the United States. CTSA is funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The current CTSA region includes the following areas: American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. Pre-proposals should utilize innovative approaches that take into account the unique environmental situation of the region.  One of CTSA’s primary goals is capacity building. Accordingly, we strongly encourage collaboration between institutions and agencies in the region, as well as shared funding of large priority projects. Cultivating strong regional partnerships will catalyze the greatest changes in our industry, and projects that demonstrate an understanding of this principal are more likely to be supported.

FY 2020 STRATEGIC AREAS AND PRIORITY SPECIES

Marine Finfish Technology
CTSA will consider proposals to increase local and/or regional production of food fish, especially herbivorous or omnivorous species. CTSA will also consider proposals to develop hatchery technology for marine ornamental fish from the perspectives of both supplying the marine aquarium market and conservation/stock enhancement purposes. 

Macroalgae/Microalgae
CTSA will consider proposals to produce economically important macroalgae and microalgae for human consumption, aquatic feeds, and other innovative applications. 

Disease Management
CTSA will consider proposals to further enhance regional disease diagnostic services. There is a need to formulate a vision for current and especially future disease management services to keep our region disease free. The ideal proposal will incorporate protocols such as 1) rapid testing, 2) development of a database to track diseases and inform stakeholders of the latest information, 3) utilization of genetics to mitigate diseases, and/or 4) other emerging innovations in biosecurity and disease management.

Innovations in Aquaculture Technology
CTSA will consider proposals to develop, investigate and/or adapt innovative aquaculture technologies for regional use, including alternative energy, site-specific RAS for the CTSA region, blockchain and/or supply chain tracking and information, and animal reproduction and genetic improvement.

Hawaiian Fishponds
CTSA will consider proposals to support the revitalization of Hawaiian Fishponds, with a focus on seed/fingerling supply of desirable species and pond management such as optimization of water quality, mitigation of invasive species and product food safety.

Other
CTSA will consider proposals that present thoughtful and innovative solutions to current and clearly identified industry problems that we may have missed while gathering industry feedback. For example, proposals that seek to address aquaponics food safety and water quality management.

PROCESS & INSTRUCTIONS
Pre-proposals that do not follow the guidelines outlined in this section will be rejected.
New for FY2020: CTSA is now using a standard form for all pre-proposal submissions. Pre-proposal forms received by the deadline, 5pm HST Friday June 5 2020, will be reviewed by CTSA’s Industry Advisory Council (IAC) and Technical Committee (TC). Only pre-proposals that receive a majority of votes will move forward with requests for a full proposal. Full proposals will receive both internal and external review for technical quality and industry impact. Not all full proposals may be awarded. Full proposals approved by the CTSA Board of Directors and the USDA as part of the CTSA FY20 Plan of Work are expected to have funding available for implementation by July 2021. CTSA typically does not fund projects for more than $100,000 per year. However, a project will not be automatically rejected if it exceeds that amount. CTSA gives preference to projects that will deliver the most benefits at the lowest cost. Due to its limited budget, CTSA will distribute funding to the highest ranked proposals until it has exhausted all available funds.

Eligible Applicants
Universities, community colleges, or nonprofit research institutions and organizations from the CTSA region must lead project execution. Private individuals or commercial companies are welcome to participate in research work but cannot act as the prime contractor for any project.

Pre-Proposal Guidelines
CTSA is now using a standard form for all pre-proposal submissions. Researchers must fully complete and submit the pre-proposal form by the deadline. Click here to download the CTSA Pre-Proposal Form (Word Format) or request a Form via email from .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Although an individual may submit a maximum of three pre-proposal forms, a researcher can act as principal investigator to only two projects in a single funding cycle. Please adhere to word count limits in the pre-proposal form.

How to Submit
Please e-mail pre-proposal forms to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by 5pm HST, Friday June 5, 2020. If you have any questions, please contact Meredith Brooks via e-mail or by telephone at (808) 292-1323. If necessary, pre-proposals may be faxed to (808) 956-4042 or mailed to the following address:

Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
c/o HNFAS, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawaii at Manoa
1955 East West Road, Ag. Sci. 216
Honolulu, HI 96822

Click here to download the CTSA Pre-Proposal Form (Word Format)

Apr 21, 2020

Creating the Best ‘New Normal:’ Preserving our Resources by Investing in Sustainability

By Meredith Brooks, CTSA Information Specialist

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact lives and economies across the globe, normal life as we know it has—at least for the moment—shifted to a period of uncertainty for many people and industries. The World Trade Organization projects that trade may fall up to 32% in 2020 as supply chains and other economic activities are disrupted due to the virus. Few industries are immune to the impacts of the pandemic. Indeed, agriculture and aquaculture have been affected. 90% of U.S. aquaculture farmers who responded to the recent NAA COVID-19 survey indicated that their business has been impacted, with 80% indicating that private (non-government) contracts or orders have been canceled due to the pandemic.

It is not an overstatement to say that we rely on agriculture to live. From small-scale regenerative farming to large-scale production, farmers provide society with one of its most essential services. Without farmers, there would be no food. Now, during a global pandemic, the general public is realizing just how essential food security is. From those who are helping neighbors and donating to food banks, to others who are nervously hoarding food at the grocery store despite assurances that there is plenty of food in the U.S., we are seeing how society responds to impacts to personal food security during a global disaster. In many areas, food insecurity and poverty are growing, and there are serious concerns that the economic fallout from this pandemic will push a half billion people into poverty.

Outbreaks are limiting the capabilities of some large terrestrial protein plants, and agriculture labor shortages are a growing concern. The aquaculture and fisheries industries are also feeling the impacts from a major slowdown of global exports of shrimp and other seafood. Development projects across the world have been put on hold. It will be some time before the true toll is understood. While we are limited in the actions we can take at the moment, this pandemic is creating an opportunity for us to consider the best way to build and rebuild moving forward to ensure our food and economic security.

Many media outlets have shared articles detailing the broader impacts of the pandemic, including a Washington Post article that contends this is an experiment in a new way of living. Some of the shifts we have made will certainly be short term, but others are projected to remain in place. Consumer behaviors and supply chains are under a microscope, and it is evident that there is some need for adjustment on a global scale. In light of Earth day, it is warranted to consider some of the shifts we should consider adopting and expanding on as we strive towards a brighter future.

One of the greatest shifts on display is the way in which humans interact with the natural world. From climate change to wildlife, we are seeing undeniable demonstrations of human impacts (and lack thereof) on the environment. With more people working from home than anytime in recent history, there are fewer cars on the road and planes in the sky. There is some remarkable evidence that natural systems are rebounding with the decrease in human outdoor activities. Satellites have detected less pollution in the air, people can see fish and wildlife in the canals of Venice for the first time in decades, and turtles are successfully nesting on crowd-free beaches in Central America. Recent surveys found that fish and native algae populations in Hanauma Bay—an often-crowded Oahu landmark that is famous for its beautiful reef—and other reefs across the Hawaiian Islands are increasing. The long-term impacts of these short-term changes have yet to be understood; either way, nature is indeed demonstrating the impacts that we as a species have on all other living things. While it may not be realistic to make the type of sweeping changes necessary to have these immediate results become permanent, some modicum of changes to our collective behaviors to increase sustainability can lead to significant changes down the road.

With Climate Change and a food crisis looming as a serious potential global disaster, focusing on sustainability can help to improve human and environmental health as well as the health and stability of both the economy and food supply. Current concerns over the status of the global economy are valid. The pandemic has unearthed cracks in fragile systems of order across the world. Some are calling this a perfect time to reconsider our investments on a global scale. One emerging system that prominently features aquaculture is the Blue Economy, which encompasses the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health. The Blue Economy is comprised of many sectors, including aquaculture, transportation, tourism and recreation, and coastal resilience. These are all industries that could flourish in the Pacific Region under the right circumstances.

Aquaculture is a cornerstone of the emerging Blue Economy. Sustainable technologies in aquaculture, from mariculture to IMTA farming of bivalves and algae, can support the food system and create jobs, markets, and opportunities for people around the world. Utilizing coastal resources to produce more food, reduce dependence on imported goods, and help restore ecosystems is a boon for humans and the environment. As we collectively pause and re-evaluate the structure of our economy, it is time to consider shifting our focus to sustainably mitigating the impacts of our changing climate and addressing other global issues.

During these trying times, many people are reconnecting or connecting with nature for the first time as they search for opportunities to ‘escape.’ This connection to nature will help lay the foundation that is necessary to enact a sea change to a more sustainable and secure food system and planet. Hopefully, as we emerge from this season, we can all consider strengthening our long-term food security by investing in sustainable food production, as well as commercial and consumer buy-in to reduce waste and make mindful choices. In the EU, leaders are blazing the trail by calling for post-pandemic recovery plans to include the continent’s “green transition,” and the European Commission is moving forward with its pressing ahead with its Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy. It has been said that if we work together in this dark moment, it could be our finest hour. Partnership during times like these can instill in us a greater appreciation for the ability of the government to work with private and public sectors to tackle the world’s most serious problems together.

Additional Resources:
Click here to learn more about how the USDA is supporting farmers during the pandemic.

Apr 21, 2020

Regional e-Notes: Earth Day Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As the CTSA team prepared this special Earth Day edition of Regional e-Notes from our homes, we reflected on our dependence and connection with our planet and its natural resources in light of an Earth Day unlike any other before. The tragic toll of the global pandemic cannot be understated, and we send our condolences and healing thoughts to all who are experiencing hardship. We are sharing some resources in this month’s newsletter to help farmers who may be impacted by the current situation. We are also sharing an in-depth look at how the pandemic is impacting food security, conservation, aquaculture, and the future of sustainable food production.

As the population rapidly rises, protecting the environment while meeting dietary needs will be a critical issue to resolve, especially in the face of climate change. It is well accepted that, thus far, aquatic protein appears to be the most promising to increase production and reduce stress on the environment. However, we cannot continue the status quo. We must invest in research to develop more efficient ways to increase production and simultaneously protect the environment and/or mitigate environmental impacts of farming. The aquaculture community has been working together to reach this goal. The progression of seafood product labeling and certification will ensure that producers follow best practice guidelines to provide consumers with reliable and healthy protein. FAO and World Bank promote the “ecosystem approach” to aquaculture management as a means to increase the sustainability of aquaculture. By working together, aquaculture will indeed address most of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which were adapted in 2015 for completion by 2030. Proper management of aquaculture will help achieve SDG’s such as zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, climate action, and life below water, among others. The Aquaculture industry must utilize this opportunity to address climate change and the security of our food system, thereby helping to avoid another global disaster.

Our job as an industry is to feed people, an essential function of society. In order to attain this goal, we must expand the capacity for sustainable food production, both through increased farming and reduction of waste. In addition to supporting farmers and reducing personal waste, consumers must work to develop their own sustainable dietary profile. It is the only way we will be able to feed the projected global population of 10 billion people. Our capable scientists will win the war with COVID-19; as Oprah said, we will return to normal but it will be a ‘new normal.’ Partnership is and will remain a cornerstone of creating a better ‘new normal.’

As our regular readers know, I am a champion for partnership. This Earth Day, I really want to encourage us all to reflect on how we can work together to create the life and planet that we want. CTSA will release our FY20 Request for Pre-Proposals early next month through our website http://www.ctsa.org. We look forward to reading your ideas on how we can achieve our program mission and shared goals.

Mahalo,

Cheng-Sheng Lee, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Mar 27, 2020

Regional e-Notes: Special Letter from the Director

Aloha,

I hope this newsletter finds you healthy and safe. First and foremost, my staff and I are sending our best to each of you and your families, wherever you may be. We know these unprecedented times are difficult, but we will get through this together.

Earlier this week, the Honolulu mayor and Hawaii governor asked residents to stay at home until at least April 30. While the university is exempt from this order, the administrators have asked everyone to only come to the office if it is necessary. With most operations being moved online, there may be some procedural slow down; we will try our best as a program to avoid disruption. We remain ready to help our researchers and industry stakeholders as needed, starting with some of the resources shared in this month’s newsletter.

All of the current ‘stay-at-home’ and ‘shelter-in-place’ orders across the country include agriculture/aquaculture as one of the top essential functions to keep society moving, reminding us of the importance of the work of our farmers and stakeholders. We extend our most sincere gratitude to you for keeping our world fed, and implore you to take increased precautions to avoid exposing yourself to illness. Should you have any concerns that you want to call to the attention of our local and/or federal government, please let us know and we will voice them on your behalf. Also, I encourage you to take the newly released National Aquaculture Association survey to assess the affects of the pandemic on aquaculture in the United States; there is more information and a link to the survey below.

The current global pandemic brings to light the importance of biosecurity, especially in industries responsible for feeding people. For the safety of consumers, we must invest in disease surveillance and mitigation. We thank the researchers in our region who work to protect us and the aquatic animals and plants we farm from outbreaks and harmful pathogens, such as those featured in this month’s issue.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, or if you just need to talk, please reach out. In times like these, we need to be—and are—here for each other.

Thank you and best wishes,

Mahalo,
Cheng-Sheng Lee
Executive Director, CTSA

Mar 25, 2020

CTSA Project Summary: Presence of O. niloticus and Fno in feral populations of tilapia in Hawaii

Presence of Oreochromis niloticus and Francisella noatunensis subspecies orientalis (Fno) in feral populations of tilapia in Hawaii

by Lei Yamasaki, Department of Agriculture; Thomas Y. Iwai, Island Aquaculture & Aquaponics; RuthEllen Klinger-Bowen, University of Hawaii at Manoa; David A. Weese, Georgia College & State University; Michael A. Wong, University of Hawaii at Manoa

The Hawaii Fish and Game Division and the Federal Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (now called the National Marine Fisheries Service) introduced several species of tilapia to Hawaii for food production, weed and pest control, and for use as live baitfish. Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus), greenhead tilapia (O. macrochir), redbelly tilapia (Tilapia zillii), redbreast tilapia (T. rendalli), and blackchin tilapia (Sarotherodon melanotheron) became established in natural bodies of water in the 1950s and 60s after intentional release or accidental escape (Brock, 1960, Szyper et al., 2000). Starting in the 1970s, a number of different species and strains of tilapia (blue tilapia (O. aureus), red strains and hybrids of Mozambique tilapia, and hybrids of Nile tilapia, O. nicloticus) were introduced to Hawaii for food production (Szyper et al., 2000). In 2000, a statewide survey involving farmed and feral tilapia conducted by Szyper et al., revealed that six species and five hybrids species of tilapia were present in Hawaii. The identified fish were outperformed in terms of growth when compared to Nile tilapia, and poor genetic stocks were seen as the limiting factor for Hawaii’s tilapia industry (Szyper et al., 2000). Despite the presence of the introduced species in the state, only three species (blue tilapia, Sabaki tilapia (O. spilurus), and Mozambique tilapia) were permitted entry for private and commercial use until 2017, when restrictions on the importation of Nile tilapia were lifted.  Despite arguments that the Nile tilapia was already established in the wild, the approval process for the importation of Nile tilapia for aquaculture purposes took nearly twenty years due to environmental concerns.  Nile tilapia is cultured extensively throughout the world due to its fast growth rate, high fecundity, and tolerance to a wide range of environmental conditions. However, these same attributes are what make the species invasive in environments to which it is not native (Pullin, 1998; FAO, 2010). A statewide survey was conducted to substantiate the claim that Nile tilapia were already present in feral population of tilapia throughout Hawaii.

Collection sites

In 1994, unexplained mortalities occurred in cultured and feral populations of tilapia on the island of Oahu (Mauel et al., 2003). The disease-causing agent was found to be a bacterium, Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis (Fno) (Mauel et al., 2003; Szyper et al., 2000). To prevent its spread, the state issued a moratorium in 1998 (PQ Policy 98-09, Section 150A-8, HRS) on moving tilapia species from Oahu to other Hawaiian Islands. In 2010, tilapia on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, and Hawaii were tested for Fno by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay in a study conducted by Klinger-Bowen et al. A single farmed fish on the island of Molokai tested positive for the pathogen. The results suggested that the disease was mostly confined to the island of Oahu; however, sample submissions from neighboring islands were few. It was still unclear if the moratorium prevented the spread of Fno. A survey was conducted to determine the pathogen’s geographic range.

Feral tilapia were collected from ten sites across the islands of Oahu, Molokai, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii between November 2017 and October 2018 (Figure 1, Table 1). From each site, twelve to thirty fish were collected via angling and cast netting. Collection sites were chosen according to historical data provide by Mr. Thomas Iwai. Once collected, tilapia were euthanized and transported on icepacks to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture Veterinary Laboratory. The fish were grossly examined for lesions, measured, weighed, and sexed. Fin clips were taken from each specimen and preserved in ethanol for species identification. Additionally, samples of spleen were collected for Fno detection by real-time PCR assay, culture, histology, and microscopy.

Potential species identifications based on the sequencing of the mitochondrial control region are presented in Table 1. Pure Nile, Mozambique, and blue tilapia were found in Alenaio stream on the island of Hawaii. Hybrids of Nile and Mozambique tilapia, as well as Nile and blue tilapia were found on the islands of Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii. On Oahu and Kauai, blackchin tilapia was the predominant species collected. Redbreast tilapia were identified in Kahului stream on Maui and Puali stream on Kauai.

The real-time PCR assay was able to detect Fno as low as 0.001 ng/μL of bacterial DNA. The pathogen was detected in fish collected on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Granulomas formed by inflammation were observed in fish spleens at three of the four sites that were positive for Fno. Five other sites had fish that showed granulomas (Table 2, Figure 3), but were negative for the real-time PCR assay. Possible causative agents include Mycobacteria and Nocardia species. All samples of spleen were negative for Fno growth on the recommended culture medium.

Nile tilapia and hybrids are present in streams on the islands of Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii. It is possible that the Nile x Mozambique tilapia hybrid is a descendant of fish introduced in the 1980s from Taiwan (Szyper et al., 2000). It is also possible that the Nile x blue tilapia hybrid found on the island of Hawaii is the descendant of fish imported from the mainland U.S. in 1995 (Szyper et al., 2000). It is unknown when and how pure Nile tilapia was introduced to Alenaio stream. There was no documented importation of Nile tilapia into the state at the time of this study. Interestingly, Wu and Yang (2012) also identified the species in a stream in Hilo.

Although Nile tilapia is established in streams in Hawaii, one must consider that there can be differences within a species due to improvement by selective breeding. A 1990 strain of Nile tilapia will easily be outperformed by an improved 2020 strain in terms of growth, fecundity, and disease resistance (Eknath and Hulata, 2009; FAO, 2019). Therefore, it is impossible to say that new strains will not have an impact on stream environments. Precautions should be taken to prevent accidental escape of Nile tilapia. 

Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis was detected in feral tilapia from the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Individual fish that tested positive were blackchin tilapia, redbreast tilapia, or a Nile x Mozambique hybrid. It is well known that Fno affects feral populations of blackchin tilapia and cultured Mozambique tilapia on the island of Oahu (Klinger-Bowen et al., 2015; Szyper et al., 2000; Soto et al., 2013). The moratorium on tilapia movement was not successful in preventing the spread of disease to feral populations on Maui and Kauai. Although Fno was not detected on the islands of Molokai and Hawaii, its absence is uncertain, since few sites were visited. A second study should be performed to determine if Fno is present in cultured fish on Molokai, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii, since the PQ Policy 98-09 is meant to protect tilapia producers on neighboring islands. That information may be used to reconsider the restriction on intrastate movement of tilapia.

The project team gratefully acknowledges the support of the Center of Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Hawaii Department of Agriculture Animal Industry Division, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources.

References

Brock, V.E. 1960. The introduction of aquatic animals into Hawaiian waters. Intermationale Revue der Gesamten Hydrobiologie 45(4): 463-480.

Eknath, A.E. and G. Hulata. 2009. Use and exchange of genetic resources of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Reviews in Aquaculture (1): 197-213.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 2010. The state of the world fisheries and aquaculture. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Rome. Available: http://www.fao.org/3/i1820e/i1820e.pdf. Accessed March 9, 2020.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2019. Cultured aquatic species information programme. Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758). FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Rome. Available: http://www.fao.org/fishery/culturedspecies/Oreochromis_niloticus/en. Accessed December 17, 2019.

Klinger-Bowen, R., Tamaru, C., McGovern, Hopkins, K. and E. Soto. 2015. Unraveling the mysteries of francisellosis and developing strategies for prevention and mitigation in cultured tilapia. Hanai Ai, March/April/May.

Mauel, M.J., Miller, D.L., Frazier, K., Liggett, A.D., Styer, L., Montgomery-Brock, D. and J. Brock. 2003. Characterization of a piscirickettsiosis-like disease in Hawaiian tilapia. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 53(3): 249-255.

Pullin, R.S.V. (editor). 1988. Tilapia Genetic Resources for Aquaculture. ICLARM Conference Proceedings 16, 108 p.

Soto, E., McGovern-Hopkins, K., Klinger-Bowen, R., Fox, B.K., Brock, J., Antonio, N., van der Waal, Z., Rushton, S., Mill, A. and C. Tamaru. 2013. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 25: 104-109.

Szyper, J.P., Hopkins, K.D., Malchow, W. and W.Y. Okamura. 2000. History and prospect of tilapia stocks in Hawaii, U.S.A. In: Fitzsimmons, K. and J. Carvalho Filho (eds.), Tilapia Culture in the 21st Century – Proceedings from the Fifth International Symposium on Tilapia Aquaculture, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Wu, L. and J. Yang. 2012. Identifications of captive and wild tilapia species existing in Hawaii by mitochondrial DNA control region sequence. PLOS ONE 7(12): e51731.

Feb 29, 2020

Regional e-Notes: February Letter from the Director

Aloha,

Like many of you, I attended the Aquaculture America 2020 conference in Honolulu. I enjoyed conversations with old and new friends at this year’s conference, and was encouraged by those who gave me feedback on our monthly e-Notes. It is our goal to provide interesting, worthwhile content for our readers, and we always welcome your feedback.

This conference presented unique opportunities to strengthen our network of local, national and international institutions. This has been particularly valuable for ramping up our CTSA education activities, with our Sea Grant education project now in swing. It also gave us a chance to meet and thank many of the reviewers of our annual proposals. Expert reviewers play a very important role in the CTSA development process, and many live across the country, with some across the world; it’s always nice to express our gratitude for their contributions in person.

AA2020 also provided an opportunity for me and my staff to meet Dr. Amrit Bart, the new USDA NIFA National Program Leader for Aquaculture, and the supervisor of our RAC program. His visit to our office marks the first time a National Program Leader has come to visit the CTSA office at UH. During our meeting, I explained to Amrit that CTSA shares the same mission of the other RAC’s, but each RAC addresses the opportunities and challenges that are specific to its own region. The CTSA region has a unique set of challenges and opportunities, and our program is willing to address them head on with the utmost reverence for the environment. Our regional priorities are focused on food security, conservation, and education, and it was my pleasure to show Amrit how CTSA has been addressing these priorities and how we plan to expand on our work moving forward. I welcome Amrit to his new role, and look forward to working together to advance aquaculture in our region and the U.S

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

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

Jan 31, 2020

Regional e-Notes: January Letter from the Director

Aloha,

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.

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

Jan 10, 2020

CTSA 2019 Annual Accomplishment Report

The following 2-page summaries of CTSA projects that were active during 2019 are included in the Annual Accomplishment Report to the USDA. Please note: projects funded under the CTSA FY18 Plan of Work commenced recently and do not yet have significant findings to report; they are not included in this report.

CTSA 2019 Project Progress Summaries - PDF

Nov 28, 2019

Regional e-Notes: November Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As we take time to reflect on all that we are thankful for this year, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the many people who dedicate their time to help CTSA achieve our program goals. From our internal decision-makers—CTSA Board of Directors (BoD), Industry Advisory Council (IAC), and Technical Committee (TC)—to our external reviewers and industry stakeholders, it takes a lot of work to develop each annual Plan of Work and continuously ensure that CTSA projects address critical industry needs.

I would also like to extend my appreciation to our PI’s—and their host institutions—for their diligent work to improve regional aquaculture through research, demonstration, and outreach activities. We are in the midst of conducting our biannual project update conference calls with PI’s and their ‘project liaisons’ (members of the IAC or TC assigned to help monitor the progress of the project). These conference calls allow us to monitor project progress, and give our PI’s and ‘project liaisons’ an opportunity to exchange valuable information; we are grateful for their enthusiastic participation.

Another important opportunity for our IAC and TC to exchange information with PI’s recently occurred during the ‘full proposal revision’ stage of our development process. CTSA is different from other funding agencies, which typically either accept or reject a full proposal as-is. At CTSA, our stakeholders work together with PI’s to help us ensure that our Plan of Work is technically sound and designed to produce meaningful impacts throughout our region and beyond. I am so grateful to our members, as well as external expert reviewers, who take the time to assist in this important process.

Last but certainly not least, I would like to give thanks to the faculty and staff at the University of Hawaii for their generous assistance with assimilating our program into our new offices on the Manoa campus. They have helped our staff navigate complex administrative channels, and opened many new doors for our program.

Our list of things to be thankful for grows longer each year, and we couldn’t do it without all of our supporters, including you! Best wishes for a holiday season filled with warmth and gratitude.

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

Nov 14, 2019

USDA Announces Federal Order to Prevent the Entry of Tilapia Lake Virus into the United States

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a Federal Order to prevent the entry or introduction of Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) into the United States.

This Federal Order requires that imported shipments of all live fish, fertilized eggs and gametes from TiLV-susceptible species now have a USDA import permit, official health certificate and veterinary inspection.

The TiLV–susceptible species are:
Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)
commercial hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus x Oreochromis aureus)
red hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) and
wild tilapia (Sarotherodon galilaeus)

TiLV is a deadly disease of farmed and wild tilapia, and it poses a serious threat to U.S. agriculture.  TiLV does not affect humans, nor is it a food safety concern.  Signs of the disease in tilapia include cloudy or bulging eyes, skin lesions such as darkening, bruising, ulcers or protrusion of the gills, and abdominal swelling. Fish may be slow-moving and off feed.  There are no treatments or vaccines for the disease at this time.

TiLV was first detected in the United States in March 2019.  The disease was quickly contained and eradicated.

The Federal order may be viewed at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/downloads/import/tilv-federal-order.pdf and is effective December 12, 2019.

Oct 31, 2019

Regional e-Notes: October Letter from the Director

Aloha & Happy Halloween!

It has been one full year since CTSA moved its main administrative operations to the University of Hawaii (UH). Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) continues to provide fiscal service to CTSA, which will be moved entirely to UH in 2021. As we celebrate our first anniversary on the UH Manoa campus, I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation to the many institutions and individuals that have helped to make our transfer as smooth as possible. Primarily, UH CTAHR and OI of HPU have provided copious hands-on assistance, and USDA NIFA has provided critical advice. While I would like to thank each and every person who has helped and is helping us in this transition, there are too many to name in this letter, so I will simply say a big MAHALO to you all!

In addition to spending much time learning the UH operation procedures, I have been trying my best to meet researchers from various disciplines and introduce them to the CTSA program and mission. I often encourage them to think about how they can utilize their expertise and technologies to participate in our efforts to secure the seafood supply through aquaculture. As Executive Director, it is my responsibility to operate the Center following the established operational procedures, and efficiently manage available research funds to address the issues brought up by our industry stakeholders. While aquaculture researchers are the primary experts to help us achieve this goal, there is also much value in identifying other researchers outside of aquaculture who can apply their field of expertise and unique skills to help solve the challenges facing our industry.

CTSA is currently developing the FY2019 plan of work. I appreciate the many new ideas that we received this year. However, our limited funding restricts the amount of concepts we are able to support. I would like to encourage those pre-proposals that were not funded during this cycle to re-present their idea in the future with a goal of obtaining full support from our stakeholders and CTSA review panel.

During the past year, I have also uncovered a plethora of resources at UH that can help CTSA achieve its mission. I have enjoyed my discussions with many new colleagues, and have learned new techniques through my activities on campus. I am discovering that combining our program resources and knowledge with the wide range of available expertise is creating unique opportunities to bring more sustainable aquaculture grants and funding to our region. It has reaffirmed my motto that we can accomplish more if we can work together, and reconfirmed my steadfast commitment to partnership for sustainable aquaculture development. I am hopeful that CTSA can quickly fit into our new working environment and help advance aquaculture development in our region and ultimately, other regions as well. 

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

Oct 25, 2019

CTSA Project Breakthrough: ‘Yellow Tang’ Project Produces F2 Juveniles, Closes Life Cycle

CTSA Project Breakthrough: ‘Yellow Tang’ Project Produces F2 Juveniles, Successfully Closing Life Cycle of Hawaii’s Most Popular Ornamental Reef Fish

Report from Chatham Callan, Ph.D., Director of the Oceanic Institute Finfish Program.
Edited by Meredith Brooks, CTSA

The 3-year project “Improving the commercial aquaculture feasibility for Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens): Resolving early bottlenecks to improve culture yield” aims to improve the commercial feasibility for producing high-value species such as Yellow Tang. Specifically, this project is addressing key bottlenecks affecting larval survival. Overcoming these bottlenecks will improve the culture efficiency and reduce the total cost of production. This will in-turn, increase the likelihood of industry adoption of this technology and enhance the aquaculture industry in the region.

The first objective of the project is to maintain robust Yellow Tang broodstock populations to ensure reliable, and year-round, supply of eggs for research. Oceanic Institute is currently housing (3) groups of wild yellow tang broodstock.  The first group is comprised of (6) fish that were acquired in 2001. The second group is comprised of approximately 20 fish that were acquired in 2005. The final group of approximately 25 fish was acquired in 2014.  All three groups have been spawning regularly, with monthly peaks around the full moon. Combining spawns from these groups, we have been able to routinely obtain over 30,000 viable eggs per day to stock hatchery tanks.  During peak spawning events in early Fall (2018) we were able to obtain over 75,000 viable eggs in a single day. We anticipate spawning will continue and should further improve as the most recently collected group becomes more established.

The second objective of Year 1 was to evaluate the onset of maturation and assess reproductive performance in existing F1 generation Yellow Tang broodstock. In 2015, we were able to (for the first time ever) successfully produce Yellow Tang juveniles. Those F1 fish were 3 years old at the onset of the current project (settled in October 2015). We began seeing spawning behavior just prior to the onset on this project and observed the first fertilized spawns in October of 2018. Over the reporting period, these fish (approximately 35 total) continued to spawn monthly, and we are routinely seeing daily viable egg production in the low thousands. We expect this spawning to improve as the fish age and grow and are encouraged to see that regular spawns persisted throughout the year as with the wild fish.

It is important to note that although the spawning performance is not yet matching wild broodstock, the onset of spawning occurred much more rapidly. In prior years, it sometimes took 5 years or more for wild stocks to begin spawning in captivity and to obtain viable eggs. We suspect that once the F1 group really comes into maturation, we will see excellent spawning performance from this group. We are also pleased to report that in July of 2019, we had a second group of F1 Yellow Tang begin spawning. These fish were produced in 2016, and were about 3 years old at the onset of spawning (as with the previous group). Egg production from this group will begin to be monitored and compared to that of the other F1’s and wild-collected fish.

To compare the hatchery performance of larvae from F1 broodstock to larvae from wild stocks (Objective 3), Yellow Tang eggs were collected from both F1 and the three wild groups (eggs were combined from wild groups) of broodstock in June of 2019. Replicated 200L tanks (n=3) were stocked with 3,000 eggs each from the two treatments (wild or F1). The larval tanks were maintained according to established protocols outlined in Callan et al (2018) for seven days. On day seven post-hatch, the remaining larvae in each tank were counted to assess differences in survival between the F1 and F2 larvae. Unfortunately, survival in both treatments was far less than expected at approximately 4% and 2% in the F1 and F2 groups, respectively (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Yellow Tang larval survival to seven days post-hatch. Larvae were either F1 (from wild broodstock) or F2 (from F1 broodstock).

This low level of survival was not expected, as in the past we routinely observed survival of about 25% to day 7 (from wild broodstock).  We also would have expected survival to be a little higher in the F2 larvae (than in F1’s), as their parents experienced heavy selection pressure to survive in hatchery conditions. However, it is very likely that the F1 broodstock egg quality was not as good as could be realized with more conditioning. This was later confirmed by examining survival to yolk-sac exhaustion (day 3) where we observed the majority (>70%) of this group’s larvae were not surviving past his pre-feeding phase.

The low survival to day 7 from wild broodstock eggs was additionally concerning. We also did some follow-up assessments of egg quality and survival to yolk-exhaustion in larvae from these groups and discovered that we were seeing differences in day 3 (yolk exhaustion) survival depending on the age of the broodstock. Day 3 survival from our oldest animals was <50% (when normally it is ~80%). Alternately, survival to day 3 from our younger wild collected fish was about what we would expect at 75%.  Therefore, we need to further examine these differences in egg quality between age groups as clearly it is affecting results of our larval trials.

Despite low survival, we are pleased to report that we were able to still successfully rear some of the F2 larvae through to juveniles (August 2019) and have now fully closed the life cycleon Yellow Tang. This marks the first time that F2 surgeonfish of any kind have been produced in culture. This marks another tremendous milestone for marine ornamental aquaculture.

To complete Objective 4 and determine the effects of light source, spectrum and intensity on feed incidence and survival to day 7 post hatch, we designed and constructed a 200L test system comprised of (9) replicated 200L tanks that have either LED or compact fluorescent lighting fixtures.  Each tank is isolated using black plastic on all sides so that it can only obtain light from the dedicated lighting fixture above. A movable front curtain allows the technician to access the tank daily, with minimal disturbance. The first trial (stocked with wild-collected broodstock eggs from the 3 groups combined) tested the new LED fixtures compared to existing compact fluorescent fixtures that we have used over the past several years.  This trial was stocked and managed as described in the prior Objective. The LED fixtures were initially set to match both the color and intensity (lux) of the existing compact fluorescent fixtures.

Unfortunately, as described in Objective #3, larval survival was also very poor in this trial and the trial was discontinued on day 5 post-hatch. There were no discernable (significant) differences between treatments, although survival in the LED treatment was a little higher (5%) vs. the survival in fluorescent treatment (3%). Since there were no obviously negative affects observed using the LED lights compared to the fluorescents, we will move forward using these lights as the source of lighting for further spectrum and intensity trials. It is worth noting these lights have been used on other larval tanks in our hatchery with good results (we have used them to rear both grouper and yellow tang in larger tanks). However, before these additional lighting trials can commence, we need to further investigate and mitigate the confounding effects of egg quality in order to effectively evaluate these other treatment differences. 

Looking forward to the coming year, the project will address its Year 2 objectives and the Year 1 objective to investigate alternative small, non-elusive prey items that may enhance feeding and survival post first feeding. Prior work on this area has shown that collection of wild zooplankton in the correct size range for Yellow Tang is very difficult and often unpredictable. It was concluded during Year 1 that we should not pursue wild zooplankton collection for this objective, but rather should focus on various ciliates (or other prey) that could be easily cultured as a potential supplementary food source as suggested by Burgess & Callan (2018). This work will proceed in the next project year (Year 2).

Year 1 of the project has demonstrated reliable, year-round production of viable eggs from Yellow Tang broodstock. It has also provided important information regarding the onset of maturation in F1 Yellow Tang stocks and is beginning to elucidate egg production information from those unique stocks. This work to date also resulted in the complete closing of the life cycle for Yellow Tang, producing the first F2 juveniles in August of 2019 and thus charted another important milestone for marine ornamental aquaculture. This project sought to improve early larval survival (beyond day 7), however was hindered by unexpectedly low egg quality from long-time, well-established stocks. Despite this, progress has continued with the culture of Yellow Tang and egg quality issues will be further addressed in Year 2 of this work along with re-visiting some of the Objectives that could not be fully explored from Year 1.

Despite this, progress has continued with the commercial-scale culture of Yellow Tang. A concurrent project at OI supported by industry partner (Biota Aquariums) is producing as many as 500 Yellow Tang juveniles from a single 1,000L larval tank. However, overall yield still remains quite low (around 1% survival from stocking). Therefore, egg quality issues will be further addressed in Year 2 of this CTSA work along with re-visiting some of the Objectives that could not be fully explored from Year 1 in order to further improve commercial production potential for this species.

Sep 30, 2019

Regional e-Notes: September Letter from the Director

Aloha,

I was pleased to see that the recent ‘Marine Biotechnology Conference 2019’ in Shizuoka City, Japan featured a session on “Algal Biotechnology.” During this session, presenters revealed how algae has the potential to significantly benefit all living creatures on earth. To start, algae helps the ocean trap more than 90% of carbon dioxide released from human activities on earth. It can also be a source of protein as well as other unique substances to fight again diseases and meet other nutritional needs. Macroalgae—including seaweed commonly found in the grocery store—is high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as essential amino acids. It is also considered the best dietary source of iodine, which is important for thyroid health.

In addition to it’s growing popularity as a nutrient-dense source of food, macroalgae is a powerhouse plant when it comes to environmental remediation and mitigation. There is a growing body of research demonstrating that macroalgae can be cultivated to significantly lessen the impacts of climate change. Several studies have found that fast-growing kelp and other macroalgae species are highly efficient at storing carbon. According to a recently published paper in the journal Current Biology, “raising macroalgae in just 0.001 percent of seaweed-growing waters worldwide and then burying it at sea could offset the entire carbon emissions of the rapidly growing global aquaculture industry.” Furthermore, kelp added to livestock feeds is proven to reduce methane emissions from cattle production.

CTSA is currently funding work aimed at cultivating three species of Hawaiian macroalgae, and I am looking forward to the contributions this project will make. As we have been reminded in recent weeks through the Global Climate Strike and the United Nations Climate Summit, our planet is experiencing and facing significant changes as a result of our rapidly changing climate. We need all of the solutions that we can get. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

On a separate note, as some of you may already know, NIFA has moved to Kansas City as of today. With this move, the aquaculture community will miss working with Drs. Gene Kim and Max Mayeaux as our aquaculture leaders at NIFA. While we hope they will continue to support aquaculture in their new capacities, we also look forward to working with the soon-to-be appointed NIFA aquaculture team. This issue features a message from the USDA with new contact information and the reassurance that aquaculture will remain an important part of its portfolio.

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

Sep 23, 2019

CTSA Education Project Gets Green Light as Sea Grant Announces $16M in Funding for Aquaculture

Sea Grant recently announced $16 million in federal funding awards to support 42 research projects and collaborative programs aimed at advancing sustainable aquaculture in the United States. The Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture is excited to announce that we are the recipients of one of this year’s awards!

The newly funded projects will focus on three areas of need identified by Sea Grant: Advanced Aquaculture Collaborative Programs, Exploring New Aquaculture Opportunities, and Social, Economic, and Behavioral Research Needs in Aquaculture. The CTSA project falls in the latter category as one of sixteen projects that will address critical gaps in social, behavioral, and economic knowledge as it relates to U.S. aquaculture and the communities impacted and served by it.

Following up on CTSA’s previous education activities, our Sea Grant project “Assessing public perceptions of aquaculture and the broader impacts of K-12 aquaculture education” will investigate the correlations between aquaculture education and public perceptions of seafood. CTSA’s Executive Director Cheng-Sheng Lee is coordinating the work along with Information Specialist Meredith Brooks—who will work together with experts to create new education materials—and Co-PI Dr. Catherine Chan, who will conduct the assessment with students and community members.

The motives behind our project are not foreign to aquaculture industry stakeholders. U.S. is the second largest importer of seafood products in the world—including those from aquaculture—yet our country only grows 5% of the seafood we consume. It is safe to say that aquaculture is not well understood by the general public, and as a result we are missing out on opportunities to improve our food security, economy, and even environment. It is important to overcome the communication obstacles and, as FAO recommends, actively shape the debate on aquaculture because “a lack of information leaves room for speculation.” This is especially true if we are going to meet the growing national and global demands for seafood. Furthermore, the FAO recommends investing in education to provide more fact-based information to consumers to address the various perceptions that impact the growth of the aquaculture industry. 

A primary goal of this project is to increase seafood consumption via education. One key assumption for this approach is that students can influence the perception of the whole family; thus, it is important to understand what information students are currently using to convey consumption preferences to their parents (with regards to ‘origin’ of fish, for our purposes). In addition, consumers are becoming more health and safety conscious on how their food is grown and where it comes from. Hence, our team will assess public (including students and students’ family) perceptions of aquaculture and aquaculture products before and after implementing an aquaculture education program. Any assessment is likely to assert that education and outreach are important to filling the gaps in consumer acceptance of aquaculture.

“With our 2019 investments, we are building on investments by Sea Grant and NOAA over the last few years to fill critical gaps in information and strengthen connectivity of science to industry,” said Jonathan Pennock, Director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “These investments will help advance U.S. aquaculture in sustainable, thoughtful ways using the best science and talent across the country.”

CTSA also congratulates our colleagues at Hawai’i Sea Grant on the successful submission of multiple projects, including “Establishing a Hawai’i-Pacific Aquaculture Consortium: A Revitalization and Expansion of the Aquaculture Development Program,” which was awarded nearly $1.2 million under the Collaborative Program category. The aim of this project is to revitalize, solidify, and expand an aquaculture development program through the establishment of an aquaculture-focused, collaborative program that engages in robust and diverse geographic and sectoral inclusivity across Hawai’i and the Pacific region.

Dr. Darren Lerner, Hawaiʻi Sea Grant director and principle investigator, said “With renewed interest here in Hawaiʻi as demonstrated by Governor Ige’s signing of Act 063, this funding will assist in creating a hub which fully integrates research, extension, and education services directed towards supporting the continued development and enhancement of indigenous aquaculture practices and the aquaculture industry in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.”

Another newly awarded Hawai’i Sea Grant project will fund work that is a continuation of over a decade of CTSA support to establish bivalve farming in Hawai’i. The project “Culture of Native Bivalve Species to Expand Mariculture Opportunities and Improve Coastal Environments,” led by Hawaii Sea Grant and Dr. Maria Haws of UH Hilo, will develop hatchery and nursery methods for selected bivalve species from the Pinnidae family for aquaculture and environmental purposes in Hawai`i and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI).

Haws noted “These new awards demonstrate how important it was to have formed CSACR (Center for Sustainable Aquaculture and Coastal Resources) five years ago and to serve the entire Pacific region. The leading aquaculture specialists in the UH System now have an unprecedented opportunity to come together to strengthen aquaculture education and extension throughout the region, just as demand from students and producers is reaching an all-time high.”

Two additional projects were awarded in our Western Pacific region. The project “Exploring the Potential for Sustainable Capture-Based Aquaculture of Spiny Lobster (Panulirus spp.) in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia” will test the efficacy of sustainable wild capture of spiny lobster peuruli and juveniles as a basis for forming an aquaculture industry. The project “An Assessment of Mariculture Feasibility in American Samoa” seeks to provide information on a myriad social, economic, and geographical questions that surround the development of mariculture in American Samoa.

Click here for more information on the 2019 Sea Grant funding announcement.

Aug 30, 2019

Regional e-Notes: August Letter from the Director

Aloha,

Teamwork is always a top priority of mine when I set out to accomplish tasks, particularly those related to aquaculture development. If you are a long-term reader of this newsletter, you know that I regularly use my ‘Letter from the Director’ platform to discuss the importance of working together to achieve our goals. In last month’s Letter, I mentioned one of the CTSA project leaders, Ryan Murashige, who has been working together with the COM Land Grant Program under Dr. Singeru Singeo’s supervision to provide training for Marshallese aquaculture technicians. This month’s issue features an article highlighting my recent trip to check in with Ryan and the important collaborative work they are doing in Majuro.

The topic of collaboration is one that resonates across the science world. Last week, I had the great pleasure of attending a two-day “World Laureates Sanya Forum” in Hainan, China. The theme of this forum was “Smart Ocean and Future Agriculture.” It was the first time I have attended this type of high power event, and it was a joy to meet and listen to presentations from 12 Nobel Prize laureates, two Turing Award laureates, one Fields Prize laureate, two Lasker Award laureates, and four Wolfle Prize laureates in agriculture. I also had the opportunity to share a presentation about our work in Hawaii and U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands. During the forum, Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Randy Schekman called for “science without boundaries,” and promoted cooperation as essential for success. At the end of my own presentation, I included the following quote from Kate Vitasek: “innovation and collaboration are not an “either-or” proposition, but rather are intimately linked.”

As we do each year, CTSA is working with many researchers to develop our FY2019 Plan of Work (POW). Everyone plays different roles during this process to make sure that we prepare the best POW to help the development of the aquaculture industry in our region. This month, our team is processing the FY19 proposals and distributing them for external and internal review. I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for everyone who participates in this critical process, and who shares an open mind to working together for a brighter future!

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

Aug 22, 2019

Working Together to Go Farther: An Update on CTSA Supported Aquaculture Activities in the RMI

By CTSA Executive Director Dr. Cheng-Sheng Lee and Meredith Brooks

Partnership and travel are two hallmarks of operating the Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture. The territory we cover is broad, spanning thousands of miles between remote—and oftentimes, small—Pacific Islands. Strategic partnership between islands and leveraging of resources is an essential element to the successful development of any industry in this region. Accordingly, whenever our staff travels, we go to great lengths to open our arms to those who share the same mission to sustainably develop aquaculture. In my capacity as Executive Director of CTSA, I try to meet with as many stakeholders as possible within our territory. Last month, I had the pleasure of packing several important meetings into a three-day trip to Majuro, the main purpose of which was to check in with ongoing CTSA-funded projects.

On this short trip, I went straight from the airport to meet with Ramsey Reimers, a Marshallese businessman and entrepreneur responsible for several successful enterprises in the RMI. I have known Ramsey for a long time. Many years ago, CTSA worked together with him on aquaculture of giant clams. He was the first person who CTSA partnered with in the RMI, and the first to express interest in aquaculture in the RMI as a means to increase the available supply of sustainable seafood. Although he is not currently active in fish farming, Ramsey sees value in investing in sustainable technologies and is excited about the future of aquaculture in Majuro. After our meeting, Ramsey brought me to the local fish market to see how the ocean fish harvest has changed over the years in terms of species and size. According to his observations, there has been a gradual yet significant decrease in the size of wild-caught fish. I completely understand his concerns. Like in many areas of the Pacific, the natural resources are being depleted at a high rate. This was a topic of my discussion with local government and college officials later the same day. 

Throughout my discussions, I always return to the theme of partnership. Aquaculture can be an important solution in addressing the issue of natural resource depletion from multiple angles, but in order to establish a successful aquaculture operation, multiple partnerships need to occur. Capacity must be built through partnerships in research, demonstration, education and training. This is followed by partnerships between capacity builders and industry developers, or the business leaders who will finance the operation. Finally, any operation needs public support and partnership with governments throughout the duration of the process. It helps to ensure a clear regulatory framework. To this end, I met with local government officials Glen Joseph of the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) and John Silk, Minister of Resources and Development, as well as Dr. Theresa Koroivulaono, President of the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI). We all agree that strategic partnership among our agencies and local farmers is the most effective way to develop sustainable aquaculture, reduce depletion of natural resources, and increase food security in the RMI.

While in Majuro, I also met with colleagues at the Republic of China (ROC) embassy, who informed me they are welcoming a fisheries and aquaponics expert to the RMI this month. It was my pleasure to link them together with CMI to help continue building local capacity for aquaculture in Majuro.

The primary purpose of my trip was to check in with researcher Ryan Murashige, the PI of an ongoing CTSA project on marine finfish aquaculture, and to observe the intensive rabbitfish training workshop that he was leading with researchers Sergio Bolasina of CMI, Miguel de los Santos of Palau Community College, and Manoj Nair of The College of Micronesia (COM). Both the long-term project and short-term workshop are great examples of partnership in action. The multi-year marine finfish project—a collaborative effort between CTSA, ATMI, and the government of Rongelap—is focused on establishing local farming of rabbitfish and moi, two popular fish that have been overfished throughout the region. The two-month intensive workshop—a collaborative effort between CMI, the COM Land Grant Program, CTSA projects, and Aquaculture Technologies of the Marshall Islands (ATMI)—brought together researchers from Palau, Pohnpei and Marshall Islands to train technicians in rabbitfish hatchery and rearing techniques.

During the workshop, I was able to witness firsthand the dedication that Ryan is putting into his work in the RMI, as well as aquaculture development across the region. He led the demonstrations in all aspects of running a successful rabbitfish enterprise from hatchery to harvest, including feed manufacturing. Feed formulation and manufacturing of feed is key to the success of aquaculture in the RMI and the region. Ryan has established an efficient multi-species feed millto produce quality local feeds that can sustain multiple livestock industries, and serve as a great example of how to reduce waste and utilize local agriculture products in remote Pacific Islands. His detailed training on feed included hands-on instruction in feed ingredients, feed composition/formulation, mixing, production of dry and semi-moist pellets, safety of manufacturing, and feeds storage. The technicians and researchers who participated, including CTSA-sponsored researcher Miguel de los Santos, are striving to implement this valuable knowledge in their own rabbitfish and marine finfish production efforts.

I am extremely pleased with the accomplishments Ryan and his team have made to this point, and the work they continue to do. The high-quality work that he is both performing and leading, in addition to Miguel’s involvement, make me proud of CTSA’s contributions to this rabbitfish training workshop and the overall development of marine finfish aquaculture in the Western Pacific. I am looking forward to future capacity building trainings and new partnerships to develop solutions to securing our seafood supply across the Pacific region. I also look forward to another successful trip in our region in the near future!

Aug 19, 2019

Recap of Hawai’i Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association 2019 Meeting on O’ahu

On August 12, the Hawai’i Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association (HAAA) held its 2019 Conference at Kapiolani Community College. This year’s conference focused on “Innovation and Collaboration,” and featured eleven speakers, including three visiting guest speakers.

The first guest speaker Georg Baunach, Managing Partner and Co-founder of HATCH Blue, discussed the upcoming HATCH cohort in his presentation “Acceleration of Aquaculture Innovation.” Among other goals, HATCH hopes to help innovate and reinvigorate aquaculture in the Hawaiian Islands. Other guest speakers shared information relevant to Hawaii farmers, ranging from tilapia disease to food safety in aquaponics production.

“I felt it was a very diverse program well supported by sponsors and well received by attendees, many of whom shared very positive feedback,” stated Ron Weidenbach, President of HAAA. “The presentations were strong and the presenters were well prepared and on target for the audience.”

Multiple conference presentations were focused on disseminating CTSA-funded research results. CTSA Principal Investigator RuthEllen Klinger-Bowen, a Fish Disease Specialist with the University of Hawaii, presented on the recently completed CTSA project “Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis prevalence and genetic assessment of feral tilapia populations in Hawaii.” In addition, Dr. Chad Callan, the Director of the Finfish Program at Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University, discussed his ongoing CTSA-funded work in his presentation “Recent improvements in advancing the culture of yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens): an update on progress at Oceanic Institute.”

“The HAAA conference is a great opportunity for our local industry to gather and share updates,” stated CTSA Executive Director Cheng-Sheng Lee. “It is also a good platform for CTSA PI’s and other local researchers to share the results of their latest research, which is often very relevant to the people in attendance.”

“I was particularly happy to hear about developments at UH Hilo PACRC, which is starting to conduct research on food fish and marine ornamentals in Hawaii,” he continued. “These types of events help us to foster partnerships and innovation in our industry.”

Nearly 100 industry stakeholders attended the all-day event, which was co-sponsored by CTAHR, HDOA, Ulupono, Matson, CTSA, UH Hilo and others.

Jul 30, 2019

Regional e-Notes: July Letter from the Director

Aloha,

July has been a busy month for the CTSA team! After our IAC and TC discussed and voted on the pre-proposals we received in response to our ‘FY19 Request for Pre-Proposals,’ CTSA sent out requests for full proposals. We are looking forward to reading the expanded ideas of the Principle Investigators in the coming weeks. I also just returned from a trip to Majuro, where I checked in with our ongoing CTSA rabbitfish and moi projects. Next month’s issue of e-Notes will feature an article highlighting the trip and training activities, but I would like to take a moment now to extend my sincere appreciation to Ryan Murashige—the Majuro-based PI who is leading the current rabbitfish training—for his dedication to improving lives and aquaculture production in the Pacific Islands.

As we move forward in our FY19 development process and the overall development of our program, my thoughts are centered on the future of seafood. We are all aware that there is growing need for sustainable solutions to feed the world’s growing population. Rather than compare aquaculture to fisheries, the two industries need to collaborate to achieve our shared mission to increase the seafood supply.

Together with other innovative methods and technologies, especially those focused on reducing and re-utilizing waste, we can help reach one of the fundamental goals of aquaculture farming: increasing the seafood supply.

Protecting the ocean is another fundamental goal of aquaculture farming. We have many unique opportunities to supply the growing demand for seafood while reducing impacts on precious and finite natural resources. I look forward to continuing discussions and developing collaborative efforts with you, our stakeholders, to address these important goals.

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

Jul 26, 2019

CTSA Project Update: Aquaculture Workshop for Waianae High School

This past March, twenty-two students, 3 teachers, and 2 chaperons from Waianae High School attended a 3-day aquaculture workshop at the Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University. The CTSA-funded hands-on workshop featured activities involving finfish, live larval feeds organisms, marine shrimp, microalgae, environmental DNA (eDNA), an aquaculture business game, a college mini-fair, and a career lunch mingle with industry professionals.

The students and teachers are from Waianae High School’s Marine Science Learning Center (WHS MSLC). The classes and activities at the MSLC gives the students a strong familiarity with aquaculture through the projects they conduct at school in their own aquaculture facilities. Since the early 1990s, the school has been culturing ogo and shrimp and seeks to inspire the students to pursue higher education and careers in marine science including aquaculture and related fields. OI-HPU’s relationship with the school goes back to the beginning with their then lead teacher, Susan Lum, attending a 10-day aquaculture workshop at OI-HPU’s Kona facilities. This led to the school sending students to Kona for an annual workshop for 15 consecutive years.

This year’s CTSA- funded workshop allowed OI-HPU and WHS MSLC to restart the relationship providing hands-on experiential education in aquaculture and marine science for the students. During the workshop the students work with OI-HPU scientists and technicians as well as faculty from the College of Natural and Computational Sciences. They are exposed to cutting edge developments in aquaculture and learn techniques they can take back to their school and use including methods to produce live larval feeds to support larval fish culture and how to improve their shrimp growout projects. Students learned how to use hemocytometers to count algal cell density in cultures and background algae in rearing systems. In addition to getting information on better raising the shrimp post-larvae they get from OI-HPU, they learned about the selective breeding process OI-HPU employs to improve their families. This activity included learning how OI-HPU is uses DNA to determine shrimp paternity thereby speeding up and increasing the veracity of the breeding program.

The WHS MSLC students also learned about other molecular techniques employed in marine science including environmental DNA to get information about presence or absence of aquatic and terrestrial organisms in coastal waters and other bodies. During this part of the workshop the students extracted DNA from strawberries using readily available materials like Dawn detergent and isopropyl alcohol. This hands-on activity allowed them to actually see DNA from the strawberries making the microscopic material visible to the naked eye.

During lunch on two of the days, the students were given a chance to learn about opportunities in education and careers after they graduate from high school. On one day a mini-college fair was held that brought representatives from local higher education institutions to the workshop to talk one on one with the students about their programs. On the other day, aquaculture industry professionals were invited to share information on their jobs, how they got there, and advice on pursuing a career in this field. The “casual” format of these sessions allowed the students to ask things they normally would not have in a more formal setting.

Over the final two days of the workshop, the students played an aquaculture business game. This activity required the students to form a company, name it, take out a loan and secure a grant, decide on the products the company would produce, get the permits needed, build the needed facilities, purchase the needed supplies, begin selling their products, pay staff, pay taxes, and keep records of their income and expenses. In addition, each company which consisted of 3-4 team members would roll a dice to determine what occurrence card they would get each month. These cards are in six categories that had “good” or “bad” incidents or situations that would affect their business and sometimes the other companies too. At the end of the playing period, each company’s net worth was determined giving the students a glimpse of the challenges aquaculture businesses face and what strategies turned out better.

The 3-day aquaculture workshop provided the participants with useable information and skills; knowledge and methods they can put to work at their own facility at Waianae High School. It also gave the students a chance learn about educational opportunities and careers in aquaculture and professions that support the industry. And an appreciation of the different aspects of aquaculture including research, farming, regulations, and related services.

Prior to the start of the workshop and at the end, students were asked to complete Pre- and Post- surveys. These surveys indicated an increase of knowledge and skills by the participants of the workshop. A majority of the participants found the workshop beneficial and rewarding; stating they would welcome participating again in the future. The surveys also provided insight into ways to improve the activities and overall effectiveness of the workshop. These assessments provided feedback on the activities that they found most valuable and most challenging. With this information and with the activities fresh in everyone’s mind, the teachers and PI met after the workshop to discuss how to improve future workshops. Through an examination of what worked, what needs changing, and implementing these improvements, the next workshop should be even more successful!

Jul 24, 2019

Hawai‘i Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association Conference 2019

The Hawai‘i Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association Conference 2019 will take place on August 12, 2019 from 8am-5pm at Kapiolani Community College in the Ohelo Building, Ka ‘Ikena Dining Room.

Everyone interested in aquaculture and/or aquaponics in Hawai’i is invited to attend the conference, which features updates on recent research at UH-Manoa, UH-Hilo, Oceanic Institute of HPU, and NELHA. Many of the speakers are CTSA PI’s and Co-PI’s who will be reporting on CTSA-funded research.

Presentation topics include shrimp, finfish, and shellfish culture, freshwater and marine aquaponics, Hawaiian fishpond revival, emerging tilapia diseases, food safety, and innovation in aquaculture. This year’s featured speaker will be Dr. Esteban Soto of U.C. Davis.

Registration includes conference, continental breakfast, buffet lunch, light pupus. Head count for buffet lunch must be provided to KCC on Aug. 5. Late registrations will be on “stand-by” for lunch AFTER regular registrants are served.

Click here for the full agenda and to register for the conference.

Jun 30, 2019

Regional e-Notes: June Letter from the Director

Aloha,

Following up on last month’s message about utilizing aquaculture to decrease pressure on wild fish populations—including marine aquarium species in need of conservation—I am happy to report that our ongoing projects are making good headway on this issue.

At the Oceanic Institute finfish hatchery, CTSA-funded research is helping to both establish and increase production of valuable marine finfish, including popular aquarium species such as yellow tang and coral grouper. The research group recently donated over a hundred coral grouper juveniles to aquariums across the country. Thirty of the fish are at the local Waikiki Aquarium, where they will become and important part of the aquarium’s aquaculture and educational outreach display.

Highlights and progress updates from these projects and others are included in this month’s issue of e-Notes. During this time of year, CTSA conducts our bi-annual project monitoring conference calls to ensure that our projects remain on track to complete objectives. These calls are a valuable part of our project monitoring, as they allow us to go beyond written reports and engage in lively discussions that often uncover important details. I am grateful to our industry and technical representatives for serving as project liaisons and participating in these important calls.

I am also grateful to our representatives for their participation in this week’s annual Industry Advisory Council and Technical Committee meeting. The meeting was held to discuss the pre-proposals CTSA received in response to our FY19 request. As I have expressed before, our dedicated stakeholders are an essential part of our program, as they work together with our administrative staff each year to ensure that CTSA remains on course to address important issues and needs in our region.

I look forward to the Plan of Work we will prepare together for FY 2019!

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

Jun 26, 2019

Midyear Updates on CTSA Funded Projects: Impact Highlights

CTSA is in the process of conducting our bi-annual project update conference calls, which coincide with progress reports due at the end of May each year. The purpose of these calls is for CTSA staff and a project Industry Liaison to discuss the project progress in depth to ensure it is on track to complete its objectives and meet industry needs. The following are some highlights from ongoing or recently completed CTSA projects:

Disease prevalence survey of wild mud crab populations in the US-affiliated Pacific Islands
This recently completed project collected mud crab tissue samples from Guam, Palau, Kosrae, and Pohnpei, and assayed them for genetic variability with novel microsatellite markers, developed as part of the study. Samples were also assayed for three diseases: WSV, TSV, and MCRV. The results found significant genetic differentiation, representing the first such finding with microsatellite markers in Scylla sp. Disease testing suggests that mud crab populations in the USAPI are not significant vectors for WSSV and TSV. However, a small, but significant, portion of mud crabs do carry MCRV and care should be taken not to introduce this pathogen to crab farms or to transfer this pathogens in regions unaffected by the disease. The novel microsatellite markers developed in this study provide tools to farmers, researchers, and resource managers to evaluate genetic diversity in mud crabs. A full feature article on this project is forthcoming.

Improving the commercial aquaculture feasibility for Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens): Resolving early bottlenecks to improve culture yield
This ongoing project is working to increase production of Yellow Tang at the Oceanic Institute. The work completed to date has revealed valuable insights into Yellow Tang F1 stock maturation and egg production. It was not expected that fish would be spawning at this young age and it is a very positive sign that egg production and egg quality will improve rapidly with time. The research group expects that spawning will improve into the summer and early fall (as historically that is when they see larger spawns) and will therefore initiate hatchery trials once they obtain sufficient numbers of viable eggs. It is important to note that Yellow Tang juveniles currently being produced under a separately funded project are now being widely distributed to the aquarium trade; it is expected that the results from this project will greatly enhance that production project, further increasing the impacts of this work, as they will immediately be put into practice at large-scale.

Aquaculture Workshop at Oceanic Institute for Students of Waianae High School’s Aquaculture Program
The primary purpose of this two-year project is to conduct an in-depth annual aquaculture workshop with students from Waianae HS. The PI first worked together with educators at Waianae HS to develop and finalize a workshop curriculum, activities schedule, and workbook content. They then conducted a three-day aquaculture workshop March 27-29, 2019, at the Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University. Twenty-two students and 5 teachers/chaperones attended the 3-day aquaculture workshop, which featured activities involving finfish, shrimp, live larval feed organisms, microalgae, environmental DNA (eDNA), an aquaculture business game, college mini-fair, and career lunch mingle. These activities increased the participants’ knowledge and skills in the various subjects presented. It also provided the participants with ideas for furthering their education and possible careers in the field of aquaculture or related professions. A full feature article on this project is forthcoming.

May 30, 2019

Regional e-Notes: May Letter from the Director

Aloha!

As we begin the development cycle for the FY19 CTSA Plan of Work, my thoughts are focused on how we can best utilize our program to address serious issues that impact our planet, from food security to critical species restoration.

Earlier this month, several government agencies participated in Endangered Species Day, which is intended to bring awareness to the importance of protecting endangered species. This is a significant issue that we all need to consider because, as cautioned in a recent UN report, the extinction of various species may have serious consequences for human beings and the rest of life on Earth. The report discussed in the May 6 National Geographic article “One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns,” is a wakeup call for all humans. We must do what we can to mitigate the major drivers of these extinctions, including overfishing and climate change.
 
As reported in another National Geographic article, “ocean species are disappearing faster than those on Land” (Christina Nunez, April 24, 2019). This is likely because marine animals are far more vulnerable to extinctions than their earthbound counterparts, according to a study of more than 400 cold-blooded species. With fewer ways to seek refuge from warming, ocean-dwelling species are disappearing from their habitats at twice the rate of those on land. The study, led by researchers from New Jersey’s Rutgers University and published in the journal Nature, is the first to compare the impacts of higher temperatures in the ocean and on land for a range of cold-blooded wildlife, from fish and mollusks to lizards and dragonflies. While previous research has suggested warm-blooded animals are better at adapting to climate change than cold-blooded ones, this study clarifies the heightened risk for sea creatures.

I am pleased to see community and industry leaders in Hawaii paying more attention to the importance of preserving our natural resources. Recently, the Directors and General Managers from Maui Ocean Center, Waikiki Aquarium, and Sea Life Park approached me to discuss how they can continue educating the public at their facilities without having any impact on natural populations. They would like to use aquaculture to close the life cycles of the aquatic species in their exhibitions, with the ultimate goal of achieving a sustainable supply chain. I applaud this group, who represent some of the largest aquarium-style facilities in the State of Hawaii, for taking the initiative to create positive solutions that can benefit the ocean as well as the entire aquarium industry. CTSA is pleased to assist them in putting together a strong team to achieve their goal. As the seas continue to absorb heat trapped in the atmosphere from carbon dioxide pollution, bringing waters to their warmest point in decades, we must develop innovative and realistic solutions to help retain and protect their biodiversity. I look forward to reading your ideas in this year’s Pre-Proposals!

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

May 30, 2019

Calling All Innovators! Hatch Sustainable Aquaculture Accelerator Sets Sights on Hawaii

There is a lot of excitement buzzing around the Hawaii aquaculture industry as Hatch, the world’s first sustainable aquaculture accelerator, searches for its third cohort of startups and prepares for its kick off at NELHA on the Big Island. CTSA had the opportunity to speak with Hatch Co-Founder and COO Wayne Murphy to learn more about this innovative program—which just won an ‘International Impact’ award at the 2019 Aquaculture Awards—and its potential to stimulate our local aquaculture industry.

“We are very happy to be in Hawaii developing aquaculture talent, and we’ve got a really big mission to deliver here,” exclaimed Mr. Murphy. “We are looking to help develop and support Hawaii’s indigenous talent. We want to invest in Hawaiian technology and Hawaiian entrepreneurs who are involved in aquaculture.”

The purpose behind the Hatch accelerator, which started with its first cohort in April 2018, is to provide participating startups with resources and a global perspective of aquaculture so they are able to meet industry demands and hone/scale their technology to drive their own success.

“NELHA is the perfect place for our startups to engage with aquaculture farms and really learn first hand the challenges they have, and maybe tweak their technologies to deliver solutions to known problems,” stated Mr. Murphy.

The third Hatch cohort will begin this August and spend the bulk of its time at NELHA before traveling to the aquaculture hub of Bergen Norway, where salmon production runs into the tens of billions of dollars. After Norway, the teams will travel to Singapore, home to the world’s largest seafood market and a melting pot of cultures and technologies. This rotation helps to provide companies with a well-rounded service.

A key aspect of the accelerator is helping startups raise funds. According to Mr. Murphy, the first Hatch cohort has been able to raise over $7 million in funding in just over one year because “this opportunity makes them visible and gives them a platform to attract investors.” Each participating company also receives 100,000 euros from Hatch to help them scale up and network their business. Half of the money is presented as a cash investment and the remaining half as in-kind support in the form of training, networking, marketing, etc. This support is critical for the startups, as many do not come from a traditional aquaculture setting.

“There are many different technologies that are not currently used in aquaculture that can have application in aquaculture,” stated Mr. Murphy. The Hatch accelerator is the perfect place to incubate these technologies. One startup from the second Hatch cohort was originally a human health services company that was encouraged to ‘pivot’ and apply their proprietary technology to aquaculture; they are now working to eradicate sea lice on salmon farms, and just won the ‘Best New Entrant’ award at the 2019 Aquaculture Awards in Europe.

“I don’t believe all the problems that exist in aquaculture are going to be solved by fish nutritionists or marine biologists,” continued Mr. Murphy. “A lot of them are going to be solved by engineers, computer scientists, data analysts, and a host of different disciplines. What Hatch is trying to do is attract these people and point them towards aquaculture, which is very much a growing sector globally.”

During the first cohort, a startup led by a computer scientist and a coder/data analyst originally set out to enhance oyster production in the Chesapeake Bay. However, after joining Hatch and meeting with farmers in different regions of the world, they decided to switch their focus to salmon production. They are now working with farms to collect, analyze, and present data in a simple way that is proving very impactful for the salmon farmers of Norway.

The program is currently recruiting businesses and individuals for its third cohort, set to begin in August 2019. Applications to participate in the third cohort close at the end of June, and any interested businesses or individuals should visit the following link for more information: https://www.hatch.blue/apply/

May 2, 2019

CTSA’s Dr. Cheng-Sheng Lee featured in Televised News Interview on Hawaii Aquaculture Accelerator

CTSA’s Dr. Cheng-Sheng Lee was featured in a recent televised news interview on a new aquaculture accelerator in Hawaii. Click here to view the video and read the corresponding article on KITV. Content is also pasted below:

Something is fishy about Hawaii’s newest business accelerator!

Because it aims to bring in technology companies for state aquaculture.

Hawaii residents like to eat a lot of seafood, on average about 37 pounds per person every year. And we are not alone.

“The demand for seafood is rising every year, and cannot be met by wild catch alone,” said Hawaii Governor David Ige.
That means aquaculture is not just a growing industry, but a critical one for our food sustainability.

“Since 2016, aquaculture has provided 50% of the seafood we are eating,” stated Cheng-Sheng Lee, with the University of Hawaii’s Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture.

Hawaii doesn’t have too many large scale aquaculture operations.
Most of the aquaculture people see are small aquaponics set-ups in people’s backyard,

“Although we are small scale and don’t produce a large quantity of aquaculture, Hawaii in terms of research worldwide is significant,” added Lee.

Here pathogen-free shrimp were developed, and parasite resistant strains of fish were breed then sent around the global to re-stock important fisheries.

Now, Hawaii wants to round up technology companies to provide even more of a boost to the industry. It is opening an aquaculture accelerator, for start-up companies from the islands and around the world.

“If you have a new feed ingredient, or health product, that could be relevant to this accelerator—not generic farming operations,” said HATCH Chief Executive Officer Carsten Krome.

$4.5 million in state and federal funding will help a dozen small companies scale up each year at the Hawai’i Ocean Science and Technology Park in Kailua-Kona.

The accelerator, a three year pilot program, is just getting underway but Krome said many companies are all ready to dive into Hawaii’s aquaculture.
While the Governor doesn’t want the state to get passed over by this rapidly growing industry.

“The world is expanding in this area and people are more conscious about the limitations of what is caught in the wild. As well as the potential increases and expansion of aquaculture,” said Ige.

Apr 30, 2019

CTSA FY2019 Request for Pre-Proposals

REQUEST FOR PRE-PROPOSALS
Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
Due Friday, June 14 2019

Click here to download pdf of FY19 Request for Pre-Proposals

REQUEST FOR PRE-PROPOSALS
Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
Due Friday, June 14 2019

The Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture (CTSA) requests pre-proposals for applied research and extension that addresses problems and opportunities in the regional aquaculture industry.

It is important to note that CTSA has a limited budget for new projects during this funding cycle. The amount is lower than most other years due to CTSA’s commitment to fund succeeding project years of multi-year projects that were approved under the FY18 Plan of Work. In consideration of this funding limitation, projects exceeding $50,000 per project year will receive additional scrutiny during this FY19 funding cycle. 

CTSA stakeholders have identified the below strategic areas and species as the top aquaculture development priorities for this unique funding cycle. Pre-proposals that target these strategic areas and priority species will receive highest preference. However, pre-proposals that do not fall under specific priority areas but address CTSA’s mission will be considered in our development process. Our main focus is on funding projects that will have immediate, positive impacts on the regional aquaculture industry.

CTSA’s mission is to support aquaculture research, development, demonstration, and extension education in order to enhance viable and profitable aquaculture in the United States. CTSA is funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The current CTSA region includes the following areas: American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. Pre-proposals should utilize innovative approaches that take into account the unique environmental situation of the region.  One of CTSA’s primary goals is capacity building. Accordingly, we strongly encourage collaboration between institutions and agencies in the region, as well as shared funding of large priority projects. Cultivating strong regional partnerships will catalyze the greatest changes in our industry, and projects that demonstrate an understanding of this principal are more likely to be supported.

FY 2019 Strategic Areas & Priority Species

Cost Effective Locally-Made Aquatic Feed
CTSA will consider a proposal to conduct an economic study and identify the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of producing feed in Hawaii and throughout the region. CTSA also welcomes new and innovative suggestions to make aquatic feed more affordable for farmers in the region.

Marine Finfish and Ornamental Farming Technology
CTSA will consider a proposal that addresses hatchery technology for marine ornamental fish from the perspectives of both supplying the marine aquarium market and the restoration of coral reefs. CTSA will also consider other proposals related to marine finfish technology.

Disease management and diagnostic services
CTSA will consider a proposal to further enhance regional disease diagnostic services, including but not limited to the addition of fish disease diagnostics and extension services.

Other
Other species, opportunities, and challenges have been identified as priorities for aquaculture development and production in the Pacific islands. CTSA will consider proposals that seek to address the following topics; seaweed culture for human consumption and aquatic feed production; advanced aquaculture-relevant research on aquaponics, such as management of fish sludge from aquaponics systems; and development of effective, affordable instrumentation to monitor nutrient levels and other factors in aquaponics and/or aquaculture systems. In addition, CTSA will consider proposals that seek to address the following priority areas, which remain important to the regional industry and are being addressed by CTSA projects: shellfish, mangrove crab, and sea cucumber (please note, in consideration of our FY19 funding situation, we will consider proposals on these three species if they present innovative ideas).

Process and Instructions
Pre-proposals that do not follow the guidelines outlined in this section will be rejected. Properly formatted pre-proposals received by the deadline, 5pm HST Friday June 14 2019, will be reviewed by CTSA’s Industry Advisory Council (IAC) and Technical Committee (TC). Only pre-proposals that receive a majority of votes will move forward with requests for a full proposal. Full proposals will receive both internal and external review for technical quality and industry impact. Not all full proposals may be awarded. Full proposals approved by the CTSA Board of Directors and the USDA as part of the CTSA FY19 Plan of Work are expected to have funding available for implementation by July 2020.

CTSA typically does not fund projects for more than $100,000 per year. However, a project will not be automatically rejected if it exceeds that amount. CTSA gives preference to projects that will deliver the most benefits at the lowest cost. Due to its limited budget, CTSA will distribute funding to the highest ranked proposals until it has exhausted all available funds. Please note: the amount available to fund new projects in this funding cycle is approximately $200,000.

Eligible Applicants
Universities, community colleges, or nonprofit research institutions and organizations from the CTSA region must lead project execution. Private individuals or commercial companies are welcome to participate in research work but cannot act as the prime contractor for any project.

Pre-Proposal Guidelines
When submitting pre-proposals, researchers must identify the strategic area(s) and priority targeted. Although an individual may submit a maximum of three pre-proposals, a researcher can act as principal investigator to only two projects in a single funding cycle. Pre-proposals must be no more than two pages (single-spaced, 12-pt. font, 1-inch margins), and the required format is Microsoft Word.

Pre-proposals must include the following sections:
1) Proposed title or main idea
2) FY19 Strategic Priority Area being addressed
3) Problem statement - What is the issue and/or opportunity your project will address?
Clearly explain the significance of the targeted problem and its relation to current and future industry development.
4) Proposed approach - How will you address the issue and/or opportunity?
Define and number objectives that are achievable and measurable. Please visit the CTSA Web site (http://www.ctsa.org) to view previously funded projects so that your pre-proposal does not duplicate the work of completed or current projects.
5) Anticipated Impacts - How will your project impact the regional aquaculture industry?
Please be specific in your description, and indicate the potential return on investment. CTSA typically funds projects that benefit multiple stakeholders. However, single beneficiary projects with compelling reasons will be considered. If the project will result in a new industry, the estimated economic impact of the industry has to be discussed.
6) Budget
Please indicate if your project budget will be low (up to $25k), medium ($25-50k), or high (above $50k).
7) Related research
If any participant has previously received CTSA funding to address the same species or subject area covered in the current proposal (or similar issues), provide a brief statement highlighting the results of that work and justification for the proposed project.

How to Submit
Please e-mail pre-proposals to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by 5pm HST, Friday June 14, 2019. If you have any questions, please contact Meredith Brooks via e-mail or by telephone at (808) 292- 1323. If necessary, pre-proposals may be faxed to (808) 259-8395 or mailed to the following address:

Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
c/o HNFAS, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawaii at Manoa
1955 East West Road, Ag. Sci. 216
Honolulu, HI 96822

Apr 30, 2019

Regional e-Notes: April Letter from the Director

Aloha & Happy Earth Month!

As I reflect on the annual celebration of Earth Day & Month, my thoughts center on the importance of using our precious natural resources wisely and effectively.

Aquaculture plays an increasingly essential role in the global food supply. As our aquaculture industry continues to expand, we have many opportunities to impact the planet, and it is up to us to ensure that those impacts are positive. One area that CTSA has paid increasing attention to is extending the lifetime and value of all available resources. A recently completed project utilized nutrient-rich effluent water from tofu production to produce a fungal biomass ingredient for aquaculture feeds. The ingredient proved to be viable, and the tofu producer was pleased to have a new product from the effluent water that would otherwise have to be treated before discharge.

If we are going to reach our full potential as an industry, we must create new ways to use underutilized resources. A great example of this in the aquaculture value and supply chain is chefs who cook with seafood parts that are typically considered unusable.

Just as communities should strive to reduce single-use plastics and other unsustainable products to help preserve the environment, the aquaculture industry should strive to reduce waste in its production and development efforts. I encourage you to think about innovative ways to do this and hope you will consider sharing your thoughts with us.

This month’s issue contains the FY19 Request for Pre-Proposals, and I am hopeful that some of you will submit project ideas aimed at innovative and effective use of underutilized resources.

Mahalo,

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

Mar 28, 2019

Regional e-Notes: March Letter from the Director

Aloha,

Introducing new and innovate approaches to aquaculture industry needs is always a top priority in my work. This month, I have spent a significant amount of time communicating with researchers across disciplines to discover new and different ideas and technology that can be innovatively applied to solve some of our biggest issues. I am now working with these researchers to develop a few proposals to Sea Grant to advance aquaculture in our region.

At the same time, our CTSA team has begun developing the priority areas for the next round of funding. I thank those of you who have already submitted your comments via our survey, and encourage those who have not yet participated to complete our survey before Friday April 5. Our Request for Pre-Proposals will be released in the April issue of e-notes. Aside from the specific FY19 priorities defined in the Request, our primary goal remains the same: to advance aquaculture in our region.

Earlier this month I attended the Aquaculture 2019 conference in New Orleans. This year’s Triennial meeting combined the annual meetings of the World Aquaculture Society, National Shellfisheries Association, Fish Culture Section of the American Fisheries Society, and the National Aquaculture Association. The event - which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the World Aquaculture Society - was attended by 3,500 participants from 84 countries, and featured 104 technical sessions with 1,350 speakers and 225 posters, as well as a trade show with 205 booths. I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting for both its technical program as well as the opportunity to see old and meet new friends. In addition to useful information on new advancements in our industry, there were thought-provoking talks and discussions on community acceptance of aquaculture.

Industry consensus is that a social license is critical for sustainable aquaculture to effectively address some of the serious problems facing our planet. In the Pacific Islands, we are surrounded by ocean, and have thus been an integral part of meeting global seafood demands. We can continue contributing to the food supply for generations to come by incorporating more sustainable aquaculture into our food systems. But we must first gain public support from within our local communities, and deal with the alarming pollution from plastic in the ocean. Then, we can really depend on seafood to feed the ever-increasing global population. To this end, I am looking forward to our CTSA activities this year – we promise to keep things exciting, all with the same ultimate goal to increase food security and advance aquaculture in our region.

Mahalo,

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

Feb 28, 2019

Regional e-Notes: February Letter from the Director

Aloha!

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!

Mahalo,

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

Feb 25, 2019

Finding Local Solutions to National Problems; Perspectives on Aquaculture in Hawaii

In a beautiful island paradise like Hawaii, one might think that fresh seafood is plentiful in every corner market and restaurant. That all of the famous garlic shrimp and fish plate lunches feature seafood that was harvested locally that week or perhaps that same day. While there are certainly local seafood options available in the markets, the stark reality is that Hawaii imports over 90% of its food, and that includes seafood. 

Aquaculture is a promising way to simultaneously increase food security and decrease the imports of seafood that the United States and its territories have come to rely on. The expansion of aquaculture production, in fact, has helped meet growing demand for edible seafood as capture fisheries output has leveled off. Globally, fish provides more than 3.1 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein, and 4.3 billion people with 15 percent of such protein. Just to maintain this level of per capita utilization, global aquaculture production will need to increase current output by roughly 48 million tons by 2050. Undoubtedly, aquaculture must expand its contribution to the world’s food supply.

The U.S. aquaculture industry has grown steadily over the past decade with peak production of 607,570 tons in 2004. However, nationwide production in 2016 was 444,369 tons, a nearly 26.86 percent decrease from production in 2004. Meanwhile, the national seafood deficit skyrockets to new heights each year. Further development of U.S. aquaculture continues to grow in importance to the American economy. In his 2018 declaration of June as National Oceans Month, President Trump mentioned “harnessing the vast resources” of the EEZ in the context of aquaculture. He promised to create new opportunities for American products in the global marketplace, including through promotion of domestic aquaculture, and to “streamline regulations and administrative practices to promote economic growth, while protecting our marine environment for current and future generations.”

Unfortunately, regulations are one of the most critical issues inhibiting the growth of aquaculture in Hawaii. A recent article highlighted U.S. regulations and imported seafood as some of the obstacles prospective producers face in the islands.

“The biggest obstacle is permission,” stated Randy Cates, who has been attempting to get the necessary permits to anchor floating cages to grow moi in waters off of the Honolulu airport. “It’s not financing, it’s not high labor costs, it’s not the health standards. I’ve been trying for five years, half a million dollars on the site and I still don’t have permission to do it.”

According to the Hawaii News Now story, “the most significant barrier to new enterprises are choking state and federal regulations ― a bureaucratic structure that largely doesn’t apply to foreign imports. That’s despite safety concerns about those imports.”

“Investigative TV, for example, found that up to 12 percent of foreign frozen seafood may be contaminated with banned antibiotics, chemical dyes, and salmonella. University of Hawaii professor and extension specialist Aurora Saulo said foreign seafood is often farmed in unlined ponds and treated with antibiotics to prevent disease, carbon monoxide gas to hide quality and other chemicals.”

Professor Saulo stressed that our industry can compete if our legislation and regulations require evidence on the safety of any imported seafood products. Asia is the leading continent for aquaculture production, responsible for 89 percent of the global aquaculture production of fish, crustaceans and mollusks, which totals 76.6 million metric tons.

The story also highlighted the production efforts of the Kauai Shrimp Company, which harvests around a million pounds of healthy local shrimp each year. Kauai Shrimp Marketing and Sales Director Mike Turner said the company is dedicated to “clean operations that produce tasty shrimp without any added chemicals, and following the rules, unlike a lot of the foreign competitors.”

“We are under a lot of rules and regulations here that they don’t have abroad and the guys cut corners, and when you taste the shrimp you taste the difference,” Turner said.

Certainly, the taste of fresh island seafood is unique, and we need to do all we can to secure the supply of healthy, local seafood that has been a dietary staple for Pacific Islanders for centuries. For decades, CTSA has been supporting projects that help break through the bottlenecks and barriers inhibiting aquaculture development in the region. For example, nearly a decade of support for the ongoing Bivalves project helped ‘cut the red tape’ and make it legal to grow shellfish in Hawaiian waters once again. Hawaii’s bivalve industry is now one of the more promising areas of aquaculture; not only is oyster farming helping to catalyze restoration of ancient Hawaiian fishponds and cultural traditions, but it’s also having major impacts on west coast oyster farms. Due to increasing ocean acidification and other issues, most major west coast oyster operations now rely on seedstock from hatcheries located in Hawaii. CTSA is also supporting the establishment of a disease diagnostic lab at the University of Hawaii, which is offering critical disease pathology services to local producers. This is important work that helps local farmers, especially shrimp SPF broodstock producers, fulfill the regulations and requirements to sell their products.

In addition to supporting development through its projects, CTSA also gathers industry testimonies on the value and importance of aquaculture and submits them to U.S. Congress each year. CTSA will continue promoting aquaculture as a viable solution to several issues facing the Pacific Islands, from economic and food security to climate change mitigation, and will continue (and expand on) our work with the legislature on the local, regional and national levels to facilitate the growth of this important industry.

Jan 31, 2019

Regional e-Notes: January Letter from the Director

Aloha,

Yesterday we held our annual CTSA Board of Directors (BOD) meeting. I am happy to report that our entire Board was able to attend this year’s meeting. In addition to reviewing recently completed and ongoing CTSA projects, the Directors discussed and voted on the FY18 Plan of Work at the meeting. Per our standard procedure, CTSA will now forward the Board-approved Plan of Work, comprised of seven proposals, to NIFA for final approval. Another meeting accomplishment worth mentioning is that BOD members emphasized the importance of working together to sustainably drive aquaculture development in the region. I look forward to increasing our partnership with different institutions and researchers within and beyond our region. 

This year’s meeting was held just down the hall from our new office on the University of Hawaii campus in Manoa. In case you missed our big news during the last couple of months, we are now officially operating out of the CTAHR Agriculture Sciences building. My team and I are grateful to everyone who helped us make the transition from our longtime CTSA offices at the Oceanic Institute and in Gilmore Hall on the UH Manoa campus. I would like to thank the Oceanic Institute for serving as our host institution for the last 30 years. Moving three decades of materials is a challenging and bittersweet task that brought back fond memories of our years on the beautiful Makapu’u campus. From this point on, CTAHR will serve as our host institution; I extend our sincere appreciation to Dr. Comerford and all CTAHR colleagues who have helped to make this transfer as smooth as possible.

Looking to the future, we are excited for a productive 2019 and beyond in our UH home. We welcome aquaculture—and other industry—researchers and stakeholders to visit our office and share ideas about how we can all work together to grow our regional aquaculture industry and secure our future seafood supply.

As always, please feel free to send us your questions, comments and suggestions.

Mahalo,

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

Jan 25, 2019

CTSA 2018 Annual Accomplishment Report

The following 2-page summaries of CTSA projects that were active during 2018 are included in the Annual Accomplishment Report to the USDA. Please note: projects funded under the CTSA FY17 Plan of Work commenced recently and do not yet have significant findings to report; they are not included in this report.

CTSA 2018 Project Summaries - PDF

Dec 20, 2018

Happy Holidays from CTSA!

Nov 29, 2018

Regional e-Notes: November Letter from the Director

Aloha!

We here at CTSA hope you and your family had a joyous Thanksgiving holiday! In addition to being thankful for our loved ones, we are particularly thankful this year to see that one of the islands in our region is once again making bold strides in the global advancement towards a more sustainable world.

As you may have heard, Palau recently banned many types of sunscreen in a move to protect its coral reefs and other marine life. Last year when our CTSA team was visiting the island, its famous jellyfish lake was closed due to an alarming die-off of jellyfish. Resource managers concluded that sunscreen was partially to blame, and took action to close the lake until the jellyfish population was restored. This year, legislators took further action to ban harmful sunscreens and impose fines of up to $1,000 per violation. Palau was also the first country to ban commercial fishing in its EEZ, and established the world’s first shark sanctuary. In addition, the island nation’s ‘Climate Change Policy’ was the first of its kind in our region to address risks from and adapt to the expected widespread impacts of climate change.

Adaptation to climate change is something all Pacific Islands should be addressing now. According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II—recently published by the U.S. Global Change Research Program—“fisheries, coral reefs and the livelihoods they support are threatened by higher ocean temperatures and ocean acidification.” This Key Message from “Chapter 27 - Hawai’i and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands” highlights the importance of taking strong action to save our reefs and the fisheries they support. Coral reefs are a significant contributor to most Pacific Island economies; in Hawai’i alone, reefs contribute an estimated $477 million to the local economy every year. It is our hope that all of the islands in our region will take a proactive approach to ensure their safeguarding, just as Palau continues to do.

Palau and its people have depended on the ocean and its resources for centuries, and their inherent respect for the environment is evident in their policy-making. They are setting strong examples for others to follow in natural resource management, food security, ecotourism, and many other areas. CTSA is proud to partner with Palau on its incorporation of aquaculture into management plans, and will continue to celebrate the small island nation for it’s global environmental leadership. Stay tuned!

Mahalo,

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

Nov 23, 2018

CTSA Project Update: Producing Local Feed for Tilapia and Moi at the Hilo Feed Mill

Commercial aquaculture farmers in Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific islands are dependent on imported feeds to sustain their businesses, as there are currently no commercial feed mills in the region. This situation has created a huge financial burden to the farmers and has significantly limited the expansion of local agriculture and aquaculture to enhance food security and island sustainability. In an effort to address this issue, CTSA is supporting two ongoing projects to develop local feeds for tilapia and moi at the Oceanic Institute of Hawai’i Pacific University (OI) Feeds Research and Pilot Production Facility in Hilo, Hawaii.

The project “Development of Cost-Effective Aquatic Feeds Using Locally Sourced Ingredients” is aiming to produce practical extruded tilapia feeds at the newly-built feed mill in Hilo. The first steps of the project were to collect and analyze new local feed ingredients such as tuna fishmeal from America Samoa, defatted haematococcus, spirulina, corn, and coconut meal, and to procure low priced commercial feed ingredients such as soy bean meal and wheat flour (Tables 1 & 2). Researchers at University of Hawai’i at Hilo PACRC then utilized feed formulation software to formulate tilapia feeds based on the following criteria: 1) nutrient requirement of the target species; 2) nutritional quality of local ingredients; 3) unit price of protein and carbohydrate ingredients; and 4) requirements for practical feed processing.

Two tilapia feeds, Feed-1 and Feed-2 were formulated and prepared in Hilo (Table 3). Tilapia Feed-2 was formulated with high lipid content (~10%) since local tilapia farms like to increase fat content in their tilapia products. However, the lipid contents in processed tilapia diets were lower than formulated lipid contents, probably due to the coating process that did not bind all added oil to feed pellets. Half of the two feeds (one ton) were transported to OI for testing in the Makapu’u laboratory, where they are currently being compared to a commercial feed that is sold in local markets. Each of the three diets has been assigned three replicated tanks (2000L), and each tank has been stocked with 55 juvenile tilapia (~20g/each). The trial is not complete, but researchers have observed higher active eating among the tilapia in the local feed groups versus the commercial feed group. The remainder of the two feeds was sent to four farms (2 farms on the Big Island and 2 farms on Oahu) for comparison testing. The trials will be completed by the beginning of 2019; initial reports from the farmers are that tilapia like to eat the local diets very much, and farmers are interested in purchasing the products if the prices are comparable to commercial feeds. In addition, the American Samoa Community College is currently conducting a Nile tilapia feeding trial to compare OI tilapia feed with their own processed tilapia feed.

The research group experienced some challenges and delays, primarily related to the production equipment, technology, and manpower at the feed mill. For example, about half of the first feed pellets produced were sinking instead of floating, as required for tilapia diets. Earlier this year, OI brought in international feed extrusion expert Peter Hutchison from New Zealand to train its processing team, set up the production system, and adjust the control line. The team was finally able to produce feed pellets with 100% floating consistency, which is better than current commercial tilapia feed available in Hawaii Markets (floating pellets <90%).

Simultaneously alongside the tilapia project, researchers have been working on the project “Cost-effective, local aquatic feeds for carnivorous and omnivorous fish with varying physical characteristics.” Under this project, two moi diets have been formulated by Dr. Armando Garcia-Ortega with least-cost computer software for new Feed Mill processing, as shown in Table 3. The Moi feed Feed-1 and Moi Feed-2 were formulated with local feed ingredients and low-priced commercial feed ingredients. 

The OI finfish department had two successes hatching Moi larvae and growing them to juveniles. They also successfully tested shipment of moi juveniles to PACRC on the Big Island. The first time resulted in complete mortality, but the most recent shipment was successful and the fish are now growing to the appropriate size for trials. As soon as the fish average weight is around 60 g (within a few weeks), each diet will be tested in triplicate cages.

The outcomes of this research activities will directly and indirectly benefit local tilapia and moi farming, ingredient producers and the aquaculture industry. The information will also provide baseline methods for formulated feeds, feed processing and tilapia and moi culture in Hawaii and the Pacific region in the future. Production of local feeds will open the feed market to local industries including agriculture, biofuel and fisheries.

Oct 31, 2018

Regional e-Notes: October Letter from the Director

Aloha & Happy Halloween!

As revelers celebrate the traditions of this holiday, my team and I are “dusting off the cobwebs” persay as we box up our office and prepare to move our headquarters to the University of Hawaii Manoa campus.

As we prepare for our big move, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Oceanic Institute (OI) of Hawaii Pacific University for serving as CTSA’s primary host institution for the last three decades, and to the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resource (CTAHR) for supporting our program in this new chapter. I am also very grateful to Dr. Nicholas Comerford, the Dean of CTAHR and the Chair of CTSA Board of Directors, for his willingness to provide guidance and logistical assistance; he has been instrumental in facilitating our move. Keep an eye out for our interview with Dean Comerford in next month’s e-notes.

While it is bittersweet to leave OI after decades of housing our Center on its beautiful campus in windward Oahu, we are looking forward to expanding CTSA services at our lovely new office in the Agriculture Science building. Our new location on the UH campus will allow us to work closer with CTAHR and also take advantage of access to other departments that may be able to join forces for interdisciplinary research. I believe that both partnership and an integrated approach to new technology is the key to successful aquaculture development in the Pacific region.

Our Center has always been jointly administered by both OI and CTAHR, and we will continue to have a presence at the Institute. If you are on the UH campus, please stop by our new office for a visit!

Mahalo,

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

Oct 23, 2018

Reflecting on the Impacts of Aquaculture During National Seafood Month

National Seafood Month is an annual designation observed each October. This designation—originally created by congress decades ago—provides an opportunity for our industry to celebrate seafood and all of its numerous benefits to our health and economy.

Whether wild or farmed, seafood is a staple for many across the world. Globally, fish provides more than 3.1 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein, and 4.3 billion people with 15 percent of such protein. However, natural fisheries stocks throughout the world, including the U.S., are threatened by overfishing and statistics show that total production from capture fisheries worldwide may have reached maximal yield in 1996. FAO projects that in order to maintain the current level of per capita utilization, global aquaculture production will need to reach 80 million tons by 2050.

The U.S. aquaculture industry has grown steadily over the past decade, with nationwide production in 2016 reaching 444,369 tons. Comparatively, the top aquaculture producer in the world, China, generated 62.86 million tons (57.6 percent) of world aquaculture production of fish, crustaceans, mollusks and plants in 2016. Imports continue to supplement the seafood supply to U.S. consumers. According to NOAA Fisheries Fishery Statistics No. 2016-2, the U.S. seafood trade deficit surpassed the $10 billion mark for the first time in 2010 and reached $14.1 billion in 2016.

These statistics clearly support the suggestion made by the U.S. Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that further development of the U.S. aquaculture industry is in the national interest. Furthermore, as our world continues to change and the population increases, food safety, nutrition, environmental stewardship, and food security are becoming topics of great concern for Americans. A genuine interest in establishing a consistent, safe food supply with minimal environmental impact has emerged among the general public, and has been declared a priority by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Further development of sustainable domestic aquaculture production will improve the ability of our industry to supply American consumers with high-quality, safe, environmentally friendly, and affordable U.S. fish and shellfish.

In celebration of this year’s National Seafood Month, NOAA Fisheries has been highlighting the success stories behind U.S. seafood and the U.S. fishermen and fish farmers who make it possible. Click here to read more.

Oct 15, 2018

HSBIR Matching Fund application for Phase 2 & 3 open until Nov 30

The Hawaii Small Business Innovative Research (HSBIR) Matching Fund application for Phase 2 & 3 is now open until November 20, 2018.

The Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research program provides matching funds to help companies further the development of new products to solve critical issues. Up to $500,000 in matching funds may be awarded to companies receiving SBIR Phase 2 & 3 awards.

The Hawaii SBIR matching grant program is the longest state funded SBIR matching program in the United States.  Initially the grant program only funded companies that received Phase I grants. In 2016, the program was expanded to help companies who are moving their advanced technology products from research into the market.

HSBIR Matching Grant Program Guidelines:
▪ First time applicants will be given priority.
▪ Previously awarded companies who did not complete the HTDC Annual Impact Survey will not be considered for funding. Upon successful completion of the next Annual Impact Survey (next survey release is February 2019), company will then be eligible to apply for funding.
▪ Companies with more than one application must prioritize which project to be funded. Only one project will be funded per quarter unless there are remaining funds.
▪ Applications will close on November 20, 2018.

Click here for more information. For questions about SBIR, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Sep 30, 2018

Regional e-Notes: September Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As you are likely aware, the U.S. aquaculture industry has been a hot topic on Capitol Hill this year. From legislators and government agencies to industry stakeholders and trade groups, many are calling for concerted efforts to increase domestic aquaculture production.

Ramping up aquaculture production can help the U.S. reduce the seafood trade deficit and improve the economy through increased revenue and job creation. A key part of expanding domestic production will be opening more areas to farming. One area that holds great potential to sustainably produce more seafood is the EEZ. The U.S. has the second largest EEZ in the world with an area roughly 4.4 million square miles across three oceans, the Caribbean sea and the Gulf of Mexico. However, regulations for marine aquaculture have been an issue.

The Department of Commerce has clarified that they would like to see a one-stop-shop for aquaculture regulations. To address this, there is currently a bill—sponsored by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio—named the “Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act,” which calls for the creation of the Office of Marine Aquaculture within NOAA Fisheries. That office would oversee regulatory issues within NOAA and push for development opportunities to spur aquaculture’s growth, especially within the country’s exclusive economic zones.

While the proposed legislation is promising, a federal judge ruled last week that the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) does not have the authority to oversee fish pens in federal waters. If we are not able to streamline the regulatory process for U.S. marine aquaculture, can we reach our goals for more seafood? As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions.

Mahalo,

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

Sep 28, 2018

CTSA Project Summary: Improving Mangrove Crab Production in Palau

Farming the mangrove crab (Scylla serrata Forskall) has become popular in Palau due to its high market demand and lucrative price. Hatchery techniques have been successfully established through a mangrove crab seed production project funded by CTSA in recent years. However, production of juvenile crabs is insufficient to support the needs of the farmers. This is due, in large part, to low survival during the nursery phase of production, which is mostly a result of cannibalism. Cannibalism is likely caused by high stocking density, absence of shelter, elevated temperatures, or artificial diets. The recently completed one-year project “Improving nursery and grow-out culture of mangrove crab by minimizing cannibalism and developing feed supplements” aimed to address these issues.

The project was a joint effort between the Oceanic Institute (OI) of Hawaii Pacific University and the Palau Community College (PCC). The first objective of the project was to test the effects of different types of shelters on survival rates to market size for mangrove crab juveniles in grow-out facilities. Nursery rearing trials were conducted to evaluate the effect of using different shelter types and stocking densities on the growth and survival rate of mangrove crab juveniles using 15 units of 1ft x 2ft rectangular plastic containers for three weeks.  Four different types of shelters including: sand; sand + oyster shells; sand + spiral screens; and sand + black nettings; and a control (no substrate) in three replicate tanks were tested for 3 consecutive weeks. Results of this experiment revealed that the survival rate of mangrove crablets in all tanks decreased exponentially in each consecutive week of rearing due to cannibalism. No significant difference was observed on the survival rate of mangrove crablets in tanks without substrate and sand, while those that were reared in tanks with sand + oyster shells, sand + spiral screens, and black netting had a significantly better survival rate than the former. After trying several different substrates and types of shelter, the PCC team developed a sand + black netting shelter technique that increased mangrove crab survival.

The second objective of the project was to identify and secure local feed ingredients for nutritional analysis and prepare nutritive feed supplement pellets and a functional feed supplement to be applied to imported shrimp feeds. Five local feed ingredient samples including sardines, milkfish by-products, sea cucumbers, plant leaves and four samples of different kinds of aquaculture feeds available in Palau were collected and brought to the Oceanic Institute (OI) for nutritional analysis.  Four samples of mangrove crabs at different life stages (e.g. matured, megalopa and zoea larvae) were also brought for nutrient analysis of their nutrient requirements. The analyzed results for proximate contents showed in Table-1. The fish byproducts had high protein contents such as sardines (69.9%) and sea cucumber (69.1%); the two milkfish byproducts also had lipid contents (27.5% and 44.8%). Eleven commercial feed samples from Palau were also received and analyzed. All 9 feed ingredients and 11 commercial feeds have also been analyzed for their astaxanthin, cholesterol, water-soluble and fatty-soluble vitamins and mineral

The third and final objective of the project was to improve culture performance of juvenile mangrove crabs by combining imported shrimp feed with nutrient and functional feed supplements. Researchers first procured two important feed additives: mulberry leaf extract and astaxanthin. Local feeds in Palau are deficient of astaxanthin, as evident in the tank grown mangrove crabs, which have pale blue colored shells and when cooked, become orange in appearance. The lack of astaxanthin in diets could cause mangrove crabs to poorly deal with environmental stressors, generating commonly seen aggressive behavior that leads to increased mortality and reduced growth rate. Therefore, the astaxanthin feed supplement was included in diets for the feeding trial. Mulberry leaf extract has been reported to decrease cannibalism in mangrove crab, and was used in combination with astaxanthin in an attempt to reduce aggressive and cannibalistic behavior of mangrove crab.

Prawn feed and milkfish byproducts are typically used as mangrove crab feed in Palau’s aquaculture setups. Therefore, researchers prepared two feed supplements for them for the feeding trial at Palau Community college. Feed-supplement-1 and feed supplement were prepared respectively for prawn feed and milkfish byproduct according to their lack of vitamins and minerals, and feed additives including mulberry and astaxanthin were included for minimizing cannibalism and pigmentation purposes. 

A series of feeding trials was conducted. Five feeds were prepared for the feeding trial: prawn feed, prawn feed +feed supplement-1, milkfish byproduct, milkfish byproduct + feed supplement-2, and prawn feed+ milkfish byproduct. Each diet was set up with three repetitive tanks, and each tank was stocked with 15 juvenile mangrove crab. The test tanks were outfitted with black net shelter protection. However, each tank had only one surviving mangrove crab after the two month feeding trial. It was observed that crabs fought each other until the last survivor. This suggests that the net shelter could not prevent their fighting and the mulberry feed additive could not stop their cannibalism.  Therefore, a second feeding test was conducted with 20 tanks; each tank was stocked with only one mangrove crab and each diet had four repetitive tanks. Eight weeks of growth results are showed in Table-2. It can be seen that two feed supplements significantly increased the growth rates. The combination of half milkfish byproduct and half prawn feed achieved the best growth rate. This has led researchers to encourage farmers to feed crabs a mixture of fresh milkfish byproduct and commercial prawn feed to obtain higher growth rates and higher profits.

Detailed results from this project including additional tables and figures will be included in the forthcoming CTSA 2018 Annual Accomplishment report. If you would like to obtain the information prior to December, please contact CTSA or the project PI Dr. Zhi Ju.

Sep 20, 2018

NIFA Listens: An Initiative Seeking Stakeholder Input

NIFA is requesting stakeholder input related to the challenges, priorities and needed breakthroughs in food and agricultural sciences through the “NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives,” initiative.

Four in-person listening sessions, in combination with an online stakeholder input form, will offer stakeholders opportunities to provide feedback to the following questions:

    - What is the greatest challenge that should be addressed through NIFA’s research, education, and extension programs?
        - In your field, what is the most-needed breakthrough in science/technology that would advance your agricultural enterprise?
            - What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that NIFA should address?


          NIFA has created a website filled with all the resources for stakeholders to learn about and participate in this effort, including the Federal Register Notice, Press Release, and a Fact Sheet.

          In 2017, NIFA Listens’ pilot year, focused on gathering the top priorities in agricultural research, extension, and education and which science opportunities NIFA should focus on. Stakeholders provided feedback that demonstrates the interconnectedness of agricultural production, ecological, social, economic, and technical challenges that face agriculture and the interdependence between research, extension, and education. The information gathered helped NIFA to prioritize work within and across science emphasis areas, as well as identify gaps in programming. In-person meeting transcripts and the report are available on the NIFA Listens 2017 webpage.

Aug 31, 2018

Regional e-Notes: August Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As you may know, a major hurricane was forecasted to hit the Hawaiian islands last week. Thankfully, it shifted direction and we were spared a direct hit. However, in the days leading up to the anticipated arrival of the storm, fears about food security became a major topic of discussion. In the remote Pacific islands, the impact of storms can be felt for a long time. Not only do we almost completely depend on the imported goods that arrive by boat, but storms can impact our farmlands and fishing waters, disrupting the local food production we do have in place.

Unfortunately, climate change is intensifying storms across the globe. It’s also raising water temperatures, forcing the northern migration of some species typically only found in the Pacific Islands. Pelagic fish like tuna might eventually be found at higher latitudes, further impacting the availability of fish in our region. In short, there are many factors in our ever-changing world that are affecting the islands’ reliance on natural resources particularly seafood. If we cannot get the food we want or need from the ocean, culturing it ourselves will become the only option. As I have mentioned in a previous newsletter, it is time for us to broaden the definition of aquaculture.

Increased collaboration between the aquaculture and fisheries industries—and the integration of management strategies—can help our environment mitigate and/or recover from some of its stressors. At the same time, we all need to our parts as a society to decrease global warming. The future of the planet is in our hands, and I am hopeful that we can and will make a difference if we work together. As the African proverb states, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Mahalo,

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

Aug 20, 2018

Challenges and Opportunities in the Development of Offshore Aquaculture in the Pacific Islands

Written by James McVey

I was asked, as part of our CTSA project on evaluating the feasibility of offshore cage culture of the grouper P. leopardus, to tell the story of how we got to this point in development of larger scale fish culture for the Pacific Islands.  After a nearly 50 year career working in marine science and aquaculture technologies in the Trust Territory, NOAA’s Aquaculture programs in the South East US, and 22 years in the National Sea Grant College Program I realize that these stories are not short term but indeed span decades. Therefore I am going to go back to the beginning.

Marine Aquaculture had been developing in the previous Trust Territory of the Pacific since the middle 1970’s when the Marine Resources Division of the Trust Territory obtained funds for a marine aquaculture hatchery from the Japanese government as a part of the World War II reparations.  I was the Fisheries Biologist working along with Peter Wilson, Chief of Marine Resources at that time and we developed a proposal for $1 million dollars for the construction of a hatchery in Palau that was to be called the Micronesian Mariculture Demonstration Center.  This was in response to the rapidly declining wild fisheries due to over exploitation throughout the Trust Territory. The MMDC and later the Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center was the first laboratory to successfully raise a commercial coral reef species, Siganus fuscescens, for aquaculture or stocking purposes.  The MMDC, under the guidance of Gerald Heslinga in the 1980s also pioneered the culture of all 7 species of giant clams that are now being cultured throughout the Pacific.

In the intervening years, NOAA, through the National Sea Grant College Program, The Department of Interior, Office of Territorial Affairs, and USDA, through the Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture (CTSA), continued support of aquaculture research and development in the Pacific Islands.  In 1986, when the Trust Territory was discontinued, these agencies still supported development of marine aquaculture in the Pacific Islands.

Sea Grant’s research programs, from the mid 90’s on, supported several programs to evaluate both offshore or open ocean aquaculture and the use of marine recirculating systems on land as the most sustainable technologies for the future.  This focus was established by having many national and international technical symposia focused on these topics. The offshore technology was generally favored by industry because of the high costs of land and electricity in onshore facilities and high risk of disease issues in closed systems.  However, offshore systems have their own costs and problems of cages, boats, storms, trained labor (divers) as well as hatchery costs that are also required in onshore systems.  We were able to develop hatchery systems and protocols for several new marine species such as mutton snapper, cobia, Pacific threadfin (MOI), amberjack, Nassau grouper and pompano among others.  In the meantime Asia, especially China, Japan and Korea, were moving ahead on a broad spectrum of species and technologies for marine aquaculture and Sea Grant, USDA and the NMFS had active Aquaculture technical exchange programs with these countries. 

A highlight of this activity was a critical meeting in 2006 between all the major Asian Countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan,  Viet Nam, the US, Canada, Chile, and Sweden. The theme of the meeting was Aquaculture and Ecosystems: An Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management Approach.  This meeting was significant in helping to identify the role of aquaculture in future ecosystem management that considers the possibility of a balanced approach to ecosystem management and economic development that includes aquaculture.  One paragraph of the report is worth repeating here: “ To manage coastal systems in an ecologically balanced way, we must understand and utilize the natural functions of both cultured and wild species so that energy flow and distribution of nutrients is managed through biological activity, as well as by engineering solutions. Modeling and managing these relationships in the context of hydrographic and environmental conditions found in the different regional contexts is our challenge and obligation.”

The above foundation work resulted in science and technology that allowed us to think about applying this to the Pacific Islands that were in desperate need of sea food supplies for food security and export income from their valuable marine species such as groupers, snappers, amberjacks, while maintaining their environmental appeal to tourists.

After retirement from the National Sea Grant College Program in 2006 I helped co-found Indigo Seafood with a businessman, Dr. James Sanderson, who wanted to form a company that focused on exactly what all these meetings were focused on.  After looking in the Caribbean and Hawaii, we decided to go back to where these ideas all started, which was Palau where the new President Thomas Remengesau was working on setting aside coral reef sanctuaries, had ceased exporting reef fish to international markets, and was looking at aquaculture to develop export markets for Palau products. 

Indigo Seafood, working with the Palau Aquaculture Cooperative Association (PACA), a non profit organization of giant clam farmers and others with an interest in aquaculture, received funding from the UN’s South Pacific Communities Directorate for two offshore, submersible cages for testing the feasibility of grouper culture in Palau.  This resulted in two 212 m3 cages installed in 100 feet of water two miles offshore of Airai bay on the big Island of Babelthuap in Palau in 2016.

This accomplishment was only possible because of 6 years of preparation and work on obtainment of all the government permits and leases to do business in Palau.  Here is the timeline of what was required for all the various permits:

    Incorporation:  Time to acquire: 1 year Foreign Investment Certificate:  2 years Contract with small hatchery:  3 years to acquire.  Hatchery turned out to be very limited because of misrepresentation by owners who planned on selling to a hotel developer, forcing us out. Ocean lease for cages:  This took over 3 years to acquire. Environmental Assessment and approvals in order to utilize ocean lease: an additional 2 years Ocean lease area had to be reclassified to commercial purposes:  Took an additional 2 years.

Doing business in Island communities is not easy and it is essential to become a welcome component of the community. Many smaller set backs occurred that were difficult to plan for: this included: Theft of materials in storage,  night time vandalism of cages, 2 sunken boats with expensive repairs, difficulty obtaining fingerlings from local and international hatcheries.  Difficulty with reproduction and also with transportation.  Very expensive testing and transportation costs, disease of fingerlings from local hatchery, causing over 70% mortality in first 75 grouper fingerlings. 

Present status
During 2017 PACA/ Indigo received a small grant from CTSA to test the culture of the grouper P. Leopardus, the leopard Grouper, in our cages on the ocean lease. We were to test the effects of density on growth rate of this valuable species.  The juveniles were to come from either the Palau Community College Hatchery in Palau or from the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii. We hired divers, outfitted two boats, bought feeds, purchased nursery nets but we were only able to get 75 juvenile grouper from the PCC hatchery.  We stocked the nursery net in only one cage to see how this limited number of grouper would adapt to the offshore conditions.  We also had access to a few thousand rabbitfish, that we planned to use to help clean the cages clear of fouling and we stocked them outside of the nursery net in the grouper cage.  The rabbitfish did a great job keeping the cage clean and adapting to the feeds we provided to round out their nutrition.  The grouper exhibited lesions on their skin that apparently came with them from the Palau hatchery and they did not adapt well to the high protein feed we had obtained from Taiwanese supplier.  Grouper suffered a constant level of mortality until there were only 17 left.  They attained a maximum size of only 15 cm and 100 grams in the time period from July 2017 to March 22, 2018 with the average size of 62 grams in that time period.  Average water temperature during this time was 82 degrees F.

However, we did learn that both the grouper and rabbitfish had no trouble coping with the currents, waves, and temperatures in the commercial cages.

About 3,000, certified disease free grouper juveniles were received from the Oceanic Institute hatchery in Hawaii over the last two weeks of July 2018. The fingerlings were placed in our new nursery net within cage number 1. The plan was to split them into two cages to have 2,000 in cage 1 and 1,000 in cage two for density studies; however, our nursery net was recently compromised and we lost fish.

The cost of producing the juvenile groupers in Hawaii, obtaining all the disease free certifications, paying the air freight and having the uncertainty of shipping survival (We lost the first shipment in July because of flight cancellations) make obtaining juveniles from Hawaii not commercially sustainable in the long run. At this time our average cost is at least $6 a fingerling.  It is imperative that Palau has a fully operating marine fish hatchery and certified supply of grouper fingerlings if high value coral reef species are to be produced through aquaculture.

We are hoping to obtain additional funding to operate our testing of density on grouper growth under commercial level production in 2018/19. Our funds for operation have been exhausted during our operation in 2017/18. We are continuing to work with Oceanic Institute for any additional grouper fingerlings as the new Palau Mariculture upgrade is being finished. 

Our long term goal remains to develop a multi-trophic aquaculture system that produces high value coral reef species of fish, algae and filter feeding species that results in a balanced ecosystem approach to coastal management on Pacific Islands. This fits exactly with the Republic of Palau’s Coastal Zone Management plan and CTSA’s vision of bringing grouper culture to Palau.  This proof of concept can only be done on a scale large enough to prove commercial viability and the partnership of PACA and Indigo are the only players in the Pacific Islands that can demonstrate this offshore system at this time.

It is critical that the private sector be involved with the production side of this technology for the future.  This will require clear guidelines and designated aquaculture zones that fit in with the present marine sanctuary areas and expanding tourist facilities of Pacific Islands.

Jul 31, 2018

Regional e-Notes: July Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As you know, a common theme of my monthly messages and a focus of the work coming out of our Center is the reduction of waste. Upon reading through the recently released SOFIA report from the FAO, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the global seafood supply chain is working together to simultaneously increase supply and reduce waste.

According to the report, we now have more seafood available for consumers than in previous years. The majority of the increase is due to a bump in aquaculture production, but a significant portion is due to a decrease in waste. The category of non-food uses of total available seafood from both aquaculture and capture fisheries has decreased from 15.6% in 2011 to 11.5% in 2016. In addition, the commercial fishing industry has taken measures to reduce by-catch while the aquaculture industry has increased opportunities to utilize by-catch. For example, the CTSA-funded project working to establish marine finfish production in the Marshall Islands has developed a feed that includes by-catch as a primary source of protein.

As the global seafood industry continues to grow and change, we may want to broaden our definition of aquaculture to include reducing harvest waste from both aquaculture and fisheries. I believe if and when we do this, the picture will become clear that aquaculture can be and already is one of the most sustainable ways to produce protein for our growing global population. Furthermore, focusing our efforts on working together to reduce waste will not only protect the environment but will also help to reduce hunger - the primary purpose of our food production industries.

Mahalo,

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

Jul 30, 2018

Midyear Updates on CTSA Rabbitfish and Fungal Feed Projects

Each year, CTSA-funded projects are required to submit a midterm report and an annual progress report on the status of their work. In addition to and coinciding with these reports, CTSA staff holds bi-annual conference calls with each PI and the corresponding project industry liaison. This combination of reports and conference calls twice per year help us gain a more thorough understanding of the status, opportunities and challenges of each project.  The following are updates on three of our ongoing projects, compiled using data from both the midterm reports and conference calls:

Rabbitfish

At Palau Community College, researchers continue to improve their larval rearing of rabbitfish under the project “Improving Rabbitfish Seed Production Capacity in Palau.” During the most recent reporting period, PCC developed an easier way of collecting eggs and established more effective intubation of eggs. They have also improved survival by establishing a better protocol for rotifer larval feeding, and now feed with rotifers up to 21 days. The research team has had to mitigate a parasite outbreak at day 15 due to pressure in the water filter bag, which caused mass mortality - they now treat the water and have experienced less of a challenge. During the project conference call, the PI advised that he will implement ideas to continue improving survival rate (currently at 10%, up from 1.5%). Currently, aside from 73,000 fry, there are also about 12,000 fingerlings (total length-1 inch) that are being reared in the nursery tanks at the PCC hatchery.  These fingerlings will be ready for distribution to new farms this summer. As of June 2018, about 7,500 rabbitfish (Siganus lineatus) juveniles have been delivered to a five newly established rabbitfish floating cage farms located in the States of Koror, Ngiwal and Melekeok.  Aside from providing free rabbitfish juveniles to farmers, PCC-CRE also provides technical assistance by giving advice on proper husbandry, feeding management and monitoring of environmental parameters in their farms.

In the Marshall Islands, the project “Development of Marine Finfish Aquaculture, Aquatic Feeds, and Training in the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) for Sustainability and Food Security,” now in its third year, is also focusing on aquaculture of rabbitfish. The lead researcher is continuing his efforts to achieve a successful hatchery trial on Rabbitfish, and is currently collecting and conditioning additional broodstock for this purpose. The existing broodstock is producing eggs on a monthly cycle. At the time of the project conference call, the group was expecting a new batch of eggs and the ability to restock the cages in 45 days. The goal is to stock the cages to conduct a growout trial, beginning later this summer. To date, two farmers have agreed to be in charge of the production cages, and the project is still looking for two additional farmers to assist. The farmers are responsible for all maintenance of the 15x15x10 cages stocked with 1,400 juveniles, while Ryan provides them with the fish and feed. If the farmers in charge of the cages do well, they will be given a portion of the fish and the opportunity to manage a larger cage. During the project update conference call, the lead researcher shared that the vision for this phase of the project is for both ATMI and private farmers to take over the facilities once CTSA funding support comes to a completion.

A joint project between the University of Hawaii and Oceanic Institute of HPU continues to investigate the “Utilization of local agri-processing by-products to produce fungal protein for aquatic feed production.” The UH research team has successfully scaled up production of the fungal biomass to 20L bioreactor scale, and is currently designing a total-capacity 50L bioreactor utilizing 5 different 10L vessels simultaneously. At the onset of the project, researchers were focused on using molasses as a substrate. However, the closure of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. has forced the research group to investigate other local agriculture byproducts that could be used. They are currently using commercially available molasses but the growth characteristics of fungal biomass have changed drastically. In a 2.5L bioreactor, the production rate has dropped six-fold and in a 20L bioreactor, the drop has been tenfold. The researchers will need to find a more suitable medium—such as okara, soy whey, vinasse, or beer waste—from local sources to maintain stable fungal biomass medium. The UH lab is now looking into using waste from tofu production (which is available in abundance), and advised during the project conference call that they have begun testing fungal production with soya whey. The yield has been an average of 29 g/L vs. the 10 g/L yield achieved with molasses. The lab will look into brewery waste next, and sweet potato is another potential that has not yet been investigated. According to analysis from OI, the fungal biomass ingredient has sufficient protein at 40% (although the most recent samples only contained 20% protein). A shrimp digestibility trial will take place in Fall 2018 once the UH team has been able to produce a sufficient amount of the biomass for inclusion in feed formulations.

Jul 27, 2018

Upcoming ‘Grower Training’ and ‘Aquaponics’ Courses

The Washington State University and University of Idaho School of Food Science will host two courses this fall. The “Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course” will be on September 24, and the “Aquaponics and Intensive Containerized Hydroponics: Regulatory and Technical Considerations” course will be September 25-26.

Click here for additional information (pdf)

Jul 26, 2018

NAA Survey for U.S. Fish Farmers on Unmet Medication and Vaccine Needs

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA), as a member of the Aquatic Drug Approval Coalition, would like to survey and assess the current and future unmet medication and vaccine needs for U.S. fish farmers.

Although several new medications have been added to the aquaculture “medicine chest” over the past 10 years, the number of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved fish medications is still very limited.  As certain priority medications have been approved for specific claims, collaborative research efforts have shifted to reflect new priorities - including generating data to support new approvals, identifying emerging disease issues for which treatment options are currently limited or non-existent, and seeking approval for non-therapeutics such as those used for skeletal marking, spawning, sex reversal, and fish sedation/anesthesia.

Results from this survey will be used to 1) establish medication and vaccine priorities and direction of effort; 2) engage with current sponsors or find new medication or vaccine sponsors as needed; and 3) generate data to support new approvals or new (expanded) claims for medications that are currently approved.  Survey answers will be strictly confidential, and no personal, farm, or organization information will be divulged.  A survey summary will be announced when the information is compiled.

Click here to download the Introduction to the Survey (pdf)
Click here to download the Survey (pdf)

NAA would greatly appreciate participation by all fish farmers. To answer questions or comment on the survey, please contact the NAA office at 850-216-2400 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jul 18, 2018

Seminar: Establishing Sea Cucumber and Pearl Oyster Hatchery Production and Farming

CTSA and the Oceanic Institute of HPU are excited to welcome sea cucumber and pearl oyster aquaculture expert Masahiro Ito to Oahu for his free seminar on ‘Establishing Sea Cucumber and Pearl Oyster Hatchery Production and Farming in the Pacific Islands.’

Tuesday, August 1, 2018
Starting at 1pm
Oceanic Institute Learning Center, Waimanalo

The one-day seminar at OI is open to the public and will include detailed presentations and technology transfer on sea cucumber and pearl oyster aquaculture. It will be followed by a closed workshop to establish sea cucumber hatchery production at OI as part of the ongoing CTSA-supported IMTA project.

Masahiro Ito has served as the Principal Investigator of CTSA-supported projects to establish sea cucumber and black-lip pearl oyster aquaculture in the Federated States of Micronesia. Under his guidance, the College of Micronesia hatchery began producing and providing seedstock for local pearl and sea cucumber farms, including three community-run farms he helped to establish. He has also led extensive training for more than fifty Micronesian technicians in hatchery technology, husbandry, pearl grafting, and accessory making. In 2015 Ito-san relocated from the FSM back to his home in Australia, but regularly travels to the Pacific Island region to conduct intensive training workshops.

Please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to register for this FREE seminar or with any questions. A comprehensive sea cucumber hatchery manual will be released at the event and provided to participants.

Jun 30, 2018

Regional e-Notes: June Letter from the Director

Aloha,

Our Industry Advisory Council and Technical Committee held their annual meeting yesterday to discuss the pre-proposals CTSA received in response to our FY18 request. I am happy to report that the meeting went well and that our group had thorough, lively discussions about each of the proposed projects. CTSA will now request full proposals from the pre-proposals that the group selected to move forward.

As I have expressed before, I am grateful to our dedicated groups of stakeholders who work together each year to put forth plans of work that address important issues and needs in our region. Our members understand that their thorough analysis of each pre-proposal and selection of meaningful projects is critical to the success of our program.

At yesterday’s meeting, pre-proposal selection criteria was an important topic of discussion. I encouraged our members to focus on supporting projects that will help our existing industries, as well as projects that will lead to the establishment of new industries and/or clear the roadblocks for industry development. In addition, the IAC and TC looked for opportunities to provide modest investments in support of creative ideas that may lead to valuable new technology.

I look forward to seeing the final package we put together during this development cycle, and as always welcome your comments and suggestions on the best way to meet our program goals.

Mahalo,

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

Jun 29, 2018

Register Now for CTSA Seminar on ‘Sea Cucumber & Blacklip Pearl Oyster Aquaculture’

CTSA is excited to welcome sea cucumber and pearl oyster expert Masahiro Ito to Oahu this summer! On Tuesday August 1, Ito-san will present his work during a seminar at the Oceanic Institute (OI) of Hawaii Pacific University in Waimanalo.

Ito-san has served as the Principal Investigator of several CTSA projects to establish sea cucumber and blacklip pearl oyster aquaculture in the Federated States of Micronesia. Under his guidance, the College of Micronesia hatchery began producing and providing seedstock for local pearl and sea cucumber farms, including three community-run farms he helped to establish. He has also led extensive training for more than fifty Micronesian technicians in hatchery technology, husbandry, pearl grafting, and accessory making. In 2015 Ito-san relocated from the FSM back to his home in Australia, but regularly travels to the Pacific Island region to conduct intensive training workshops.

The one day seminar at OI is open to the public and will include detailed presentations and technology transfer on sea cucumber and pearl oyster aquaculture. It will be followed by a closed workshop to establish sea cucumber hatchery production at OI as part of the ongoing CTSA-supported IMTA project.

If you are interested in attending the free seminar or learning more about the workshop, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for additional details.

Jun 28, 2018

US Aquaculture Stakeholder Input and Listening Sessions - USDA ARS and NIFA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Aquaculture National Program 106 and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) are interested in obtaining stakeholder input towards establishing aquaculture research and extension priorities to be addressed in their respective programs over the next five years. 

The first step in this process is collecting vital information and expert opinions from you, our stakeholders, customers, and partners on how Federal investments can best address current needs and challenges facing aquaculture production and health.  Ultimately, this information will provide the framework for developing the next ARS National Program Action Plan and will assist NIFA in programming and directing research and extension activities. Information describing these programs can be found at these links for ARS and NIFA; a summary of 2013 listening sessions can be found here.

The USDA is inviting input from diverse aquaculture stakeholders in the United States on what USDA can do better to perform research on critical challenges and achieve new opportunities in commercial aquaculture.

The following dates and times are scheduled for online sessions pertaining to research and extension for different species, all are welcome to participate in any or all of the sessions:
July 24, 2018, 1 pm -4 pm (EDT): Salmonids
July 25, 2018, 1 pm - 4 pm (EDT): Catfish
July 26, 2018, 1 pm - 4 pm (EDT): Freshwater Finfish
August 14, 2018, 1 pm - 4 pm (EDT): General Aquaculture
August 15, 2018, 1 pm - 4 pm (EDT): Molluscan Shellfish
August 16, 2018, 1 pm - 4 pm (EDT): Production Systems

Information will be distributed prior to the week of the sessions via email on connecting to the web-conference, and options for submitting input by email for persons who are unable to participate in the online session(s).

If you are interested in providing feedback in one or more of the webinar sessions, please register by contacting Loren Coleman at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jun 22, 2018

USDA Approves CTSA FY17 Plan of Work, New Projects Set to Begin Shortly

The USDA recently approved the FY2017 Plan of Work, which includes funding for eight new projects and the continuation of the CTSA Information Services project.

The overall goals of the project “Developing Bivalve Farming in Hawaii, Years 6 to 8” are to develop methods to guide efforts to produce improved lines of tetraploid and triploid oysters and determine whether simple carbohydrate-based microparticulate diets represent a viable means of reducing reliance on large-scale microalgae production for land-based oyster fattening and similar systems. Oyster farms around the world increasingly depend on genetically selected triploid seed, if it can be obtained. The Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, is the most commonly farmed oyster and most national industries now rely on this species. Triploids are preferred due to faster growth rates but most importantly, because they can be harvested during warm water months when diploids are either spawning or are flaccid after spawning. New Hawai`i farms will also depend on triploids, and also require larger seed since most do not have nurseries. These needs have directed the PACRC collaborative research with partners on improving hatchery and nursery methods, as well as breeding and polyploid development efforts. Another impediment to further developing bivalve culture in Hawai`i, but also increasingly in other areas is the lack of land-based systems for oyster growout.  While the concept of land-based systems for bivalve growout is not new, further research and development is required to make these less dependent on costly and often unreliable microalgae production, among other issues. These two areas of work will contribute significantly to moving oyster culture forward, not only in Hawai`i, but also at a national level. Improving the understanding of polyploid genetics and the consequences of various approaches to breeding will prevent costly mistakes in breeding and farming programs. It may also provide insights into still unknown areas of oyster biology such as control of sexual differentiation and reproductive strategies. Increasing options for land-based production systems through partial replacement of microalgae as the sole feed source will also benefit nearly all farmers who use some version of a land-based system (e. g. conditioning systems, remote setting operations) and present new options to those who wish to engage in bivalve farming of any kind, particularly in Hawai`i.

The new project “Aquaculture Workshop at Oceanic Institute for Students of Waianae High School’s Aquaculture Program, Years 1 and 2” will aim to inspire students to consider a career in aquaculture or related field and provide them with information about how educational choices can help them fulfill those career aspirations. According to an article in Aquaculture North America (Orlowski, Aaron 2017), the aquaculture industry faces, among other things, a critical “shortage of educated, skilled workers.” When coupled with an aging existing workforce, the lack of new workers further threatens the United States’ ability to take advantage of the opportunities the growth of the industry presents. The project will help with the shortage of educated and skilled workers by encouraging local students to pursue science education, consider jobs in the aquaculture industry, and/or contribute to the research needed to advance the industry in the US. Through this project the WHS MSLC students will participate in two annual three-day workshops at OI, one in 2019 and one in 2020. In year 2, the workshop will be opened up to students from other schools that have the same aquaculture background as the WHS MSLC students up to a maximum of 45 total participants. In addition, the project will serve as a platform for teaching next-generation aquafarmers science-based solutions to challenges facing the aquaculture industry today and tomorrow.

The goal of the project “Opihi Aquaculture, Years 5 and 6: Improving Hatchery Technology and Production” is to successfully rear ‘opihi for aquaculture production. The aquaculture of ‘opihi ‘alinalina, the yellowfoot limpet Cellana sandwicensis, has been in research and development phase for approximately 4 years under CTSA. Of the three Hawaiian limpets (Cellana spp.), yellowfoot limpet is most abundant on the market due to consumer preferences, however, this does not necessarily mean they are most abundant in the wild. In fact, finding yellowfoot limpet along Oahu’s intertidal shoreline is rare, and populations are seemingly unable to rebound with current management and commercial/recreational pressures. The research group’s current efforts in Opihi aquaculture research have engineered an aquaculture system that maintains necessary intertidal stimulus (sea spray), formulated feeds that support good, long-term growth, and the development of captive maturation, spawning, and larval rearing methodologies. These recent improvements have increased the capacity to close the life cycle of ‘opihi. The current project will conduct trials in an effort to improve hatchery technology and increase juvenile survival rate. With adjustments in settlement tank design, researchers are confident that survival of the very first captive bred, F1 generation is well within reach. Moreover, the group will determine grow-out time to market size and produce a tangle business plan for economic evaluation. The completed manual for yellowfoot limpet production will also be available to persons interested in adopting this technology, with transfer of technology through coordinated workshops, as proposed.

The overall goal of the project “A Shrimp Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for Hawaii” is to create a USDA-approved laboratory to conduct testing for the thirteen current diseases (OIE-listed and other) that shrimp broodstock producers are required to test for. Hawaii’s shrimp producers export specific-pathogen-free (SPF) broodstock valued at over $20 million each year. The receiving countries require that the health-status of these shrimp be documented by testing using methods approved by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Currently, there is only one laboratory located on the mainland that can perform this type of official testing, which is an inherent vulnerability of the current system that could result in delayed testing and possible disruption in services. This project proposes to remedy this by establishing a laboratory in Hawaii that can perform the necessary testing to meet the needs of shrimp broodstock exporters. This laboratory will be capable of a quicker turnaround time than the mainland laboratory due to shorter shipping time and will be responsive to the individual needs of the submitters. Upon receiving all necessary approvals, this laboratory will provide official testing for the OIE-listed shrimp diseases on a user-fee basis to Hawaii shrimp producers. This laboratory will also have the ability to develop additional testing capabilities to respond to the changing needs of shrimp exporters and the emergence of new shrimp pathogens. Shrimp producers in Hawaii will have access to a reliable local laboratory that is committed to meeting their needs. The goal is to have this laboratory be financially-self-sustaining after 12 months of CTSA support and to be able to provide reliable, accurate, and timely service to the Hawaii shrimp broodstock industry, thereby safeguarding the industry’s continued success.

In a different lab at the University of Hawaii, the project “Improving Cost-effectiveness of Producing Local Aquatic Feed from Papaya Fruit Wastes via Innovative Bioprocessing, Years 1 and 2” will conduct a small-scale feasibility study of enriching papaya fruit wastes with protein-rich yeast and autolysate derived from the yeast, as protein/amino acid supplements in local aquaculture feed, using a low-cost semi-solid state fermentation method. Availability of affordable feed is a major challenge facing regional aquaculture development. Solutions to this challenge will likely come from using locallyavailable ingredients. One of the most costly ingredients in aquaculture feed is protein. The proposed research seeks to overcome technical bottlenecks that hamper cost-effective utilization of papaya culls, an abundant local agricultural byproduct, for producing nutritional single cell proteins as a renewable protein source to replace costly conventional protein ingredients in aquaculture feed like fishmeal and soymeal. The main questions researchers would like to answer are the following: First, what will be required for minimum processing of the papaya fruit culls to support active yeast growth? Second, how much yeast biomass and protein can be produced using minimally processed papaya culls as carbon source under semi-SSF after optimization? Third, will the yeast/papaya biomass and yeast autolysate produced under the proposed condition serve as useful protein ingredients/supplements in aquaculture feed? The research outcomes will benefit CTSA regional aquaculture by lowering feed costs and providing a sustainable source of essential nutritional and beneficial feed supplements, while reducing agro wastes.

The overall goal of the project “Improving the commercial aquaculture feasibility for Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens): Resolving early bottlenecks to improve culture yield, Years 1 to 3” is to improve the survival of Yellow Tang larvae during critical periods in development in an effort to increase the final yield of juveniles produced. Specifically, the high mortality at bottlenecks occurring around Day 7 and between Days 30-40 post-hatch will be addressed.  If successful, this improved production efficiency should lead to commercial production of this, and related, marine ornamental species. Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) is the most heavily collected reef species from Hawaii with nearly 300,000 fish being removed from reefs annually for the aquarium trade. Recent legislation in Hawaii has temporally suspended the collection of aquarium species, pending the completion of a comprehensive environmental impact study. Therefore, this highly popular, and iconic, species will (at least for the foreseeable future) need to be obtained from aquacultured sources. For the first time, the culture of Yellow Tang was shown to be technically possible, and this achievement provided significant hope that many other reef species might also be able to be cultured using similar methods.  Over the past two years, this has indeed been shown to be the case, with dozens of new species being cultured by facilities around the world owing in large part to the technical achievements (the barriers being broken down) by OI. Through prior research, OI has identified key bottlenecks to overcome in an effort to maximize the likelihood of commercial adoption. This project will focus on improving the survival of Yellow Tang larvae to day 7 post hatch (first bottleneck) as well as increase survival post flexion (day 30-40 post hatch), as these two periods represent the highest cumulative mortality during culture. By focusing our efforts on reducing mortality at these specific stages, significant improvement in final yield of juveniles will be achieved, thus greatly improving overall production efficiency. 

In a different department at Oceanic Institute, the project “Culture of a Local Marine Polychaete, Marphysa sanguinea, for Use as a Shrimp Maturation Feed, Years 3 and 4” will aim to further the prospects of commercial M. sanguinea production for use as a shrimp maturation feed. It is estimated that >10,000 kg of frozen marine polychaetes are imported into Hawaii annually to support shrimp breeding activities (cost >$400,000 per year). The primary sources are wild-caught Glycera dibranchiata from Maine, USA (~$50/kg including freight) and cultured Nereis virens from the Netherlands (cost ~$33/kg). Major shrimp farms in Asia and Central America typically use live wild-caught and/or locally cultured polychaetes. These worms are much cheaper, but are not a viable alternative to imported, frozen worms for Hawaii hatcheries due to biosecurity risks posed by viral pathogens. With funding from CTSA, Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University (OI) researchers have collected and evaluated several local polychaete species for their aquaculture potential and use as a shrimp maturation feed. M. sanguinea was selected for culture based on its large size (up to 25 cm), high palatability to P. vannamei broodstock, high survival in culture, and its acceptable to excellent biochemical composition (with regards to shrimp nutrition/maturation). Basic culture techniques have been developed and culture densities of 4,000-13,000 worms/m3 have been achieved. Furthermore, a large captive breeding population, which is free of all major shrimp pathogens, is currently being maintained at OI. This new project will continue funding to (1) demonstrate commercial-scale production of M. sanguinea, (2) document shrimp reproductive performance when fed M. sanguinea and compare this performance to shrimp reproductive performance when fed frozen, imported worms, (3) further develop culture techniques for this species, and (4) to disseminate research findings to support future research and/or commercialization efforts.

The overall goal of the project “Development of a Sustainable Aquaculture and Fishery for the Mangrove Crab Scylla serrata Forskal, Years 4 and 5” is to improve hatchery production of mangrove crabs in Palau. The mangrove crab is considered a delicacy in most of the small island countries like Palau, however, becoming depleted due to years of overharvesting to satisfy continually increasing demands from tourism and population growth. Developing aquaculture for mangrove crab has been considered a solution to enhance the wild population and provide a continuous supply to the local market. Success in the hatchery production of crablets has been demonstrated recently, however, despite of this development, mangrove crab farming in Palau has not yet been established. This is due to the inconsistent production and limited supply of juveniles that farmers needed to stock in their grow-out pens and cages. Some of the problems that were encountered in the seed production of mangrove crabs include the high mortality that occurs prior to molting into megalopa stage - also known as molting death syndrome (MDS), low survival rate from megalopae to instar stage, and high cannibalism of crablets during the nursery phase. Improving the hatchery technique by developing a nutritional-balanced feeding protocol and minimizing the cannibalistic behavior of the crablets in the nursery systems by providing appropriate shelters and proper nutrition are thought to improve the production of mangrove crab juveniles for aquaculture. The aim of this project is to improve the hatchery and nursery culture technology for the mangrove crabs and to deliver a consistent production of 5,000 crablets per production unit (1.5 x 5m tank).

May 24, 2018

Regional e-Notes: May Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As I have shared before, CTSA is a proponent of using available natural resources efficiently and converting wastes into useful products. I was impressed with a recent article about chefs in Australia who are developing seafood recipes that use 80-90% of each whole fish. This is a significant improvement from the 40% yield achieved under most current practices. As a result, consumers are getting more seafood without increasing fishing or aquaculture production.

The article got me thinking about reducing waste as another important way to increase our seafood supply and at the same time alleviate some of the pressure on fisheries and aquaculture. Other countries are implementing similar practices, and I believe the United States should follow suit to innovate the ways we supply our consumer demand for seafood.

One of the areas with the greatest potential for innovation and waste repurposing is sustainable aquaculture. There are many benefits that result from investing in domestic aquaculture research and production, including an increase in efficient food production technology, food security, and economic opportunities, as well as a decrease in the chances of exposure to potential health risks from imported seafood. Just recently, the U.S. rejected an overseas shipment of shrimp due to the presence of antibiotics. Still, only a small fraction of imported seafood is inspected. We can do our part as an industry to reduce and/or take better control of the risk to our citizens.

CTSA is in the beginning stages of developing our FY 2018 plan of work, and I look forward to receiving innovative ideas from our regional research teams to help advance our industry. As always, we welcome your suggestions and comments.

Mahalo,

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

May 21, 2018

CELC Aquaculture Education Webinar on May 30

The ‘CELC Aquaculture Education Webinar Series’ will hold its next webinar on Wednesday May 30, 4-5 PM EST. Linda Cornish, President of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, will present on “Sustaining Ourselves Through Seafood: Seafood nutrition at the intersection of public health and environmental health.” Below is the call-in information and more details about the webinar:

Dial-in number:  866-663-4994
International:  203-692-7873
Passcode: 2728068
Adobe Connect: http://connectpro46305642.adobeconnect.com/celcmonthly/

Webinar Information:
Americans would be in better health if we ate more sustainable seafood, and they would have a connection to the beauty of our waters and care more about protecting our oceans. SNP is a non-profit addressing the country’s public health crisis by encouraging Americans to include more sustainable seafood into balanced meals. SNP works with industry, grocery, health care practitioners, media and others to educate consumers on how to buy, prepare and eat seafood. For SNP, eating seafood and the health of the environment are inextricably linked. Seafood is now recognized as the sustainable protein option that supports both human and planetary health.

Speaker Bio:
Linda Cornish is President of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, the leading 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the U.S. building awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of seafood. Linda is instrumental in the formation of the organization and led the launch of a 3-year public health campaign in October 2015 during National Seafood Month to help Americans find a path to wellness through healthy eating including seafood nutrition. Linda is a frequent presenter at conferences, including Aquarium of the Pacific, Bay of Fundy Seafood Forum, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, Global Aquaculture Alliance – GOAL Conference, Groundfish Forum, NFI Global Seafood Marketing Conference, Seafood Expo North America, Sustainable Seafood Week NYC, World Seafood Congress, and Women of Seafood. Linda is a graduate of the University of California at Riverside with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

May 15, 2018

CTSA FY2018 Request for Pre-Proposals

REQUEST FOR PRE-PROPOSALS
Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
Due Friday, June 15 2018

Click here to download pdf of FY18 Request for Pre-Proposals

REQUEST FOR PRE-PROPOSALS
Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
Due Friday, June 15 2018

The Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture (CTSA) requests pre-proposals for applied research and extension that addresses problems and opportunities in the regional aquaculture industry.

CTSA stakeholders have identified the below strategic areas and species as the top aquaculture development priorities. Pre-proposals that target these strategic areas and priority species will receive highest preference. However, pre-proposals that do not fall under specific priority areas but address CTSA’s mission will be considered in our development process. Our main focus is on funding projects that will have immediate, positive impacts on the regional aquaculture industry.

CTSA’s mission is to support aquaculture research, development, demonstration, and extension education in order to enhance viable and profitable aquaculture in the United States. CTSA is funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The current CTSA region includes the following areas: American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. Pre-proposals should utilize innovative approaches that take into account the unique environmental situation of the region.  One of CTSA’s primary goals is capacity building. Accordingly, we strongly encourage collaboration between institutions and agencies in the region, as well as shared funding of large priority projects. Cultivating strong regional partnerships will catalyze the greatest changes in our industry, and projects that demonstrate an understanding of this principal are more likely to be supported.

Please note: Desired outcomes and/or deliverables are included where applicable. They represent industry-identified requests and it is strongly recommended that they be addressed in your pre-proposal.

FY 2018 Strategic Areas & Priority Species

Mangrove Crab
Mangrove crabs are a highly desired food in the Pacific islands and have thus been heavily harvested throughout the region. CTSA is supporting ongoing work to improve production of mangrove crabs in Palau, but is still open to additional projects to improve production throughout the region and mitigate cannibalism of this important species.

Shellfish
CTSA stakeholders continually express their desire to farm shellfish in Hawaii and the US- affiliated Pacific islands using traditional Hawaiian Fishponds or other aquaculture technologies, including land-based tank culture. CTSA will consider a proposal emphasizing grow out of valuable / marketable shellfish species in Hawaii and the region.

Cost Effective Locally-Made Aquatic Feed
Affordable feed has been identified as one of the major constraints in the regional development of aquaculture. CTSA has supported many local feeds projects, including two recently approved projects to use locally available ingredients for feed production at the new OI/UH research feed mill in Hilo. However, there are still gaps in knowledge of the cost-effectiveness of producing local feeds. Considering the significance of this issue in the region, CTSA is seeking a proposal to conduct an economic study and identify the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of producing feed in Hawaii and throughout the region. CTSA also welcomes any new and innovative suggestions to make aquatic feed more affordable for farmers in the region.

Marine Finfish Farming Technology
Farming of finfish such as rabbitfish, moi, Kahala groupers, and saltwater-tolerant tilapia is important for the region and has been identified as a commercial aquaculture practice with potential for growth. CTSA has currently and previously supported the development of farming technology for the aforementioned species, and will accept proposals to help solve remaining culture issues (primarily pertaining to reliable source of fingerlings, affordable feed, growth rate and feeding requirements, and sustainable farming practices and systems, etc.). CTSA will also accept proposals for new species development. In addition, CTSA will consider proposals that address hatchery technology for marine ornamental fish from the perspectives of both supplying the marine aquarium market and the restoration of coral reefs.

Sea Cucumber farming technology
With an increased demand for sea cucumber in Asian markets, natural stocks of the species have been over harvested in some Pacific Islands, resulting in impacts to the conditions of the habitat for other species as well. To mitigate this problem, CTSA recently funded projects to develop and transfer sea cucumber hatchery technology to Pohnpei and Yap. However, researchers are still experiencing high mortality during the nursery phase before seedstock can be released into the wild or cultured on farms. CTSA will consider a proposal to identify the cause of this mortality, and to provide solution(s) to make sea cucumber production commercially feasible.

Disease management and diagnostic services
The paucity of disease management and PCR diagnostic services for aquaculture operations in the Pacific Islands has had a negative impact on local farmers, especially shrimp broodstock companies based in Hawaii. In an effort to address this issue, CTSA approved an FY17 project to help establish a shrimp disease diagnostic laboratory that will be jointly administered by the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture. As part of its FY18 priorities, CTSA will consider a proposal to further enhance the services offered by this new laboratory (or other capable disease management providers located in the CTSA region), including but not limited to the addition of fish disease diagnostics and extension services.

Other
Other species, opportunities, and challenges have been identified as priorities for aquaculture development and production in the Pacific islands. CTSA will consider proposals that seek to address the following topics; strengthening regional extension services, especially in the Western Pacific; macroalgae culture for human consumption and aquatic feed production; advanced aquaculture-relevant research on aquaponics, such as management of fish sludge from aquaponics systems; and development of effective, affordable instrumentation to monitor nutrient levels and other factors in aquaponics and/or aquaculture systems.

Process and Instructions
Pre-proposals that do not follow the guidelines outlined in this section will be rejected. Properly formatted pre-proposals received by the deadline, 5pm HST Friday June 15 2018, will be reviewed by CTSA’s Industry Advisory Council (IAC) and Technical Committee (TC). Only pre-proposals that receive a majority of votes will move forward with requests for a full proposal. Full proposals will receive both internal and external review for technical quality and industry impact. Not all full proposals may be awarded. Full proposals approved by the CTSA Board of Directors and the USDA as part of the CTSA FY18 Plan of Work are expected to have funding available for implementation by July 2019.

CTSA typically does not fund projects for more than $100,000 per year. However, a project will not be automatically rejected if it exceeds that amount. CTSA gives preference to projects that will deliver the most benefits at the lowest cost. Due to its limited project budget, CTSA will distribute funding to the highest ranked proposals until it has exhausted all available funds.

Eligible Applicants
Universities, community colleges, or nonprofit research institutions and organizations from the CTSA region must lead project execution. Private individuals or commercial companies are welcome to participate in research work but cannot act as the prime contractor for any project.

Pre-Proposal Guidelines
When submitting pre-proposals, researchers must identify the strategic area(s) and priority targeted. In addition, they must identify the type of project they are proposing: Research, Extension, or Integrated (Research & Extension).

Although an individual may submit a maximum of three pre-proposals, a researcher can act as principal investigator to only two projects in a single funding cycle. Pre-proposals must be no more than two pages (single-spaced, 12-pt. font, 1-inch margins), and the required format is Microsoft Word.

Pre-proposals must include the following sections:
1) Proposed title or main idea
2) Strategic Area and Priority targeted
3) Problem statement
Clearly explain the significance of the targeted problem and its relation to current and future industry development.
4) Proposed objectives
Define and number objectives that are achievable and measurable. Please visit the CTSA Web site (http://www.ctsa.org) to view previously funded projects so that your pre-proposal does not duplicate the work of completed or current projects.
5) Expected Industry Impacts
You must clearly define how your proposed project will realistically impact the regional aquaculture industry in economic terms, and indicate the potential return on investment. Please be specific in your description. CTSA typically funds projects that benefit multiple stakeholders. However, single beneficiary projects with compelling reasons will be considered. If the project will result in a new industry, the estimated economic impact of the industry has to be discussed.
6) Approach
Describe the principal approach that the project work group will use to accomplish the objectives outlined in your pre-proposal.
7) Duration
If a project’s duration is to be more than one year, then your pre-proposal must include objectives and approach for each year. Objectives listed should be accomplished within a three- year time frame.
8) Estimated budget
Estimate the amount of funding needed to accomplish objectives. A breakdown need only include total estimates for major categories, such as salary, supplies, and equipment.
9) Project work group members
List members, by name and affiliation, who will participate in the execution of the proposed project.
10) Related research
If any participant has previously received CTSA funding to address the same species or subject area covered in the current proposal (or similar issues), provide a brief statement highlighting the results of that work and justification for the proposed project.

How to Submit
Please e-mail pre-proposals to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by 5pm HST, Friday June 15, 2018. If you have any questions, please contact Meredith Brooks via e-mail or by telephone at (808) 292- 1323. If necessary, pre-proposals may be faxed to (808) 259-8395 or mailed to the following address:
Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture C/O Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University 41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy.
Waimanalo, HI 96795

Apr 26, 2018

Regional e-Notes: April Letter from the Director

Aloha & Happy Earth Month!

As I reflect on the annual celebration of Earth Day/Month, my thoughts center on the delicate relationship between humans and the limited natural resources of our planet.

To adapt to the unique circumstances in the Pacific region, we need to continually develop food production technologies that effectively use our limited natural resources. We also need to consider using alternate resources that are available in abundance. To this end, CTSA regularly supports research efforts to utilize local waste products as resources for aquatic feeds. For example, an ongoing project is using brewer’s waste to produce a fungal-based feed for fish and shrimp. What other innovative technologies could we utilize? During a recent conversation, a friend mentioned an impressive and innovative aquaculture practice in Singapore, where expired human food is converted into fish food, thereby reducing food waste and producing valuable protein for human consumption.

Investing in this type of development can help our communities reduce carbon footprint and increase resilience in the face of a changing climate. It can also improve food security and decrease our reliance on imported seafood. We import more than 50% of the food consumed in our region, including seafood. Securing our food supply and concurrently reducing our carbon foot print and wastes should be our common goal.

During my recent visit to the Western Pacific Islands I found out through advertising that imported poultry meat has replaced traditional healthy seafood in many local diets. I was informed that one of the main reasons for this occurance is the decrease of wild seafood supply throughout the region. We must work together to produce food from our only abundant natural resource: the ocean. Now is the time for the United States to invest in producing safe and sustainable seafood through aquaculture. We look forward to seeing the ideas that researchers will present to carry out this work in our region during the FY18 funding cycle!

Mahalo,

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

Apr 12, 2018

USDA Farm Service Agency Issues $34M in Disaster Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will issue $34 million to help agricultural producers recover from 2017 natural disasters through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP), which covers losses not covered by certain other USDA disaster assistance programs.

ELAP aims to help eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions, including blizzards and wildfires. Producers with operations impacted by natural disasters and diseases in 2018 are encouraged to contact their local USDA service center to apply for assistance.

Payments are now available, and they are part of a broader USDA effort to help producers recover from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, wildfires and drought. A large portion of this assistance will be made available in federally designated disaster areas.

“From Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, through the South, the Southwest, California and the Great Plains, American agriculture was devastated by natural disasters in 2017,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “The Trump Administration is moving quickly to distribute financial assistance to help producers recover and rebuild. It is important to get this help to producers in time for the spring planting season.”

The increased amount of assistance through ELAP was made possible by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed earlier this year. The Act amended the 2014 Farm Bill to enable USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to provide assistance to producers without an annual funding cap and immediately for 2017. It also enables FSA to pay ELAP applications as they are filed for 2018 and subsequent program years.

USDA Disaster Assistance Fact Sheet

Apr 6, 2018

Request for Applications: USDA NIFA Aquaculture Research Competitive Grants Program

NIFA requests applications for the Aquaculture Research Competitive Grants Program (henceforth, Aquaculture Research program) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2018 is approximately $1.2 million. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Eastern Time on May 17, 2018.

The NIFA Aquaculture Research program will fund applied aquaculture research projects that directly address major constraints to the U.S. aquaculture industry; and focus on one or more of the following Program Area Priorities: 1) Genetics of commercial aquaculture species; 2) Critical disease issues impacting commercial aquaculture species; 3) Design of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture production systems; or 4) Economic research for increasing aquaculture profitability.

The purpose of the Aquaculture Research program is to support the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the U.S. by generating new science-based information and technology to address industry constraints. Results of projects supported by this program are intended to help improve the profitability of the U.S. aquaculture industry, reduce the U.S. trade deficit, increase domestic food security, expand markets for U.S. produced products, and provide more jobs for rural and coastal America.

Click here to view the Request for Applications (RFA), program information, and link to apply for a grant (grants.gov).

Mar 29, 2018

Regional e-Notes: March Letter from the Director

Aloha,

CTSA held its annual Board of Director’s meeting last week to discuss and approve the FY17 Plan of Work. I would like to express our sincere appreciation to NOAA for allowing us to use their conference room at Pier 38 in downtown Honolulu. It was our first meeting in this comfortable and convenient location, and we are grateful for our partnership with NOAA and ability to use their facilities.

This year, we welcomed a new Board Chairman: Nicholas Comerford, Dean of CTAHR. I am thankful for his input at our meeting, and I look forward to working with him in this new capacity. At the meeting, the Board reviewed and approved the proposals submitted for inclusion in the FY17 Plan of Work. In addition, they discussed the trajectory of our program and the manner in which our funding is allocated. Each year, our IAC, TC and Board are tasked with the important job of looking for projects that will have a significant impact on our local aquaculture industry. Often times, CTSA funds are used as seed money for projects to prove their feasibility and leveraged to obtain larger grants from other funding organizations. While we are not a large organization, we have an opportunity to improve regional food security and conservation efforts through our funded projects. I applaud our committees and Board for taking their tasks seriously each year and seeking innovative ways to create meaningful impacts.

With the FY17 development cycle completed, CTSA is beginning preparations for the next round of development and is seeking input on industry identified priority areas for the FY18 Request for Pre-Proposals (RFP-P to be released in May). CTSA is unique among other funding programs, as we are industry driven and rely on a wide range of stakeholders across the Pacific region to develop our annual priority areas and subsequent Plans of Work. We depend on producers to let us know what problems they face, and researchers to develop thoughtful solutions to those issues. If it appears that our funding favors a particular location, it is because stakeholders in that area actively participate in this annual process.

I encourage all of our regional stakeholders, from the eastern shores of Hawaii to the western shores of Palau and the CNMI, to get involved in our process and let us know how CTSA can best serve you. You are welcome to reach out to our team directly, or to contact any of our Industry Advisory Council members: http://www.ctsa.org/index.php/about/industry_advisory_council_iac

As always, we welcome your suggestions, questions, and comments.

Mahalo,

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

Mar 23, 2018

Culturing Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) and Producing Feed from Its Larvae Meal

Written by Bell Lin, Graduate student, Master of Science in Marine Science at HPU

The increase of aquatic feed production is facing the challenge of rising cost and decreasing availability of feed ingredients, such as fishmeal (Barry, 2004). Feed cost usually accounts for more than 50% of aquaculture production cost. Therefore, it is important to find alternative feed ingredients to substitute fishmeal to support sustainable aquaculture.

In the Pacific islands, aquaculture relies heavily on imported feeds, which account for the major costs of aquaculture. The rising costs of transportation and the unstable supplies of imported ingredients and feeds can threaten the security of the local aquaculture industry. On the other hand, food waste is one of the major components in landfill and could cause environmental pollution if not properly treated. Consequently, assuming that for resource-limited island communities converting food waste into feed ingredients will provide local feed industry is a viable alternative.

Black soldier fly (BSF; Figure-1), Hermetia illucens, is a short life span widespread insect in subtropical and tropical region; its larvae can grow efficiently on composting household food scraps and agriculture waste products (Tomberlin & Sheppard, 2002). Utilization of Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL; Figure-2) to recycle food waste does not compete for other natural resources. Adult fly will lose their mouth structure that makes it stop consuming food, which makes it focus on mating. Unique structure of antimicrobial peptides found on BSF and BSFL makes it clean and will not contaminate human food source or transmit pathogens (Park & Yoe, 2017; Elhag 2017). BSFL has high contents of protein and lipid and has been shown to be a promising feed ingredient for poultry and aquaculture production (Sealey & Gaylord et al., 2011). Our goal is to produce BSFL as a feed ingredient on the utilization of BSFL in tropical fish or shrimp diets.

The experiment was conducted at Oceanic Institute, an affiliate of Hawaii Pacific University. Mature wild female BSF with fertilized eggs (300 – 600 eggs) was attracted by a specific odor during daylight with a special formula. Optimal mating condition was observed under a unique environmental factor. Adult fly will die after mating. Female BSF will lay eggs in small slots that close to the source of the odor, but not directly on the food waste, which is very different from common housefly. Eggs will hatch after three to four days of incubation depends on the environment temperature. BSFL were fed with two different food sources, one with fruits and vegetables household food waste (FV) and the other with grounded poultry commercial corn feed. BSFL were collected at two different life stages: white-color larvae and black-color pupae. The samples collected were freeze-dried and then ground with a grinder.

Crude protein, crude lipid, fatty acids, moisture and ash content for the different feed treatments and BSFL stages were determined following the procedures of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC, 2000).

The test results showed that crude protein content in our collected BSFL was affected by different life stages (Table 1). The crude protein content was higher for larvae-white stage than pupae-black stage in the both food source treatments (P < 0.05). BSFL’s crude lipids content was also affected by different life stages and different food sources. The crude lipids content was higher in pupae-black stage than larvae-white stage for the both food source treatments. The crude lipids content in BSFL from larvae-white stage was higher by feeding corn than by feeding vegetables and fruits (P < 0.05). However, there was non-significant differences in crude lipids content between culture stages or different food sources.

Saturated fatty acids (SFA) in BSFL were affected by different food sources (Figure-3). Feeding vegetables and fruits presented higher SFA, than feeding corn. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in BSFL were also affected by different food sources. Highly unsaturated long-chain fatty acids (HUFA) were not detected in the BSFL samples. Summary: Different food sources and life stages affected the proximate nutrient contents and fatty acids composition of the BSFL. The results on proximate contents and fatty acids composition indicate that BSFL meal has the potential to be used in aquaculture feeds to partially replace high-cost marine-based ingredients.
Feb 27, 2018

Regional e-Notes: February Letter from the Director

Aloha,

Like many of you, I just returned home from the Aquaculture America Conference in Las Vegas. The theme of this year’s conference was “Shaping the Future - Telling our Story,” and it was a productive week filled with educational presentations, constructive meetings with old and new friends, and a powerful plenary session. Dr. Jerry Schubel, President and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific, began the session by telling the story of how seafood saved early homosapiens, who survived by moving to coastal regions where they had access to an abundance of nutrient-rich protein. He further pointed out that seafood may once again save our species from a global food crisis, but only if we approach it the right way through effective fisheries management and increased sustainable aquaculture production. Dr. Schubel closed his presentation by urging stakeholders to address obstacles impeding the expansion of U.S. aquaculture—particularly the public perception of fish farming—and challenging all in attendance to take a role in shaping the narrative surrounding our industry through storytelling. He was followed by guest speaker Dave Lieber, who presented his formula on how to tell an impressive story and encouraged attendees to “embrace their hero traits” and tell their success stories to help increase global acceptance of aquaculture.

During the conference, it was evident that many researchers and other industry stakeholders are paying close attention to the sustainability of aquaculture farming practices, as there was much focus on up-and-coming efficient and environmentally friendly farming and feeding technologies. The session on aquaponics was packed with researchers, farmers, and other industry stakeholders interested in the emerging method of farming, while several presentations focused on alternative feed ingredients and converting waste into useable resources. If we champion renewable technologies like these and highlight their stories, we will increase the exposure and demand for sustainable aquaculture and diminish outdated perceptions of our industry.

CTSA strives to do our part in telling the story of aquaculture by sharing the results of our funded projects and services through various mediums, including this newsletter and our video series. I am currently discussing some new opportunities for storytelling with my team, so keep an eye out for exciting things to come. We are always looking for new ways to engage the global audience in the discussion about aquaculture, and welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

Mahalo,

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

Feb 26, 2018

CTSA Project Update: Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture of Shrimp and Sea Cucumbers

Feed typically represents the single largest operating expense for aquafarmers and one of the greatest inefficiencies on many farms is waste of valuable nutrients from feed.  Furthermore, many aquaculture farms incur costs to treat and/or dispose of nutrient-rich sludge generated from production systems.

A promising area of aquaculture research that directly addresses these inefficiencies is Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) where “waste” nutrients from a “fed” species is taken up and incorporated into the biomass of another commercially valuable “extractive” species. Such a management strategy improves nutrient use efficiency, reduces waste volume and disposal costs, and creates an additional revenue stream. An ongoing CTSA-funded project at the Oceanic Institute of HPU is investigating an IMTA approach using sea cucumbers to digest waste produced from shrimp production systems. The two-year project “Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture of Shrimp and Sea Cucumbers for Nutrient Recycling, Sludge Reduction, and Creation of Additional Revenue Streams” has completed Year 1 activities and will begin Year 2 activities shortly.

The first objective of the project was to collect candidate species of sea cucumber in near-shore waters of Oahu, Hawaii and screen them for relevant shrimp pathogens.  After some initial challenges, researchers were able to collect 73 Holothuria atra and 54 Actinopyga mauritiana specimens, which were transferred to quarantine. The sea cucumbers were cohabitated with “sentinel” Pacific white shrimp, P. vannamei, which had also been maintained during quarantine of several other batches of sea cucumbers from the same collection area. These specimens were utilized for Year 1 trials. No mortalities were observed in sentinel shrimp during the quarantine and near the end of the quarantine period sentinel shrimp were PCR-screened for relevant shrimp pathogens including White spot syndrome virus (WSSV), Taura syndrome virus (TSV), Infectious hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHHNV), and the bacterium causing Early mortality syndrome (Vibrio parahemolyticus) (AHPND).

Researchers then set up sea cucumber experimental systems where growth, survival, and sludge processing capability for candidate species of sea cucumber could be quantified. A high-density (350 shrimp/m2) RAS shrimp trial was initiated to supply sludge for Year 1 feeding trials.  During the RAS trial, sludge was collected from a bead filter 3× per week and stored in a cone-bottomed tank for ~1 day. To estimate a sludge feeding rate (based on volume), sludge was sampled for proximate/nutritional analyses. The protein content of sludge filtrate dry matter was determined to be 21.8% (typical aquaculture growout feeds may contain 30% protein or more on a dry weight basis). Gross energy content of sludge filtrate dry matter was determined to be 2,807 kcal/kg (typical crustacean aquaculture feeds contain 3,000-4,000 kcal/kg gross energy (Cuzon and Guillaume, 1997). Gross lipid content of sludge filtrate dry matter was determined to be 2.4% (typical aquaculture growout feeds may contain > 5% fats/lipids). Based on these proximate analyses, sludge dry matter was determined to be slightly lower in crude protein and energy content compared to typical aquaculture growout feed. The sludge protein quality and amino acid profile is assumed to be inferior to that of a typical growout feed, but would require further analysis to determine.

During an eight-week feeding trial to compare three feeding treatments (Algamac, Sludge, and Unfed), the concentrated sludge matter was fed to sea cucumbers 3× per week, following batch water exchanges. Prior to the trial, commercially available sand was added to each 1.5-m3 mesocosm tank to create a sand bed approximately 5 cm deep and tanks were filled with seawater.  Tanks were stocked at an initial targeted biomass of 200-250 g/m2 of tank bottom surface area (i.e. 400-500 g/tank). At stocking, “fresh” weights of individual sea cucumbers were recorded to determine total stocking biomass.  In addition, length and width measurements were collected to provide secondary means of discerning individuals at harvest and estimating growth.

Feeding regime 1 (“Sludge”) tanks were fed RAS sludge at a targeted rate equivalent to ~2% body weight (bw)/day of a commercial pelleted aquaculture feed, based on proximate analyses, and adjusted based on visual observation of tank conditions. The diet was fed 3× per week, following water exchanges. Feeding regime 2 (“Algamac”; control diet) tanks were fed with Algamac Plus at a rate of 2% bw/day. The diet was fed 3× per week, following water exchanges. Feeding regime 3 was unfed (“Unfed”; only natural productivity in tanks). 

During the course of the trial, mortalities were noted and tanks suffering complete mortality (i.e. no survivors) were eliminated from the trial. After eight weeks, remaining tanks were harvested and individual weight, length, and width measurements were taken for all remaining animals. Average survival rates for and H. atra and A. mauritiana were 43.8% and 4.2%, respectively, and were significantly different (p = 0.00). The low survival of A. mauritiana was likely due to skin infections arising from handling injury/stress. Thus, wild-caught individuals of this species were determined to be unsuitable for future trials.

No significant differences were detected in specific growth rates between H. atra treatments. However, this species was observed actively feeding during the course of the trial, and guts of specimens dissected for proximate composition and stable isotope analysis from Sludge and Algamac treatments were found to contain sand and algal matter, respectively.  This shows that animals were feeding and potentially growing. Guts of specimens from the Unfed treatment appeared mostly empty.

For H. atra, there were significant differences in body composition between time of stocking and time of harvest, as well as between treatments at time of harvest. The most notable differences were between the Sludge treatment and the other two treatments. Sludge treatment composition was significantly lower in protein and higher in lipid and ash, compared to both the Algamac and Unfed treatments. It is unclear whether these differences indicate that specimens from the Sludge treatment were growing more or less than the other two treatments. Longer trials and/or trials using juvenile animals that would be expected to exhibit higher specific growth rates, would likely result in more discernable differences in growth and might provide insights into the relationship between tissue composition changes and growth.

Because A. mauritiana suffered nearly complete mortality during the course of the trial, it was not possible to adequately compare sludge processing or assimilation capacity between species. The 5-Day Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) was measured and compared between species on one occasion during the course of the trial and determined to be 3.15 and 3.60 mg/L for H. atra and A. mauritiana, respectively. The 5-day BOD was measured again later in the trial for H. atra tanks only, in order to evaluate and optimize BOD sample volumes for future trials.

For H. atra, there were no significant changes during the course of the trial (T0 to Tfinal), or differences among treatments at harvest (Tfinal) for carbon (p = 0.47) or nitrogen isotopes (p = 0.93), respectively. It appears that the two-month period of the trial was too short to allow for sufficient growth, tissue turnover, or change in stable isotopes, using adult specimens. As with growth data, the use of juvenile specimens and/or a longer trial duration would increase the likelihood of obtaining useful stable isotope data. However, the sample processing and methodology for stable isotope analysis appeared to work well and might be applied in future trials.

Year 2 experiments will investigate whether sea cucumbers effectively remediate shrimp production effluent. Year 2 trials will also evaluate the suitability of alternative polyculture approaches (i.e. sea cucumbers in separate tanks/ponds from shrimp, comingled with shrimp, or in net pens within shrimp production units). Near the end of Year 2, an informational brochure will be prepared summarizing the knowledge gained during the project and distributed to USAPI stakeholders. 

Feb 24, 2018

Call for Written Testimonies for Hawaii Aquaculture Legislation

The Hawaii State Legislature started its 2018 session last month, and two bills have been introduced to support efforts to grow the commercial aquaculture industry in Hawaii.

HB2041, the bill to provide funding for the aquaculture incubator at NELHA, has been scheduled for a hearing by the House Committee on Finance on Wednesday, February 28 at 11:00 am. This is a critical hearing for this bill, as this committee is responsible for appropriating funds.

HB1960, the bill to provide support for the planning and participation of Hawaii’s Aquaculture Industry in the Aquaculture America 2020 conference, passed out of the House Committee on Finance. However, the appropriation amount has been blanked out. The next step is for this bill to cross over to the Senate and to be heard by the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism and Technology.

Click here to submit testimony. You must sign on to the Legislative website to be able to submit testimony.

Jan 30, 2018

Regional e-Notes: January Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As the new year begins, we are in the process of wrapping up the CTSA FY17 development cycle and looking forward to the upcoming FY18 cycle. The annual development cycle begins with the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) setting priorities in the Spring, and ends with the Plan of Work approval by the CTSA Board and subsequently the USDA the following Spring.

As I have shared many times before, the cornerstone of CTSA and the Regional Aquaculture Center program is our industry-driven support for commercial aquaculture development. We are grateful to our IAC members for helping us identify both the broad and specific needs of the regional aquaculture industry, and then working with us to develop a Plan of Work that will most effectively address those needs.

Standard CTSA procedure is for the IAC to make funding recommendations to the Board based on the pre-proposals they discuss and rank during the IAC/TC meeting each summer. Some years, CTSA requests and receives more full proposals than we are able to fund. Other years, extenuating circumstances beyond our control (such as PI’s electing not submit full proposals or submitting proposals of poor quality) result in additional funding to allocate. When this happens, we go back to the IAC for additional discussion on the priority areas, including any urgent issues which may be addressed with the remaining funds. If there is an issue identified, CTSA releases an out-of-cycle call for proposals or letters of intent, which is then vetted in the same way as the other proposals received earlier in the cycle. Typically, urgent issues are very specific and require a narrow focus. Accordingly, only researchers with the necessary skills or on-going proven research activities in the subject matter respond to the call for proposals.

Due to limited capacity and the unique species we work with, there are sometimes only one or two research groups in the region capable of addressing a specific issue or priority area. While we do support the continued development of research capacity at various colleges and universities, our program does not favor any organization or research group over others; it is simply our task to look for the best and most efficient solutions to industry-identified problems.

With the FY18 cycle rapidly approaching, I encourage our stakeholders to consider which issues should be addressed in the next Plan of Work, and to share your thoughts with us and members of our IAC. I look forward to hearing your suggestions, and seeing the next round of proposed projects.

Mahalo,

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

Jan 23, 2018

Stakeholder Input Requested for Aquaculture Outreach Survey

A brief survey has been developed for educators and institutions that specialize in ocean literacy and seafood businesses that provide information to their customers. It will provide a landscape overview of who is sharing information about marine aquaculture, the context in which they are doing so, and the channels through which they are disseminating it. This overview will, in turn, help shape recommendations which will lead to the development of tools and resources targeted to cohesive, science-based public education about marine aquaculture.

The survey was released by the Galway Statement Implementation Committee’s Ocean Literacy Working Group and Aquaculture Working Group, and project collaborators include: The Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance project, Aquarium of the Pacific’s Seafood for the Future program (SFF), European Commission Horizon 2020 projects (AORA-CSA, ResponSEAble, SUCCESS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). SFF will collect and archive the data.
 
The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete. Please visit this link to complete the survey by March 1, 2018. 

Jan 11, 2018

CTSA 2017 Annual Accomplishment Report

The following 2-page summaries of CTSA projects that were active during 2017 are included in the Annual Accomplishment Report to the USDA. Please note: projects funded under the CTSA FY16 Plan of Work commenced recently and do not yet have significant findings to report; they are not included in this report.

CTSA 2017 Project Summaries - PDF

Dec 1, 2017

Special Request for ‘Letters of Intent’ for Marine Ornamental Aquaculture

The Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture (CTSA) is seeking letters of intent for a collaborative applied research and extension project to address the priority of establishing aquaculture of marine ornamental fish - particularly Yellow Tang - in Hawai’i and the CTSA region.

CTSA’s mission is to support aquaculture research, development, demonstration, and extension education in order to enhance viable and profitable aquaculture in the United States. CTSA is funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The CTSA region includes the following areas: American Samoa, Guam, Hawai’i, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. CTSA strongly encourages collaboration between institutions and agencies in the region, as well as shared funding of large priority projects. Cultivating strong regional partnerships will catalyze the greatest changes in our industry.

In an effort to preserve natural resources, there is a growing desire for the aquarium industry to shift from a dependence on wild stocks to a focus on aquaculture. Recent legislation in Hawai’i has resulted in a ban on commercial fishing of Yellow Tang, a highly sought after marine ornamental species, creating a pressing need for alternative sources. In the past, CTSA sponsored several years of work to try and close the life cycle of Yellow Tang, but paused funding support due to concerns about the ability to captively culture the delicate fish. There have since been significant developments in larval rearing, and researchers are now about to routinely obtain 1-2% survival from egg to juvenile. However, a survival rate of at least 5-10% is necessary in order for the technology to be commercially feasible. Prior research has identified two key areas of mortality that need to be overcome in order to improve overall survival.  These bottlenecks occur just past first feeding (day 5-8 where up to 75% of larvae are lost) and again after flexion (Day 20-40 where up to 50% of remaining larvae can be lost). 

CTSA is seeking Letters of Intent for a research team to address mortality during these key periods, and set a goal/deliverable to achieve significant improvements in survival each year (with a project goal to eventually reach 10% survival). CTSA is willing to provide funding for up to three project years to complete this work. Letters of Intent are welcome for culture of other marine ornamental species as well.

Process and Instructions
If you are interested in participating in the project, please submit a letter of intent to CTSA no later than December 11, 2017. Your brief letter of intent (no more than three pages in length) should clearly explain your desire to participate in the project, and should also include the following information: 

1) Problem Statement
Clearly explain the significance of the targeted problem and its relation to current and future industry development.
2) Potential Objectives & Research Tasks
Define objectives that are achievable and measurable to develop marine ornamental production, and the research tasks that you want to conduct for the project.
3) Expected Industry Impacts
You must clearly define how your work will realistically impact the regional aquaculture industry in economic terms, and indicate the potential return on investment. Please be specific in your description.
4) Approach
Describe the principal approach that will be used to accomplish the objectives outlined in your LOI.
5) Duration
You must clarify the necessary duration of support in order for the project to become self-sustaining.
6) Estimated Budget
Estimate the amount of funding needed to accomplish objectives.
7) Available Resources
List any available resources you may have (i.e. FTE, access to facilities, other funding, etc.) to contribute to the project.
8) Related research (optional)
If you have previously received CTSA funding to address the same species or subject area covered in the current proposal (or similar issues), provide a brief statement highlighting the results of that work and justification for the proposed project.

Letters of Intent received by the deadline, Monday, December 11, 2017 will be reviewed by a panel of CTSA advisors. Based on the level of interest we receive in participation, the panel will build the research project and establish the working group. CTSA anticipates funding one project with a maximum CTSA budget of $100,000 per project year, up to three years in length. It is expected that the funding will be available to commence project activities in July 2018.

Eligible Applicants
Universities, community colleges, or nonprofit research institutions and organizations must lead project execution. Private individuals or commercial companies are welcome to participate in research work but cannot act as the prime contractor for any project.

How to Submit
Please e-mail Letters of Intent to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by Monday, December 11, 2017. If you have any questions, please contact Meredith Brooks via e-mail or by telephone at (808) 292- 1323. If necessary, pre-proposals may be faxed to (808) 259-8395 or mailed to the following address:

Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
C/O Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University
41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy.
Waimanalo, HI 96795

Nov 29, 2017

Regional e-Notes: November Letter from the Director

Aloha,

As we reflect on all that we are thankful for this year, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the many stakeholders who continuously volunteer their time to help CTSA achieve our program goals. The dedicated members of our Industry Advisory Council, Technical Committee, and Board of Directors (BoD) work together to ensure that CTSA­-supported projects produce meaningful impacts throughout our region and beyond. Last week, I met with the new CTAHR Dean & Director Dr. Nicholas Comerford, who will serve as the new Chair of the CTSA BoD; I look forward to working with him and the rest of the BoD to create meaningful impacts through our program.

I would also like to extend my appreciation to our PI’s—and their host institutions—for their diligent work to improve regional aquaculture through research, demonstration, and outreach activities. We are in the midst of conducting our bi­annual project update conference calls with PI’s and their industry liaisons. These conference calls allow us to monitor project progress on a more personal level, and continue to facilitate beneficial partnerships between researchers and industry stakeholders.

Partnership is a cornerstone of the Regional Aquaculture Center program, and I am very thankful for all of our regional and global partners, including you!

Mahalo,

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

Nov 24, 2017

CTSA Project Update: Using local agriculture by-products to produce fungal protein for aquatic feeds

Microbial proteins, such as fungal biomass produced on low-cost feedstock, have gained significant attention as feed ingredients due to cost effectiveness and long-term sustainability. Fungal process is a low-cost and simple process for animal feed production, as fungi are known to grow extensively on diverse organic feedstocks under optimal conditions. Hawaii produces a large quantity of fruit and food/agri by-products and waste products that may have the potential to be upgraded into protein enriched value-added products. The ongoing CTSA-funded project “Utilization of local agri-processing by-products to produce fungal protein for aquatic feed production” is investigating this potential in products including molasses, cassava, papaya waste, and microbrewery waste. 

The Year 1 objectives of this project were to maximize the yield of edible fungus, Rhizopus oligosporus, on molasses, damaged papaya and taro wastes, develop a cost effective fungal biomass production process, characterize the nutritional quality of fungal biomass, and formulate test diets with the fungal protein for tilapia or shrimp. Filamentous fungi R. oligosporus is an ideal organism for animal feed applications due to its edible nature. American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) classifies the fungi as Biosafety Level I (BSL-1) organism, which is not known to cause any disease in humans and not associated with production of any harmful metabolites (Jennesen et al., 2005).  R. oligosporus has been grown on corn wet milling wastewater streams (Jasti et al., 2006) and sugarcane vinasse (Nitayavardhana et al., 2013). R. oligosporus has crude protein content of 40-50% (dry weight) which is compatible with soybean meal (containing 48.1% crude protein).

The research team, led by Dr. Samir Khanal at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) and Dr. Zhi Yong Ju at the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University (OI), initiated the two-year project in November 2016. The UH team first acquired and then characterized molasses from HC&S Maui, which contained total sugar of 49%. Upon a review of existing literature, it was determined that the molasses needed acid hydrolysis pretreatment prior to fungal fermentation. This involved a 20-fold crude molasses dilution and addition of 0.2% sulfuric acid with heat treatment of 121oC for 30 minutes. Utilizing these innovative methods, researchers achieved fungal growth with molasses media. In order to test out the viability of commercially available molasses, both small batch and bench-scale studies were conducted. Initial testing using a 2.5L bubble column bioreactor with a 3-day growth cycle resulted in 10.4g of dry biomass, and a 2-day growth cycle resulted in 10.2g of dry biomass, which showed no significant difference in biomass production. Subsequently, a 20L bioreactor was setup to scale up the process and results showed that a 3-day cycle has a higher yield when compared with a 2-day cycle in the 20L bioreactor (3 day: 48.25g dry weight, 2 day: 8.65g). A test sample (~5kg) of the freeze-dried biomass product was provided to OI for nutritional analysis and a feeding trial.

The OI team established a nutritional profile of R. oligosporus fungal biomass by determining the proximate contents and amino acid and fatty acid profiles of the sample provided by UH. The R. oligosporus sample was found to have around 42% crude protein, 6.4% crude lipid, and 15.3% ash. This indicated that the fungal sample had a high protein content after fungal fermentation. Further analysis found that the fungal biomass is rich in contents of essential amino acids, accounting for >50% of the total amino acids; in particular, the levels of lysine and methionine were high with 8.6% and 2.5% (dry wt.) of total amino acids respectively. These results suggest that R. oligosporus fungal biomass is a valuable protein feed ingredient for replacement of fishmeal in aquafeeds. OI is currently preparing a shrimp feeding trial using the biomass as an ingredient, and will run additional digestibility and feeding trials during Year 2.

In consideration of the large amount of papaya waste product available in Hawaii, the UH team also assessed the ability of R. oligosporus to utilize nutrients in damaged rainbow papaya and seeds obtained from a farm on Oahu. The experiment found that dry fungal biomass contained a high protein concentration of 47.8%, while the effluent analysis showed a 64% reduction in glucose and no change in fructose concentration. This data indicates that papaya juice waste can be successfully utilized as substrate for R. oligosporus growth. Researchers are currently investigating the potential to also use local cassava and brewery waste as a substrate, and initial results have been positive and will be discussed in detail at the completion of Year 2.

Year 2 objectives are now underway at UH and OI, and will be reported on upon the completion of the project. The fungal fermentation process, production process, and nutritional information obtained for R. oligosporus fungal biomass during Year 1 is useful for researchers and the feed industry in the production of aquatic feeds, and can encourage the application of fungal fermentation techniques to produce valuable feed ingredients from local agricultural co-products or waste materials.  If the end product proves to be commercially and economically feasible, the local production of inexpensive aquatic feed ingredients from locally-available agriculture by-products will have significant impacts on aquaculture in Hawaii by reducing the state dependency on imported aquatic feed ingredients, lowering the production costs of aquaculture, and improving the long-term sustainability of local aquaculture farming.

Oct 31, 2017

Regional e-Notes: October Letter from the Director

Aloha and Happy Halloween,

As revelers celebrate the spooky traditions of this holiday, my thoughts are on something much more frightening: wasted government spending!

Federal spending is intended to provide the ‘raw materials’ to build solutions to our societal problems; it is up to the ‘builders’ in charge of each program and project to create something meaningful. I am disheartened when I see hard-earned tax dollars spent on unnecessary resources and expensive high-tech equipment with little to no return on the investment. In contrast, I am thrilled when I see researchers, projects, and programs maximize small funding to create significant impacts through innovative and cost-effective problem solving. 

Though we are constantly striving for improvement, CTSA prides itself on being mindful with the federal funds we administer. We employ diligent project monitoring and development processes to ensure that your tax dollars are maximized through program spending. To uphold this standard, we rely on our Industry Advisory and Technical Committees, as well as external reviewers, who provide thoughtful insights into each proposal submitted for funding consideration.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm thank you to those colleagues who reviewed the CTSA proposals this year. Their comments will be an important part of the discussion at our upcoming adhoc meeting, where committee members will thoroughly review each full proposal submitted for FY17 consideration and make revision suggestions. Our goal for this meeting each year is to develop the most complete and effective Plan of Work to present to our Board of Directors at their meeting in January; succeeding in this goal will ensure that we do our part to avoid wasted government spending in our region.

Mahalo,

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

Oct 30, 2017

Hawaii Judge Halts Aquarium Fishing Until Environmental Review

Last week, a Hawaii judge halted commercial fishing of reef fish for aquariums until the state reviews the industry’s environmental impact. The Friday ruling by the Oahu Circuit Court follows the state Supreme Court’s decision last month that issuance of permits allowing aquarium fish collection must comply with the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act. The high court gave authority to the lower court to determine if the fish collection may be exempt from the law.

Reef fish from Hawaii can be found in aquariums across the world. The number one collected species is yellow tang, which accounts for approximately 80% of the fish caught for aquarium trade in West Hawaii. Supporters of the ban have called for detailed environmental impact assessments of how the yellow tang fishery and other aquarium fisheries have been affected by commercial fishing.

Currently, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has permits issued to 231 active commercial collectors, and as part of the ruling it was ordered to not issue any new permits. Department officials say they respect the judge’s ruling, but they continue “to believe that existing aquarium fishing practices are sustainable and environmentally sound.”

CTSA took the opportunity to discuss the impacts of this decision with our Advisory Council member Richard Xie, who owns and operates Hawaiian Sealife. While it is primarily an aquarium fish export company, Hawaiian Sealife has diversified its business model and over the last decade has become an edu-tainment operation that has provided marine education tours for 200,000 local students and visitors to Oahu.

“Lots of scientists have already testified that reef fishing is not harmful if the government provides the proper management and guidelines,” explained Xie.

“The decision to halt commercial fishing of reef fish for aquariums has only invalidated the aquarium fish permits; commercial fishing licenses are still legal,” he continued. “Fishermen can still use a 2.25” eye fish net to catch fish legally. In other words, the fisherman will now have to catch more fish broodstock in order to feed their families. It might damage the environment more.”

Xie believes that the decision will definitely affect the market volume of fish originating from Hawaii, but as prices increase the ban is less likely to affect total sales. He expressed concern that a black market may emerge as a result of the decision, and wonders how the state will enforce the regulation since the determination is based on the eye of the net. “What will the cost be to enforce the regulation, and what will be the penalty for those found in violation?” he queried.

Xie mentioned that a potential bright spot in all of this is that aquaculture may be considered as a more viable option to supply the market demand. Researchers and farmers in Hawaii have attempted to grow aquatic animals and plants for the aquarium trade, and there has been some success, but for the most part the industry is fledgling. Xie believes that this new ban can be a turning point for the industry, “If the State is willing to provide funding, fishermen could become aquaculture farmers. If not, a black market might emerge and the State will need to spend a lot of money to enforce the regulations,” he concluded.

Sep 29, 2017

Regional e-Notes: September Letter from the Director

Aloha,

For the last several years, CTSA has been working closely with researchers in our region to look for under-utilized agriculture by-products, and/or waste products generated from food processing, that can be converted to usable ingredients for aquatic feed. Recent discussions in the media about the impacts of agriculture waste on our environment have prompted me to think about the ways that we can and should be utilizing “waste.” Many aquaculture practices in use today emphasize disposing waste instead of recapturing the nutrients found inside; this results in a lost opportunity to reuse those valuable resources. I am reminded of the famous quote by French chemist Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier: “Nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything is transformed.” We must embrace this idea as an industry, and employ solutions to transform and utilize all of the nutrients available in aquaculture systems.

Recently, there has been an increase in attention towards employing the practice of Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) to achieve ecosystem balance. IMTA is a new term for an ancient farming technique that grows multiple species in a proximate area in order to recycle the nutrients generated within the system. Nutrient-rich diets that are used to feed fish at the top of system eventually become nutrient-rich excrement, which then feeds the plants and shellfish in the proximate body of water. The traditional Hawaiian ahupua’a system is a good example of IMTA; the flow of nutrients is efficiently managed from the mountains to the sea to keep the environment pristine and at the same time, provide food for the community.

CTSA is comprised of a region with hundreds of isolated islands surrounded by pristine ocean environment. We must use the natural resources of this region to produce and secure food for generations to come. If we focus on developing regional aquaculture using technology such as IMTA, we can increase production yield and the sustainability of our industry, and at the same time reduce its environmental footprint. One of the keys to this development is communication. We must effectively communicate our ideas, questions and concerns with each other in order to ensure we are successful in our approach. I look forward to continuing the discussion with you, our valued stakeholders.

Mahalo,

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

Sep 28, 2017

Hawaii Board of Agriculture Approves Tilapia Rule Change

On September 26, the Hawaii Board of Agriculture voted to move Oreochromis niloticus, also known as Nile Tilapia, from Restricted List A (for research only) to List B (for commercial production).  This rule change is being hailed as a major victory for tilapia producers in the state.

Several Oahu farmers and aquaculture industry stakeholders presented testimony to the Board in favor of the rule change, including CTSA Industry Advisory Chairman (IAC) Ron Weidenbach, IAC member Fred Mencher and CTSA Technical Committee member Tom Iwai.

“We are thankful for finally having the Nile tilapia listed on the Restricted B List for commercial culture as we have been advocating for this rule change for more than 20 years,” exclaimed Mr. Weidenbach, whose family owns and operates a tilapia farm on Oahu’s North Shore and also leads the Hawaii Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association. “The Nile tilapia is the preferred tilapia species for freshwater aquaculture worldwide due to its fast growth and lower-cost, plant-based diet, with multiple improved strains readily available. Allowing their importation for commercial farming will help to improve our local production efforts, which, in turn, can help increase Hawaii’s food security.”

“Thanks to the Board of Agriculture for recognizing the potential of Nile tilapia to sustain the growth of freshwater aquaculture and aquaponics in Hawaii,” stated Mr. Mencher. “Thanks also to the farmers, researchers, and organizations who wrote testimony and attended hearings during this long process.”

Other farmers who presented testimony at the meeting included Romy Aguinaldo from Romy’s Kahuku Shrimp and Prawns, Fred Lau from Mari’s Gardens, David Morgan from Kualoa Ranch, and Glenn Martinez from Olomana Gardens. In addition, Dr. Andre Seale from UH CTAHR provided important testimony to clarify common misconceptions about Nile tilapia.

The proposed rule change will now go through due process and eventually be presented to the Governor for signature. The DOA Plant Quarantine Branch will establish the import permit conditions for aquaculture operations.

The aquaculture industry has been advocating for this rule change for decades, but some opposing groups expressed concerns about containment and claimed that O. niloticus is an invasive species. According to Mr. Iwai, “Hawaii’s perennial streams are not the ideal habitat for O. niloticus, which prefers calmer waters to grow, spawn, and reproduce.  They are not and should not be considered invasive.” Furthermore, O. niloticus is not a saltwater tolerant species and therefore does not pose a risk to the marine environment.

It is well known that hybrid O. niloticus stocks have been maintained and cultivated in the state of Hawaii since introduction in the 1970’s and that feral populations are also present in streams, as Mr. Iwai explained during his testimony. “Given my background with DAR-AFRC, and over 45 years helping and working with fish farmers locally to develop the aquaculture industry in Hawaii, I can say with confidence that O. niloticus is already here in Hawaii; both in our “watershed” and being grown by aqua farmers. The movement of O. niloticus from the A to B listing will allow greater flexibility of interested aquafarmers in improving their existing stocks and encourage industry growth.”

In 2012, a CTSA study used DNA sequencing to confirm that captive and wild O. niloticus stocks already exist in Hawaii. “The recent CTSA project documenting the presence of Nile tilapia in multiple locations in the State provided a critical fondation for this important rule change,” added Mr. Weidenbach. 

A CTSA tilapia disease study set to begin this November will likely provide additional information on the prevalence of O. niloticus in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has prepared a Q & A fact sheet on O. niloticusclick here to download (pdf)

Sep 20, 2017

National Aquaculture Extension Conference Proceedings Available Online

Presentations and conference proceedings from the National Aquaculture Extension Conference, held June 6-8 in Idaho, are now available online. 41 oral and nine poster presentations are posted on the Western Regional Aquaculture Center (WRAC) website. Presentations are available in PDF and video formats.

Held approximately every five years since 1992, this unique conference has provided a forum for professional development and growth for all levels of experience and years of service in aquaculture extension education. This year’s conference was supported by WRAC and Sea Grant.

Included in the proceedings are presentations from CTSA researchers Miguel de los Santos and Dr. Harry Ako, who shared the results of their respective research and extension efforts in the Pacific Islands, and CTSA Information Specialist Meredith Brooks, who discussed the opportunities and challenges for aquaculture extension in the region.

Download the proceedings on the WRAC website or watch the video presentations on the WRAC YouTube channel

Aug 30, 2017

Regional e-Notes: August Letter from the Director

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

Aug 25, 2017

NOAA SK Funding Announcement & Grant Writing Training Sessions

NOAA Fisheries has announced the 2018 Saltonstall-Kennedy (SK) Grant competition is open for applications. The goal of the SK program is to fund projects that address the needs of fishing communities, optimize economic benefits by building and maintaining sustainable fisheries, and increase other opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable.

The FY18 solicitation seeks applications that fall into one of four priorities: 1) Marine Aquaculture, 2) Adapting to Environmental Changes and Other Long Term Impacts in Marine Ecosystem, 3) Promotion, Development, and Marketing, 4) Territorial Science. Pre-proposals are due via Grants.gov by 11:59 pm, Eastern Standard Time, October 10, 2017. Read more about the SK Grant Program and How to Apply.

NOAA is holding free one-day Effective Grant Writing training sessions and associated one-on-one grant review sessions (1.5 days total) at various locations across all the Hawaiian Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and American Samoa.

The topics to be covered include the fundamentals of good grant writing, common pitfalls and mistakes, preparing a grant application, overview of NOAA funding opportunities, pre-proposal process, and grant review process. The one-on-one review provides prospective grantees an opportunity to have grant writing experts review project narratives and/or pre-proposal letters.

Reservations are required since space is limited. To reserve your space, please email Janet Arrowood (the lead trainer) at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at least one week prior to the session you want to attend. Provide your name, email, telephone number, and organization. You will receive a reply email with location-specific
details and start/end times.

Training Dates and Locations

Sept. 5 & Sept. 6: Kona, Hawaii
Sept. 5 & Sept. 6: Kahului, Maui
Sept. 7 & Sept. 8 Hilo, Hawaii
Sept. 7 & Sept. 8: Lanai, Hawaii
Sept. 11 & Sept. 12: Honolulu, Hawaii
Sept. 11 & Sept. 12: Molokai, Hawaii
Sept. 13 & Sept.14: Pearl City, Hawaii
Sept. 15 & Sept. 18: Kauai, Hawaii
Sept. 21 & Sept. 22: Lahaina, Hawai
Sept. 25 & Sept. 26: Guam
Sept. 27 & Sept. 28: Saipan
Oct. 3 & Oct. 4: American Samoa

Aug 21, 2017

USDA Approves CTSA FY16 Plan of Work, New Projects Begin

The USDA recently approved the FY2016 Plan of Work, which includes funding for four new projects, one continuation project, and multi-year activities of three projects approved in previous Plans of Work.

The overall goals of the new project “Francisella noatunesis subsp. orientalis incidence and genetic assessment of feral Tilapia populations in Hawaii” are to determine the prevalence of Fno on islands other than Oahu, and to determine what species are infected and established in natural bodies of water in Hawaii. Francisellosis causes mortalities in temperate to tropical fish worldwide. In Hawaii, francisellosis has been linked to the large numbers of unexplained mortalities in cultured and feral populations of tilapia on Oahu. Molecular methods have identified the causative bacterium as Francisella noatunensis sp. orientalis (Fno). In an attempt to prevent the spread of the bacterium, the State of Hawaii Plant Quarantine Division issued a moratorium on exporting Oahu tilapia to the other Hawaiian Islands. However, it is unknown if Fno is present and/or the extent of its presence on the other Hawaiian Islands. To determine presence of Fno, tilapia will be euthanized with clove oil (Eugenol), necropsied, and examined with light microscopy. Samples of spleen will be collected for microbiological and histological detection of Fno. Additionally, spleen tissues will be submitted to Dr. David Weese at Georgia College and State University for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) screening. To identify the species that harbor the Fno DNA, fin clips will also be taken for PCR analysis. Deliverables of this research are two-fold. One deliverable will be to determine of the incidence of Fno in feral tilapia populations. A second focus is to detect the presence of tilapia species and their hybrids in multiple drainages on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Hawaii. 

The new project “Disease Prevalence Survey of Wild Mud Crab Populations in the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands” will aim to determine the prevalence of harmful pathogens in wild populations of mud crabs in the USAPI, as well as in mud crabs imported into the region. Furthermore, the population genetic structure of local mud crab populations will be assessed to help determine species and origin of specimens. Mud crabs, also known as “mangrove crabs”, are widely sought after in South America, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands for human consumption. Inability of local habitats or farms to meet increasing demand has forced some restaurant owners and other individuals in US-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) to import crabs from surrounding areas such as Southeast Asia and the Philippines. This poses an immediate risk for the introduction and spread of crustacean pathogens. Mud crabs not only carry pathogens affecting their own survival and reproduction, but they also carry pathogens that can infect other commercially valuable crustaceans, such as the Pacific white shrimp Litopenaneus vannamei. Accordingly, researchers at Palau Community College (PCC) are concerned about the movement of pathogens between mud crab populations. Researchers at Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University (OI-HPU) have a history of working with disease pathogen testing and population genetics, and thus these two institutions will collaborate to determine the prevalence of harmful pathogens and the genetic structure of regional crab populations. They will first collect samples from wild and imported mud crab populations in Palau, Guam, Saipan, Pohnpei and Kosrae. They will then use established protocols to test for white spot syndrome virus (WSSV), Taura syndrome virus (TSV) and mud crab reovirus (MCRV). Their final objective is to develop microsatellite markers for use in mud crab and characterize the genetic structure in populations across the Pacific islands.

Also in Palau, the project “Testing the feasibility of Open Ocean Cage Culture of Grouper in Palau” will test the feasibility of grouper cage culture in Palau, with particular focus on density, growth rate, and FCR. Many tropical island communities have found that commercial fishing and export of seafood products are unsustainable in the long run, and can lead to decline of wild fish and invertebrate assemblages, imbalance of coral reef communities, and steadily declining incomes for fishermen and their families. Palau recently passed a law that forbids commercial fishing and export of reef fish species. They have established marine protected areas, strict controls of domestic fishing, and are looking to aquaculture to provide the products for export of their valuable reef species. However, additional research is needed to determine the feasibility of commercial cage culture of popular species, such as grouper, in Palau. Therefore, this project will obtain grouper fingerlings from the CTSA coral grouper hatchery project at the Palau Community College, or the National hatchery (Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center) to stock and monitor in deep water cages in Palau. The project will stock one cage with 4,000 grouper and a second cage with 1,000 grouper (12 KG and 3 KG /m3 at final harvest respectively) to see what effect stocking density has upon fish growth and time to market.  This density falls in the range of some other cultured species such as cobia and mutton snapper that have been tested in the past. The project will also conduct a market test live shipment to Hong Kong to determine the costs and feasibility of selling the grouper to that high price market.

The overall goals of the project “Cost-Effective, Local Aquatic Feeds for Carnivorous and Omnivorous Fish with Varying Physical Characteristics” are to develop cost-effective feed formulations using locally sourced ingredients with varying physical characteristics (i.e. sinking or floating pellets), and to evaluate these feeds in a carnivorous fish (‘moi’ - Polydactylus sexfilis) and an omnivorous fish (‘Nile tilapia’ - Oreochromis niloticus). For the omnivorous fish, the diets’ formulation assessed will be based on local feed developed from previous CTSA-funded research. Feed cost in aquaculture, when combined with increasing costs of fishmeal and fish oil, presents a formidable challenge for feed mill operators and fish farmers, and there is strong incentive to identify alternative ingredients to reduce feed cost.  Understanding the effectiveness of alternative feed ingredients and feed pellet physical characteristics on a commercial scale is essential for the economic viability and sustainability of the local, regional, and global aquaculture industry. For over a decade, Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University (OI) and University of Hawaii (UH) researchers have identified and analyzed potential feed ingredients from the Pacific region. With previous CTSA funding, important advances in the development of feed for moi and tilapia have been made, but no study have been conducted on the variation of extruded pellets physical characteristics (i.e. sinking or floating pellets) of diets formulated with local ingredients and their impact on fish production. Thus, additional research is needed to make a more cost-effective local diet that promotes good growth and survival, and is optimized to match the fish’s favored feeding behavior. In addition, the development of local feeds for other important aquaculture species cultured in the Pacific region (e.g. kahala, shrimp, and abalone) are important next steps for the expansion of local agriculture and aquaculture sectors in the region. Accordingly, this research will be focusing on developing local feeds for carnivorous and omnivorous fish, with two extruded pellet physical characteristics (sinking vs. floating) utilizing moi and Nile tilapia as models for a carnivorous and an omnivorous species, respectively.

Aug 11, 2017

Economic Study Finds NRAC Funding Grows the Northeast Aquaculture Industry

From 2005 to 2014, the Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC) invested $4.1 million in 32 aquaculture research and extension projects. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the University of New Hampshire conducted an evaluation of these projects to assess: their economic impact on the aquaculture industry and overall economies in the Northeast; their effectiveness in solving problems confronting the aquaculture industry; and their effectiveness in securing other research grants.

The assessment found that money invested in the 32 NRAC-funded projects reviewed has benefitted regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP), job growth, and state and local tax revenues. A modest investment of just over $4 million resulted in an increase of almost $79 million in GDP of NRAC states and 777 new jobs, as well as over $4 million in state and local tax revenues and over $9.5 million in federal tax revenues.

The evaluation involved three surveys: one with NRAC project leaders; a second with the research, extension, and industry collaborators who were part of the design and implementation of NRAC projects; and the third with representatives from the aquaculture industry through-out the Northeast region. Data from these surveys were used in an estimation of the economic impact of the NRAC-funded projects in the region and in individual states using an IMPLAN input-output model. A content analysis of publications was conducted to understand how widely NRAC studies are disseminated.

Download the fact sheet (PDF)
Download the final report (PDF)

Jul 28, 2017

Regional e-Notes: July Letter from the Director

Aloha!

Earlier this month, CTSA held it’s annual Industry Advisory Council and Technical Committee meeting to discuss and vote on the pre-proposals we received in response to our FY17 Request for Proposals. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members who participated in this critical part of our development process. We appreciate those members who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring our funding dollars are well spent.

Each year, I start the meeting by reminding our panel about their responsibility to evaluate each proposed project based on it’s potential positive impacts to regional aquaculture production and industry development. I also encourage them to treat the allocation of CTSA research dollars as if they are writing a check from their own personal account. Considering the limited budget of our program, CTSA strives to support projects that will have immediate or near-future applicable results and a maximum return on our investment.

The pre-proposals selected by members at this year’s meeting will now be asked to submit full proposals that include specific revisions based on the meeting discussion. The comments and suggestions provided by the panel are shared with PI’s in an effort to create the strongest possible full proposal based on the general idea of the original pre-proposal. We look forward to this next step in our process, and to reviewing the full proposals when they are due in September.

As always, we welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.

Mahalo,

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

Jul 20, 2017

Development of Practical Local Feeds to Support Sustainable Aquaculture in Hawaii & Pacific Islands

by Dr. Zhi Yong Ju, Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University

There is currently no local feed production for aquaculture in Hawaii and the Pacific region. The recently completed two-year CTSA project “Development of Practical Local Feeds to Support Sustainable Aquaculture in Hawaii and Other Pacific Islands” aimed to classify available ingredients in the region and determine which, if any, can be successfully used in a local aquaculture feeds.

Table 1

The first objective of the project was to establish a nutritional database in the FeedServer data center of the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University Aquatic Feeds & Nutrition Dept. This database holds all analyzed nutritional results for the local ingredients shown in Table 1, which include commercial feed ingredients such as fish meals from American Samoa and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), macroalgae byproducts (defatted haematococcus & spirulina), copra meal and cassava from RMI, and potential feed ingredients such as fishery byproducts, duck weed, azolla, salvinia, taro, and dehydrated food waste, among others. Analyzed nutritional composition includes dry matter, crude protein, crude lipid, ash, gross energy, amino acid and fatty acid profiles. Carotenoid pigments were also analyzed for macroalgae ingredients.

An apparent digestibility study was conducted for processed tilapia diets by adding 30% each of selected ingredients including defatted algae, cassava, and wheat bran to the OI reference diet for tilapia. The results found that defatted haematococcus by-product has the potential to be used as a protein ingredient, but with lower apparent digestibility rates on dry matter, crude protein and gross energy in comparison to the control diet. For two carbohydrate ingredients, cassava and wheat bran, the latter had lower apparent digestibility rates on dry matter and gross energy when compared against the former, and both had lower crude protein and lower energy digestibility than the control diet. The diet with cassava displayed the highest apparent digestibility for dry matter and gross energy among all diets, and the reference diet showed the best digestibility for crude protein.

RMI Fishmeal

An apparent digestibility trial was also conducted for processed shrimp diets by adding 30% each of local ingredients to OI reference diet for white shrimp.  Seven diets were formulated and processed by either OI triple-pass steaming pelleting method or OI modified pelleting method.  These diets mainly included three low price local ingredients: RMI fishmeal (pictured), copra meal, and defatted haematococcus. The two processing methods of OI were used to check if the methods have different effects on digestibility and growth performance of shrimp. Results from three repetitive tanks for each local ingredient diet showed that RMI fishmeal had apparent digestibility coefficients of 59.7% for dry matter and 76.0% for crude protein. Defatted haematococcus and copra meal had apparent digestibility coefficients of 58.8% and 56.4% for dry matter and 80.6% and 80.1% for crude protein, respectively, in comparison to the control diet with apparent digestibility coefficients of 62.9% for dry matter and 87.1% for crude protein.  The lower local fishmeal apparent digestibility coefficients than commercial fishmeal (control diet) could be due to the quality of the fishmeal product after processing and its higher ash content,16% versus 11%, respectively. The defatted haematococcus and copra meal also showed higher crude protein digestibility than the local fishmeal.

Upon completion of ingredient analysis, the second objective of the project was to develop scientifically sound feed formulations based on the local ingredients for tilapia and white shrimp. A tilapia diet was formulated using 94% local ingredients and processed at the OI feed mill. An 8-week feeding trial was conducted on juvenile tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) in 3-repitive freshwater and saltwater tanks in 2014. Results showed that specific growth rates of tilapia were 3.62 % /day in freshwater and 3.71 % /day in saltwater for the local-made diet; commercial feed achieved better growth rates probably because it contained higher protein and gross energy (44.0% and 4,628 Cal/g) than the tested diet (39.1% and 4,426 Cal/g).

Table 2

Six shrimp diets were formulated and processed mainly using local ingredients for growth performance based on the previous growth trial and digestibility test. A 12-wk indoor feeding trial was completed for the six local diets plus a commercial Rangen feed on juvenile shrimp with three replicate tanks for each diet. This test obtained excellent shrimp growth rates (Table 2). All diets achieved over or equal to 1.0g/wk of growth, perhaps due to the utilization of black plastic tanks for the test. Many tests in previous years have used transparent glass tanks, and shrimp growth rates were generally less than 1.0 g/wk. The black tank provided a dark environment and might have reduced stress in shrimp and increase animal’s activity, which showed to be beneficial to shrimp growth.  Local diet-2 had similar protein content as commercial feed, and obtained higher weekly growth than the control and other local diets that had lower protein content, and contained the same local ingredients. The control diet was formulated with all commercial ingredients including Menhaden fishmeal and displayed the best growth performance in this trial.  In this trial, the pre-treatment (grinding) of the haematococcus, as well as the drying method (cold versus heat drying), did not show significant statistical differences on the shrimp growth performance.

haematococcus

The tilapia diet and shrimp diet were formulated mainly using readily available local ingredients from Hawaii and the Pacific region that are in the proper condition for use in OI’s Feeds Research and Pilot Production Facility.  The microalgae co-products, defatted Haematococcus (pictured) and Spirulina (estimated cost =$0.45/lb) are being produced in Kona, Hawaii; fishmeal (0.52/lb), cassava meal ($0.20/lb) and copra meal ($0.07/lb) were from the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).  The tilapia diet for the ingredient cost was estimated to be $0.40/lb and the shrimp diet-2 for the ingredient cost was calculated to be $0.45/lb. These trials demonstrated that using the local commercial feed ingredients offers a competitive price for local aquafeed development.

Table 3

Once the feeds were formulated, the next objective of the project was to develop a calibration library of nutrient information for Near-Infrared spectroscopy system (NIR) as a fast and inexpensive tool to measure nutritional parameters in local ingredients and feeds. Four abundant and low-cost ingredients (local RMI fishmeal. copra meal, defatted Haematococcus and Spirulina) and commercial Menhaden fishmeal were repetitively analyzed for proximate composition using traditional chemistry methods recommended by AOAC, these ingredients were then subjected to NIR analysis; results are shown in Table 3. By matching the results based on NIR scan and chemistry methods, proximate results from NIR were adjusted and calibrated. A calibration library for the local ingredients was established for further analysis with NIR and several ingredients have been successfully analyzed by NIR method based on our current calibration according to the results of Nutritional Biochemistry lab. 

The final objectives of this project were to disseminate project results and organize workshops to provide training and research updates on local feeds production for farmers, producers or researchers in Hawaii and the Pacific region. A local feed workshop was organized at the Oceanic Institute of HPU. Over 30 people including farmers, researchers, administrators, students and ingredient producers attended the workshop. Another workshop was organized in the Republic of the Marshall Islands by CTSA, ATMI, and OI, and was attended by local aquaculture workers. The project Principal Investigator presented research results on the nutritional composition of local feed ingredients and their application in shrimp and tilapia diets at both workshops. In addition, posters and abstracts were presented at the World Aquaculture Society conference in Las Vegas and regional feed meetings. 

The establishment of local feed formulations is an important step towards achieving regional feed production goals. Utilization of local ingredients or byproducts will help the local aquaculture industry become independent of imported feeds and/or ingredients. The knowledge gained from this project will be useful for further research on tropical aquatic feed production.

Jul 14, 2017

Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV): What You Need to Know

Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) is a virus that poses a significant health threat worldwide to Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus and hybrid tilapia (O. niloticus x O. aureus). TiLV is in the influenza virus family, Orthomyxoviridae. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is reviewing TiLV to include on its finfish disease list because of the impact it has had on global tilapia production, and the high risk of the virus being moved by infected fish.

TiLV affects fingerling tilapia with reported death rates in affected populations as high as 90%. Older animals may have a lower mortality rate. Handling stress (i.e., moving fish between ponds) appears to be a significant risk factor for outbreaks. The virus survives in both fresh and brackish water. Direct fish to fish transmission is an important route of infection. There is no information on vertical transmission (parent to offspring).

Download the full TiLV Information Sheet

Jun 29, 2017

Regional e-Notes: June Letter from the Director

Aloha,

At the beginning of this month, I along with a cohort of CTSA staff and researchers traveled to Boise, Idaho to attend the National Aquaculture Extension Conference. The conference takes place every four to five years (with funding support from the Regional Aquaculture Center Program), and offers a great opportunity to learn from and network with aquaculture extension experts from across the country.

I am proud of the presentations by members of the CTSA group. Dr. Harry Ako gave a presentation on his CTSA-funded aquaponics research and extension efforts, and many attendees expressed interest in the technology and future collaboration. His work was even featured in a national news alert from NIFA following the conference! Miguel de los Santos presented on his ongoing work with mangrove crabs, milkfish, rabbitfish and other species at Palau Community College, while Meredith Brooks shared results of the various CTSA extension efforts across our region, including our in-house publications project. Their presentations also attracted the attention of conference participants, with many approaching our group to learn more about CTSA activities throughout our region. I am thankful to the three of them for a job well done.

It was nice to see a positive reaction to our current and most recent extension activities by the national aquaculture extension community. The aquaculture industry in our region is still small but we have to do our best to secure our seafood using sustainable farming practices. I also enjoyed participating in and am thankful for group discussions about other ways we can achieve our regional extension goals. CTSA no longer has a dedicated extension agent like we did for the first twenty years of our program; nor do many of our institutional partners throughout the region. We rely primarily on our researchers, staff and other stakeholders to carry out this vital aspect of developing a robust aquaculture industry, and we welcome and encourage suggestions to do so in the most effective way.

Mahalo,

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

Jun 21, 2017

Mid­-Year Update on Ongoing CTSA Projects

CTSA Midterm Progress Reports are due at the beginning of June each year. Although these reports are not as detailed as the annual progress reports due in November, they provide important insight to the status of ongoing research. The following is a summary of progress from some of CTSA’s ongoing projects:

At the Oceanic Institute, the project “Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture of Shrimp and Sea Cucumbers for Nutrient Recycling, Sludge Reduction, and Creation of Additional Revenue Streams” is investigating Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), where “waste” nutrients from a “fed” species is taken up and incorporated into the biomass of another commercially valuable “extractive” species. Such a management strategy improves nutrient use efficiency, reduces waste volume and disposal costs, and creates an additional revenue stream. The current project investigates an IMTA approach using sea cucumbers to digest waste produced from shrimp production systems. To date, researchers have collected, quarantined and PCR-screened several sea cucumbers. It was determined that two species, H. atra and A. mauritiana, could be collected in sufficient numbers for Year 1 trials. To investigate growth, survival, and sludge processing capability of these species, 48, 1.5-m3 mesocosm tanks with a sand layer on the bottom were used.  A high-density (350 shrimp/m2) RAS shrimp trial was carried out to provide sludge for sea cucumber trials.  Average survival rates for H. atra and A. mauritiana were 43.8% and 4.2%, respectively. A. mauritiana was determined to be unsuitable for future trials relying on wild caught specimens. No significant differences were detected in specific growth rates between H. atra treatments. However, this species was observed actively feeding during the course of the trial, and guts of specimens from Sludge and Algamac treatments were found to contain sand and algal matter, respectively.  This shows that animals were feeding on RAS sludge (and Algamac) and potentially growing (converting RAS waste into biomass). More detailed results from this ongoing project will be presented in a forthcoming issue of e-Notes.

Also at the Oceanic Institute, researchers working on the project “Potential of Black Soldier Fly as a Feed Ingredient to Support Hawaiian Aquaculture,” have determined the nutritional profile of raw Black Soldier fly larvae, including fatty acid and amino acid profiles, mineral, fiber, and proximate contents. This data will be very helpful in evaluating Black Soldier Fly’s potential as a feed supplement for local aquaculture feed production in Hawaii. Year 2 of this project will highly benefit from the data that was obtained during Year 1. A complete summary of Year 1 activities will be shared in a forthcoming issue of Regional e-Notes.

Across the island at the University of Hawaii, and in collaboration with the Oceanic Institute, the project “Utilization of local agri­processing by­products to produce fungal protein for aquatic feed production” is similarly looking into alternative aquatic feed ingredients. Microbial protein such as fungi biomass production on low­cost feedstock has gained significant attention due to cost effectiveness and long­term sustainability. Filamentous fungi, Rhizopus oligosporus is an ideal organism for animal feed applications due to its edible nature. This project is aiming to maximize the yield of edible fungus, R. oligosporus, on molasses, damaged papaya and taro wastes, and to develop a cost effective fungal biomass production process.  Thus far, samples of the fungal biomass have been produced in the UH lab, and proximate contents and amino acid and fatty acid profiles have been analyzed. From that analysis, researchers have determined that the fungal biomass is a valuable feed ingredient for replacement of fishmeal in aquafeed. The project will now begin Year 2 activities to scale-up the process and replicate trials.

PACRC in Hilo is continuing work on the project “Assuring Oyster Seed Supply for Hawai`i and the West Coast.” During this reporting period, work continued to develop methods to produce tetraploid oysters using a diploid male by triploid female cross with treatment with 6-DMAP. Dr. Ximing Guo made a second trip to Hawaii from Feb, 27-March 3, 2017 to assist with improving the tetraploid induction results and assist with improving the flow cytometry methods. So far, the work group has conducted inductions in 106 groups of larvae as part of this research. They currently have 25 induction groups which have been combined according to the percentage of tetraploids and these are being reared batches split between the Hawaiian Shellfish LLC nursery and the PACRC nursery (pictured). Batches have been split to avoid losing a complete batch if a mistake is made in the nursery phase. They continue to conduct inductions 1-2 times per week, depending on the tank space available in the two hatcheries.

Please note, several ongoing CTSA projects are not included in this summary; these projects were either recently featured in e­notes, will be featured in the near future, or do not yet have significant results to report. Detailed results for all CTSA-funded projects will be presented in our Annual Progress Report, released each December on the CTSA website. If you have any questions about our ongoing projects and/or reports, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).