Group from Micronesia explores possibilities of aquaculture

  • STEPHANIE SALMONS/Tribune-Herald Andy George, executive director of the Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization, speaks with University of Hawaii at Hilo fish research specialist Richard Masse at UH-Hilo’s Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center.

Fisheries officers from Kosrae, Micronesia, recently toured the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center to learn more about aquaculture efforts in Hawaii.

Andy George, executive director of the Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization and a graduate of UH-Hilo, visited the center with Bond Segal, marine Program manager for Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization, and Bruno Ned, administrator of the Division of Fisheries and Marine Resources in the Kosrae Department of Resources and Economic Affairs.

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George said the trio decided to visit Hawaii to learn about different ongoing aquaculture activities.

“We know that we can’t do all of them, we cannot replicate all of them in Micronesia, but we wanted to see what aspects of it can be applicable in Micronesia,” he said. “We have some ongoing aquaculture developments in Micronesia … We have partners who are doing a lot of good work on corals and on plants, but we also wanted to look at the community-based component.”

His organization is interested to see how it can help communities operate and manage small-scale aquaculture endeavors, so people can raise their own products that can be used as food security or create a learning activity for children, George explained.

“There’s always been an interest in aquaculture, but (Kosrae state) is expanding its focus on aquaculture, including my organization. We’re just venturing into aquaculture now … We’ve done conservation work in the past, but now we’re linking aquaculture to complement the ongoing conservation work that we do, to support the conservation efforts in the community.”

The Micronesian state’s government has plans to expand aquaculture activities as well.

“We already know what we have at the state level, what the potentials are and we’re here to learn as much possible for what kind of work you’re doing here that would be feasible for us to carry on at the state,” Ned said.

“I would say the trip is successful and we would like to, when we go back, look at the different things we have learned in Hawaii, on this trip as well as (from) other aquaculture (activities) in the region and see what works for us,” George said. “We’re really at the infancy stage now. This trip is really the first trip outside of Kosrae to start exploring possibilities for us.”

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They will now have to look at everything they’ve learned and create plan forward, he said.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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