3 November 2022

Growing Jack

HNFAS partners with Hawai‘i Sea Grant, HPU to improve local aquaculture

Growing Jack

The longfin yellowtails, or Almaco Jack, and locally known as kampachi, are among the most valuable finfish groups for offshore aquaculture development. Yet, they are notoriously difficult to rear and harvest on a large commercial scale.

At the same time, despite the shrimp industry’s massive volume – and the U.S. being a leader in shrimp genetics research – programs on genetic improvement have given little attention to shrimp egg and larvae production.

But with nearly $1.25 in new funding from NOAA Sea Grant, these staple food sources of many Pacific Basin nations may become easier to grow in the aquaculture setting.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoaʻs College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program (Hawaiʻi Sea Grant) have partnered with the Oceanic Institute of Hawaiʻi Pacific University on two NOAA Sea Grant-funded projects that aim to improve the reproduction of kampachi and Pacific white shrimp in the state.

One project will address the key barriers of kampachi production by focusing on improving egg quality, fecundity, and juvenile development. The other will use a genomic approach to improve the reproduction performance of shrimp, including laboratory experiments to assess and improve their genetic traits. 

“Through an integrated collaboration among university research, Extension, and industry partners, the results obtained through this proposed work will result in the facilitation and expansion of commercial development of these and related species,” says PI Andre P. Seale, PhD, of CTAHR’s Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences. “By addressing production constraints, this combined HPU and UH effort will contribute to increasing commercial production in Hawaiʻi.”

“This is a critical time for aquaculture, food security, and our ability to feed humans sustainability around the world,” adds Bradley (Kai) Fox, PhD, of Hawai‘i Sea Grant. “We are very fortunate to be able to collaborate with researchers at OI to push cutting-edge technologies with global relevance forward, while at the same time recognizing, appreciating, and learning from our host culture here in Hawaiʻi, where aquaculture has been practiced and refined for a thousand years.”

The funding is part of a nearly $14 million federal funding investment by NOAA Sea Grant to select Sea Grant programs around the country, including Hawai‘i Sea Grant, to strengthen U.S. aquaculture.

Read more of Andre’s project, “Resolving Impediments to Captive Longevity and Fecundity in Seriolids, America's Most Successful Offshore Marine Fish Species.”

Image of kamachi by Andre Seale.

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