UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant assist with aquaculture feasibility study with big implications for Guam’s future
The University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant have been tapped to assist in a feasibility study that explores the potential of aquaculture as a viable industry on the island.
Hawai’i-based aquaculture expert Jim Wyban spoke about the study at the monthly aquaculture stakeholders meeting on Thursday, Dec 9, at the UOG College of Natural and Applied Sciences.
The Guam Economic Development Authority commissioned Wyban to develop the study with funding support from the FY 2019 EDA Disaster Supplemental grant.
The “Guam Aquaculture Industry Feasibility Study” components include site analysis and a conceptual design for an aquaculture center, which would be the first of its kind on Guam.
While on Guam, Wyban worked with UOG Sea Grant aquaculture extension specialist David Crisostomo. They visited several potential sites for the center and conducted meetings with stakeholders.
“I am trying to learn as much as I can about aquaculture on Guam — what happened in the past and what’s possible for the future. In addition, we are looking at sites that are possibilities for this concept, which will be a Guam Aquaculture Innovation Center,” Wyban said.
He added that the facility would be like the Fadian hatchery but on a larger scale. “It is focused on innovation in aquaculture, using and demonstrating, adapting to and developing the newest technologies.”
Wyban said he is modeling the proposed facility to the Hawai’i Ocean Science and Technology Park. “Basically, it is a state-owned facility that subleases sites within the facility to commercial companies. There are like 35 aquaculture companies down there,” he said.
The park is administered by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai’i Authority, whose mission is to develop and diversify the Hawai’i economy by providing resources and facilities for energy and ocean-related research, education, and commercial activities in an environmentally sound and culturally sensitive manner.
At the meeting, several speakers also touched on the local and federal permitting requirements for an aquaculture business or facility on Guam. Wyban said that having a streamlined permitting process is crucial to attracting potential investors to the local aquaculture industry.
According to Wyban, the feasibility study will be completed by March 2022.
The UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant have been working to develop aquaculture opportunities on Guam, recently completing setup and fish introduction at the first community aquaculture system at Island Girl Power in Dededo.
The group has held training sessions with stakeholders and partners and plans to set up aquaculture systems at various community centers and non-profit organizations as a continuation of the program in the coming year.