Capacity Building and Training in Commercial Aquaculture for Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and American Samoa

Final Report for EW05-017

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2005: $90,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: Guam
Principal Investigator:
Dr. L. Robert (Bob) Barber, Jr.
University of Guam Cooperative Extension Service
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Project Information


The project included a tour of commercial aquaculture operations in Thailand, which has comparable environmental conditions and produces species important to the U.S. affiliated Pacific islands including; marine shrimp, freshwater prawns, tilapia and catfish. Information and video footage gathered on the tour were used to develop videos and workshop materials that are being used to conduct workshops for agricultural professionals and producers on Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. These video’s, workshop materials, photo gallery,and more are on the Guam Sustainable Agriculture Website for downloading and use by a global audience.

Project Objectives:

1) Conduct an inland aquaculture study tour with the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand, with lectures and visits to commercial aquaculture farms, research and hatchery facilities in Thailand
2) Provide training for extension, faculty, staff, and field personnel of Cooperative Extension, NRCS, FSA, and other USDA offices, farmers, and other agriculture/aquaculture professionals in Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) in commercial aquaculture grow-out and hatchery production techniques used in Asia suitable for our islands.
3) Produce training materials on aquaculture production methods appropriate for our islands
4) Produce videotapes and web based information on hatchery and small scale commercial aquaculture technologies utilizing materials gathered in Thailand.
5) Conduct workshops in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and American Samoa to disseminate information to government agencies and other farmers.


In Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and American Samoa most seed-stock are imported, primarily from Asian countries or Hawaii. Local hatchery production would reduce the risk of disease introduction. The number of species/enterprises under aquacultural production on our islands are limited, primarily consisting of tilapia and shrimp sold to the fresh market. Feeds are imported, despite having waste products on our island that could serve as potential feedstocks, the feeds represent a significant cost in the production process. Other species and production methods that have potential for the American affiliated Pacific island are produced by well developed sustainable industries supporting the small producers in Thailand, also present in Thai production systems are the use of local feeds.

This project contributed to the knowledge base of Extension personnel concerned with aquaculture production and representative farmers in our islands by allowing them to see first-hand these enterprises and production methods. The farmer to farmer and aquaculture professional to professional interactions were encouraged throughout the tour often by staying at sites longer than anticipated resulting field trips not ending until late in the evening.


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  • Ross Manglona
  • Darren Okimoto

Education & Outreach Initiatives



Three methods were used in this project, study tour of Aquaculture in Thailand, identification of existing resources on backyard aquaculture for our islands and development of supporting workshop materials and videos, workshops were conducted and will continue to be conducted on each island group to promote aquaculture production.
A study tour team consisting of agricultural professionals concerned with aquaculture development and representative farmers/aquacultural producers from each island was sent on a two week study tour of Thailand aquaculture operations. The tour group was hosted by the Asian Institute of (AIT) in Bangkok. AIT faculty used the first days of the tour to conduct lectures (many now online at that provided an overview to the aquaculture industries in Thailand and current production methods. This was followed by a week and a half of field trips that provided an in depth peer to peer survey of aquaculture production in Thailand.
Four issues were identified as key to promoting aquaculture on our islands; promoting backyard/small systems for new producers to learn on and experiment with new species, development of small local hatcheries for tilapia and other promising species, increase species diversification in our island aquaculture industries, and develop local feed sources. The first two (backyard aquaculture and small hatchery development) were identified as the most promising to focus the outreach efforts of this project on. Workshop materials and videos were identified and developed to support these two outreach efforts.
Workshops on aquaculture issues including backyard aquaculture utilizing information and materials developed under this grant were held in Guam, the CNMI and American Samoa. The materials used in these workshops are on the Guam Sustainable Agriculture website for download and use by others.

Outreach and Publications

A earlier WSARE funded video was enhanced and put on DVD for use in the project workshops,

“Introduction to Recirculating Aquaculture Systems” available at (DVD included in report)

A new video was created and is available in DVD format or on the web (DVD included in report):
“Tilapia Hatcheries for Small Tropical Islands” available at

Two video recordings on Tilapia Sex reversal were put on the web and in DVD format:
“Presentation on Tilapia Sex Reversal” available at (DVD included in report): hatchery/sexreversal.html

Three sets of power points and a course outline were developed and put on the Guam Sustainable Agriculture website (copies included in report and on CD):
Outline: Aquaculture for small-scale producers on small tropical islands
System and Species Considerations and Setup
System Operation and Maintenance
Seed Stock Propagation

Web links to two backyard aquaculture manuals and other resources are on the Guam Sustainable Agriculture website.

Outcomes and impacts:

1) A group of agriculture/aquaculture professionals are better aware of production options that may fit our island contexts, and the current limitations of the aquaculture industries on our islands.
2) This multi island team of professionals and producers know each other and are comfortable with collaborating with each other as a result of the two weeks of personal contact during the tour and follow up trainings.
3) An introductory curriculum, supported by videos and powerpoints and web resources, on small backyard recirculating systems is available for these professionals to use in promoting small scale aquaculture enterprises on their islands.
4) Several new small systems are being developed on the islands as a result of the trainings offered and potential enterprises identified.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:
In the first year conducted an inland aquaculture study tour with the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand. This 10-day tour consisted of visits to commercial aquaculture farms, research and hatchery facilities in Thailand. The tour group consisted of 12 persons including extension personnel and farmers from the CNMI, Guam, and American Samoa and a media production specialist, to capture video and still photos. Soon after the tour workshops were conducted in the CNMI by tour participants. The PI retired in September of 2007. The first milestone since October 2007 was to appoint and have approved by WSARE a new PI. The second milestone was to write a letter of project status, apply for and receive a no cost extension. In the portion of a year since this no cost extension paperwork was completed, the third milestone was to assess all the deliverables of the project and re-initiate the contract to develop the videos (this involved a whole new bidding process). The fourth milestone was to identify the project video content and develop the script for the videos. The fifth milestone was to archive all the footage, screen it for use in videos, put the lectures online and put a photo archive online. A sixth milestone was to outline the contents of the curriculum materials to be developed for project workshops and begin curriculum development. In the final year the projects video work was completed this includes a video on Tilapia Hatcheries for Small Tropical Islands, Video of Presentations on Tilapia Sex Reversal, the project enhanced an earlier WSARE funded video on Recirculating Aquaculture Systems by adding a menu structure, and the Thailand raw video footage was archived onto 3 DVDs for project participants use in future educational material development. We also completed the preparation of workshop materials for a 12-hour backyard aquaculture course for tropical islands. These materials are based on two manuals: one from Florida “Guide to Backyard Aquaculture in Florida” by Donald W. Pybas & Frank J. Lawlor available at and; one from Hawaii “Backyard Aquaculture in Hawaii: A Practical Manual” by Jim Szyper available at these two manuals were selected to serve as texts for the workshop after evaluating online resources available on backyard aquaculture that focus on recirculating systems. It seemed more efficient to identify resources/manuals available online for free and then develop powerpoints and videos to enhance and offer adaptations to their content for the island context, rather than develop new manuals. The course materials and course content consist of these two manual, a course outline, powerpoints and videos to support two and a half days of lecture as well as a day of hands-on experience building a small backyard system. Two workshops were held during 2009 using these materials. One of these workshops was held on Guam in September for Guam agriculture professionals, farmer and Extension Educators from the College of Micronesia. A second workshop was held during the last week of December in American for Agriculture professional and farmers from American Samoa. The final version of these workshop materials will be put on the workshop during January or early February 2010. A second workshop for Guam is scheduled for March 2010.

Potential Contributions

1)In the target island groups a group of aquaculture professionals have received training and are competent in conducting trainings that contribute to the expansion of aquaculture on their islands.
2)A core curriculum for our islands is now available to help extension agents provide workshops that will also stimulate both commercial and small backyard aquaculture production on our islands.
3)Materials for a 12 hour backyard aquaculture course: Outline, Manuals, Powerpoints and Video’s are all now available online for use in future aquaculture trainings in the American Pacific.

Future Recommendations

Utilize the team/network built under this grant to prepare grants that address common issues in our aquaculture industries and to continue to provide training and support for existing efforts.

Conduct research and demonstrations, on each island, to increase species diversification in our island aquaculture industries (collaboratively seek funding where needed) and explore hatchery development for those islands lacking a hatchery.

Conduct research and demonstrations on the development of local sustainable feed sources for our islands (pursue grants where funding is needed).

Information Products

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.