Final report for EW18-006

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $70,447.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2021
Grant Recipient: Simon Ellis
Region: Western
State: Federated States of Micronesia
Principal Investigator:
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Project Information

Abstract:

This highly collaborative project seeks to transfer technology for sustainable, capture-based
aquaculture and hatchery rearing methods of Siganids to agriculture/aquaculture professionals,
extension agents, private sector aquaculture entrepreneurs and sustainable development NGO’s in
the Micronesia region. The project covers 2 islands in the FSM and one island in the RMI, making
it a multi-state effort. Participants from a minimum of 11 institutions will learn about sustainable
capture based farming practices for Siganids and a more select group will learn about hatchery
rearing methods for this same group of fishes. Follow up monitoring and training will take place
at all three sites for two years following the initial trainings. The project has significant
implications for sustainable aquaculture development, fisheries management, coral reef
conservation and rural agriculture/aquaculture livelihoods and nutrition.
Specific objectives are: 1. 4-day training for aquaculture professionals and producers at MERIP
in Pohnpei. Participants will travel from Kosrae and Majuro to Pohnpei where they will learn
about sustainable cage culture of Siganids.
2. Study tour for 3 personnel to Hawaii to train in marine fish hatchery techniques at the Pacific
Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center at the University of Hawaii (UHH-PACRC) in Hilo,
Hawaii.
3. Produce a simple, easy to ready pictorial manual on sustainable capture based aquaculture of
Siganids.
The project meets Western SARE goals in three specific ways as follows:
1. Promote good stewardship of the nation’s natural resources by providing site-specific, regional
and profitable sustainable aquaculture methods that satisfy human food and fiber needs and
conserve natural resources and fish and wildlife habitat.
2. Enhance the quality of life of aquaculture farmers by increasing income and employment,
especially profitable self-employment in agricultural and rural communities.
3. Promote crop, livestock and enterprise diversification.

Project Objectives:

The overall goal of this project is to transfer technology for sustainable, capture-based
aquaculture and hatchery rearing methods of Siganids to agriculture/aquaculture
professionals, extension agents, private sector aquaculture entrepreneurs and sustainable
development NGO’s.
Specific objectives are as follows:
1. 4-day training for aquaculture professionals and producers at MERIP in Pohnpei.
Participants will travel from Kosrae and Majuro to Pohnpei where they will learn about
sustainable cage culture of Siganids.
2. Study tour for 3 personnel to Hawaii to train in marine fish hatchery techniques at the
Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center at the University of Hawaii (UHHPACRC)
in Hilo, Hawaii.
3. Produce a simple, easy to ready pictorial manual on sustainable capture based
aquaculture of Siganids.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Andre Seale (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

The educational approach adopted for this project is primarily experiential learning.  A single, 3-day, workshop has been conducted to date which included Powerpoint presentations, hands-on demonstrations, and field visits to farms.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Sustainable Capture-based Aquaculture of Siganids (rabbitfishes).
Objective:

Transfer sustainable capture-based aquaculture technologies for rabbitfishes to resource personnel and extension officers from Pohnpei and Kosrae, FSM and Majuro, RMI.
Objective 1. 3-day training for aquaculture professionals and producers at MERIP in Pohnpei. Participants will travel from Kosrae and Majuro to Pohnpei where they will learn about sustainable cage culture of Siganids.

Description:

The workshop ran over a 3-day period as opposed to the stated 4 days in the plan of work.  After an assessment of material to be presented it was decided by the management team that only a 3 day workshop was warranted.

  The agenda was as follows and presentations and photographs are attached:

Feeds-and-Feeding Progess-in-Capture-Techniques Rabbitfish-biology-and-suitability-for-aquaculture Site-selection-and-cages Sustainable-capture-of-Siganids Water-quality Workshop-Intro-1 Rabbitfish-workshop-sign-in-6.26.18 Rabbitfish-workshop-sign-in-6.27.18 Rabbitfish-workshop-sign-in-6.28.18

Day 1.  June 26th, 2018

Morning venue – CLTC conference room (next to church on paved road at PATS)

9.00 a.m.  Welcome remarks and participant introductions

9.10 a.m.  Workshop purpose and introduction presentation

9.20 a.m.  Introduction to rabbitfish biology and suitability for aquaculture.

10.00 a.m.  The theory behind sustainable capture-based aquaculture of reef fishes.

10.45 a.m.  Progress on capture techniques of post-larval rabbitfishes in Pohnpei.  Lessons learned. 

11.15.  Land-based demonstration of nets used and netting techniques.

1.00 p.m.  Boats depart from MERIP for field visit to capture site and hands on net deployment training.

4.00 p.m.  Boats return to MERIP

Day 2.  June 27th, 2018

9.00 a.m.  Recap of day 1 and introduction to activities.

9.15 a.m.  Site selection for aquaculture of rabbitfishes and types of cages suitable for culture.

9.45 a.m.  Feeds and feeding of rabbitfish.  Lessons learned and constraints.

10.15 a.m.  Water quality parameters affecting stocking densities and growth of rabbitfish.

11.00 a.m.  Demonstration of cage construction and materials used

1.00 p.m.  Boats depart from MERIP for visit to demonstration rabbitfish cages for hands on feeding demonstration and cage site location. 

3.00 p.m.  Boats return to MERIP.

Day 3.  June 28th, 2018. 

9.00 a.m.  Introduction to MERIP’s goals and activities.

10.00 a.m.  Tour of MERIP land-based facilities.

11.00 a.m.  Boats depart for tour of local farms for sponges, giant clams and corals. 

12.30 a.m.  Field based BBQ and refreshments.

3.30 p.m.  Boats return to MERIP. 

Outcomes and impacts:

Extension professionals, researchers, farmers, NGO staff and agency personnel all participated in the workshop and the knowledge and capacity for these individuals to conduct outreach or implement sustainable capture and grow-out of Siganids has been increased. 

Sustainable Capture-based Aquaculture of Siganids (rabbitfishes).
Objective:

Transfer sustainable capture-based aquaculture technologies for rabbitfishes to resource personnel and extension officers from Pohnpei and Kosrae, FSM and Majuro, RMI.
Objective 2. Study tour for 3 personnel to Hawaii to train in marine fish hatchery techniques at the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center at the University of Hawaii (UHH-PACRC) in Hilo, Hawaii. 

Description:

The study tour took place during the week of Nov 11, 2019 with 3 people attending: Simon Ellis, the project PI; one person from Majuro; and one person from Kosrae.  A further 3 MERIP staff were sponsored for the same event using funds from a NOAA Fisheries Saltonstall Kennedy grant.  The agenda for the week was as follows:

Sunday 10th November.  Attendees arrive Hilo 5.30 am.  Rest and settle in. 

Monday 11th November.  Morning 7.30 until noon.  Rotifer culture using algae paste.

Afternoon.  Facilities tour.

Tuesday 12th November.  Morning 7.30 until noon. Artemia culture and enrichment.

Afternoon.  Plumbing and facility design

Wednesday 13th November.  All day field visit to NELHA aquaculture facilities in Kona.  Tour included finfish, abalone and shellfish farms. 

Thursday 14th November.  Morning 7.30 am until noon.  Broodstock management.  Wrap up.

Afternoon. Closing meeting and wrap up.

Participants leave from Hilo Thursday afternoon for overnight in Honolulu.

Friday 7 am.  Depart for home islands. 

A Google Drive containing presentations, training materials and photographs was shared with WSARE staff.

Outcomes and impacts:

Extension professionals, researchers, farmers, NGO staff and agency personnel all participated in the workshop and the knowledge and capacity for these individuals to conduct hatchery work for marine fish has been increased.  At time of writing this report there has been no specific follow up to determine if anyone is using the information provided. 

In March 2020 a follow up visit is scheduled by a PACRC live feeds specialist to Pohnpei to assist with setting up a pilot scale hatchery for Siganids and to conduct follow up training. 

Sustainable Capture-based Aquaculture of Siganids (rabbitfishes).
Objective:

Transfer sustainable capture-based aquaculture technologies for rabbitfishes to resource personnel and extension officers from Pohnpei and Kosrae, FSM and Majuro, RMI.
Objective 3. Produce a simple, easy to ready pictorial manual on sustainable capture based aquaculture of Siganids

Description:

AA-1 Final 7.19

Following the training workshop in June of 2018 a collaboration was formed with Dr. Andre Seale from the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa to produce the article.  Dr. Seale is an award winning photographer and CTAHR assisted with the layout of the publication.  This objective is now completed. 

Outcomes and impacts:

This publication link has been distributed widely to our extension and practitioner network.  At time of writing this report no feedback has been obtained.

Sustainable Capture-based Aquaculture of Siganids (rabbitfishes).
Objective:

Extension event not related to any objective.

Field visit to MERIP by WSARE and College of Micronesia staff in May 2019

Description:

In May 2019, a team of WSARE staff and College of Micronesia staff and students made a one day visit to MERIP to visit the facility and field site.  A presentation was made to the group and a site visit was made to the pilot rabbitfish farm in the lagoon.  A copy of the presentation made is attached. 

WSARE Presentation 2019 copy

Outcomes and impacts:

WSARE staff and College of Micronesia representatives were able to learn more about rabbitfish farming potential and to see first hand the farm sites and also understand the local and cultural context of aquaculture development in the region.

Sustainable Capture-based Aquaculture of Siganids (rabbitfishes).
Objective:

Follow up visits to Majuro and Kosrae to update stakeholders on recent events, increase outreach and evaluate any impacts or outputs

Description:

In October 2019 the project PI Simon Ellis traveled to Majuro RMI and Kosrae FSM to conduct further outreach and to follow up with participants from the June 2018 workshop.  A presentation was prepared and delivered in both locations.  Status Rabbitfish farming 10 2019 copy.

In Majuro consultations were conducted with the following:

Ryan Mursashige, director of Atoll Tropical Mariculture Incorporated (ATMI) a commercial finfish operator.

Sergio Bolasina, College of Micronesia Land Grant aquaculture specialist.

Florence Edwards, Marshall Islands Marine Resource Authority

Max Sudnovsky, College of the Marshall Islands instructor and University of Hawaii Sea Grant representative.

In Kosrae consultations were conducted with:

Martin Selch, owner of private sector mariculture farm

Andy George, director of Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization

Bruno Ned, director of Kosrae State Department of Fisheries.

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants were updated on recent changes to capture and culture techniques for rabbitfishes and new individuals who are directly able to use this information were informed of the potential for this type of aquaculture. 

Ryan Murashige mentioned he intended to trial this method of capture in Majuro where he has been trying to culture larvae of Siganus argenteus with no success.

Bruno Ned collaborated with the PI Simon Ellis on a short proposal to include this type of farming in Kosrae marine resources workplan in 2020. 

Sustainable Capture-based Aquaculture of Siganids (rabbitfishes).
Objective:

Extension event not related to any objective.

Single (1) day workshop for local community members to engage new farmers of sustainably captured rabbitfishes

Description:

On May 31, 2019 a single day training was held for 10 prospective new farmers.  A short report with photographs is attached.  Farmer workshop 5.31.19.  Farmers have since been working with MERIP staff on a rotating basis to learn about day to day hands on operations. 

Outcomes and impacts:

10 community members are now aware of the benefits of capture based farming of Siganids. 

Sustainable Capture-based Aquaculture of Siganids (rabbitfishes).
Objective:

Extension event not related to any objective.

Single day training event for 4 staff from College of Micronesia Land Grant

Description:

On June 21, 2020, MERIP staff provided training to staff from the College of Micronesia Land Grant aquaculture staff.  Four Land Grant staff received in the field training on how to capture fish and cage husbandry.

Outcomes and impacts:

Four extension personnel from College of Micronesia Land Grant are now able to capture and rear rabbitfishes and able to provide training to others.

Sustainable Capture-based Aquaculture of Siganids (rabbitfishes).
Objective:

Extension event not related to any objective.

Single day workshop for community members on capturing newly settled rabbitfishes

Description:

On May 28, 2020, a single day workshop was conducted for community members to provide training on capture of newly settled rabbitfishes.

Outcomes and impacts:

Seven community members are now better able to capture fish to stock their cages

Sustainable Capture-based Aquaculture of Siganids (rabbitfishes).
Objective:

Transfer sustainable capture-based aquaculture technologies for rabbitfishes to resource personnel and extension officers from Pohnpei and Kosrae, FSM and Majuro, RMI.
Activity related to Objective 2. Study tour for 3 personnel to Hawaii to train in marine fish hatchery techniques at the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center at the University of Hawaii (UHH-PACRC) in Hilo, Hawaii.

Description:

In March 2020, Sydney Gamaio, a hatchery specialist from UHH-PACRC was able to visit Pohnpei for 9 days to provide technical assistance and further training to MERIP staff on hatchery technology for rearing rabbitfishes.

Outcomes and impacts:

Seven MERIP staff who are extension personnel were better trained on hatchery rearing methods for rabbitfishes.

Educational & Outreach Activities

9 Consultations
1 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
6 On-farm demonstrations
3 Tours
15 Webinars / talks / presentations
4 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

15 Extension
5 Researchers
10 Nonprofit
7 Agency
14 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

42 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
2 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

5 Grants received that built upon this project
4 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

Following the workshop in 2018, efforts have been underway to engage new farmers.  Ten new farmers are presently working on the pilot farm on a rotational basis.  There was considerable interest from researchers and practitioners in Majuro and Kosrae during a site visit in 2019. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 restricted further travel within the region but there has been interaction with interested parties. The Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs has granted a $75,000 award to Kosrae State Fisheries to develop rabbitfish farming in Kosrae based on work conducted under this grant.  MERIP staff will be involved in training and during 2021 for this award.  Work will also continue in Pohnpei with 3 new farm sites under development in 2021 with assistance from MERIP and funding from The Nature Conservancy.

4 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
12 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Success stories:

Overall this project had a number of positive outcomes that led to substantial program building and collaborations and a growing interest in capture-based rabbitfish farming. The workshop in Pohnpei led to a very positive collaboration with the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Hawaii Sea Grant.  Personnel from these agencies attended the workshop in June 2018.  As a result, a collaborative extension publication was produced and published and MERIP later participated in a grant application that led to a 3-year aquaculture development grant, providing some funding to MERIP to continue the rabbitfish farming program. In 2019, the study tour to UHH-PACRC also led to strong collaborative program building and a collaborative NIFA grant submitted in 2020 to support MERIP farming activities, including rabbitfishes, was awarded. Farming efforts will continue in Pohnpei, with expansion of farms to three new communities in 2021 using larger cages, with funding provided by The Nature Conservancy, which has shown interest in MERIP’s sustainable aquaculture program.  Finally we are expecting to initiate a project in Kosrae to begin farming rabbitfishes in 2021 in collaboration with the Kosrae State Department of Fisheries, with support from the US Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs. 

Recommendations:

Marketing of farmed rabbitfishes, both locally and as an export product is still something that is critical to the true economic success of this type of farming. MERIP would like to thank the staff of WSARE for their tremendous support and encouragement during this project.

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.